Considered one of the essential fatty acids, Omega 3s are essential to human health. The problem is our bodies are unable to make them on their own! So the leaves the food we eat as our main source of Omega 3. Of course, we can, and most of us should, also take an Omega 3 supplement to ensure that our body has all of the important fatty acids that it needs to build muscles and maintain proper cell growth. Omega 3s are considered a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) that is crucial to maintain proper brain function, growth and development. An important anti-inflammatory, one of Omega 3’s jobs is to help prevent such degenerative diseases as arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and even memory loss.
Of course, Omega 3s also aid in keeping skin taut and smooth, thus playing an important role in keeping us looking younger longer. From warding off wrinkles, to helping to keep coronary arteries clear, Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to all sorts of health benefits, which we will discuss in detail in the upcoming pages. First, let’s look at the three main types of Omega 3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and ALA.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is a very important Omega 3 fatty acid. New research indicates that EPA can actually prevent a heart attack or stroke. One study even reported that people with low levels of EPA in their body are as much as 47% more likely to suffer a cardiac episode than those with sufficient levels of EPA in their system. To keep a sufficient amount of EPA in your system, you would need to eat between 400 and 500 grams of cold water fish such as sardines, mackerel, or salmon 2-3 times per week. Few people, unfortunately, can stomach that much deep-sea fish. Even if you could, most experts warn against it since so many of the world’s fish are now contaminated with mercury and other toxins.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is another very important Omega 3 fatty acid needed by the body to achieve optimal health. It is one of the longest chains of PUFA’s found in Omega 3s. It is also essential to good brain function. Nearly one fourth of the brain is made up of DHA and without this important fat, you can suffer from several mental disorders, depression, or even Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)!
Now, why is ALA Fatty Acids So Important? Found mainly in dark green, leafy vegetables, flax seed, and walnuts, Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) can do something other Omega 3 fatty acids can’t: if your body needs them, it can convert ALA into both DHA and EPA. This is a unique and wonderful ability, since our bodies needs these important Omega 3 fatty acids to stay healthy.
Omega 3 fatty acids are the good fats in our healthy diets. They are the fats our body needs to properly function. They help keep our heart functioning at a healthy rate. Keeps our brains functioning as we age and help infants gain information. Omega acids also help keep our joints functioning. While our diet recommends we limit our oil and fat consumption, we do need them. Fat and oil help keep our bodies at our peak performance. Fat is what keeps our bodies on the move, this is why it is best to get the healthier versions. The healthy oils provided by fatty acids help keep the fats consumed from turning into heart clogging cholesterol. This is also avoided when you limit your fat intake in your diet.