What are Omega -3 fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for human health but the body cannot make it, we receive it through food. Omega-3s are considered essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the human body -except that mammals have a limited ability, when the diet includes the shorter-chained omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for health. We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, and since our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, we must get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and possibly stroke.
Types of Omega – 3 Fatty Acids
There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets:
1. Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). It is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens.
2. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). These are found in fatty fish that is Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA.
Sources of Omega – 3 Fatty Acids
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week. Plants and fish that have omega-3 fats also have other good nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals, it is better to get it through food. People who do not eat fish or other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids should consider taking an omega-3 supplement of 500 mg per day; fish oil is mostly used in supplements. Fish, plant, and nut oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, and herring. ALA is found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, purslane, perilla seed oil, walnuts, and walnut oil. The health effects of omega-3 fatty acids come mostly from EPA and DHA.
Health Benefits of Omega -3 Fatty Acids
- Reduce inflammation
- Control blood clotting
- Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes
- Lower the level of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides)
- Slow down thickening of the arteries
- Anti-inflammatory response
- Controls obesity
- improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin
- Prevent cancer cell growth
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