Do you need Omega 3 fatty acid in your diet? The simple answer is yes. The question of the importance of Omega 3 fatty acids can be clarified by examining the medical evidence regarding the benefits of this essential nutrient.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important building blocks for the cell membranes. Omega 3 fatty acids play a role in the neurological health of the human system. A significantly reduced risk of heart and cardiovascular disease is a well-documented benefit of having the correct balance of Omega 3 in the diet.
Studies undertaken on the lifestyle of the Inuit (Eskimos) prove that Omega 3 plays a critical role in maintaining good health. The Inuit enjoy a diet rich in fish and other marine wildlife, which provide Omega 3 in abundance.
Humans need Omega 3 fatty acids for optimum daily functioning. Research shows that it is critical for nervous system development. Omega 3 also plays a crucial part in managing and preventing disease. This essential nutrient is one of the primary components of the brain, as well as the retina and other nerve tissue. It can affect the signalling of cells.
Scientific studies on Omega 3 prove that it is a necessity. Without Omega 3 in our diets, we find an increase in allergies and arthritis. Other chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer, are all impacted upon when we lack Omega 3 in our diets.
Continued research on this essential nutrient has shown another benefit. We find that with the aid of Omega 3 fish oil, we have a reduced chance of abnormal blood clotting within the blood vessels.
Available evidence on the Omega 3 benefit indicates that Omega 3 fatty acids should be included as part of a healthy lifestyle. Should your diet become unbalanced and your consumption of Omega 3 drop to low, then you may experience several of the following conditions:
1) Fatty food craving
2) Ear wax accumulation
3) Sun-induced headaches
4) Leg cramps caused by walking
5) Tightness across shoulders
6) Brittle fingernails
7) Low moods, irritability
8) Thin/thick cracked heel calluses
9) Poor/slow wound healing
10) Yeast / candida infection
11) Chronic inflammations
12) Dry skin, dandruff
If you find yourself suffering from any of the above conditions, it may be due to an incorrect balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 in your diet. Therefore, it is advisable that you improve your Omega 3 intake by eating more of the foods listed below.
Long chain Omega 3 fatty acids are found in:
• Oily fish and cold-water fish such as mackerel and salmon: these are both excellent sources of the longer chain fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). Small amounts of EPA are also found in eggs.
• Pre-formed docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is found in animal organ meat, such as brains, kidney and liver.
• There are various supplements available to increase Omega 3 fatty acid intakes, based on fish oil or flaxseed oil.
The below are also beneficial and rich in Omega 3:
• Plant oils e.g. soya, rape seed and especially flaxseed oil
• Nuts and seeds e.g. walnuts and pumpkin seeds
• Dark green leafy vegetables e.g. spinach and broccoli
All these foods are a great source of Omega 3. It is strongly recommended that you always try and increase your Omega 3 intake through a healthy balanced diet, incorporating some of the food groups from above.
If you are trying to obtain a therapeutic dose of Omega 3 to help alleviate a health problem, then supplementation with a high-quality fish oil supplement may be preferable due to the large doses required.
By David McEvoy
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