Omega-3 fatty acids actually provide a long list of health benefits, including lowering inflammation, improving heart health, and supporting brain health. Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in several plants.
The majority of the fats required by the human body can be synthesized from other fats or raw materials. Omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats), on the other hand, are not in this category. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning they must be consumed in order to live.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a kind of omega-3 found in plants. However, there are various debates about their efficacy and health advantages in humans.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to benefit cardiovascular health. The majority of this research focuses on EPA + DHA, although ALA can also benefit our health. Include omega-3 fatty acids in our diet for a variety of reasons:
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Reduced risk of death if you have cardiovascular disease.
- Reduced risk of sudden cardiac death caused by an abnormal heart rhythm.
- Omega-3 fatty acids assist prevent blood platelets from clumping together, lowering the risk of blood clots.
- Maintaining the smoothness and absence of damage to the artery lining, which can lead to thick, hard arteries. This reduces the formation of plaque in the arteries.
- Slowing the formation of triglycerides in the liver lowers triglyceride levels. Triglyceride levels in the blood are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
- Inflammation is reduced. The inflammatory response of your body is suspected to play a role in atherosclerosis (artery hardening). The generation of chemicals produced during the inflammatory response is slowed by omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids may also:
- Raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL/“good” cholesterol).
- Lower blood pressure. People who eat fish tend to have a lower blood pressure than those who don’t.
Because the human body is unable to produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own, the fatty acids or their precursors must be acquired from the diet. They are found in cell membranes all throughout the body and have an impact on the function of the cell receptors in these membranes.
They serve as a starting point for the production of hormones that control blood clotting, arterial wall contraction and relaxation, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors that control genetic function in cells. Patients without a history of heart disease should consume at least two meals of fish per week (a total of 6-8 ounces), according to the American Heart Association.
A variety of fish should be included. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in cold-water wild fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, and herring. ALA, on the other hand, is found in high concentrations in plants and is the most common omega-3 fatty acid utilized by the body to make all other omega-3 fatty acids.
Algal or algae oil, which is broken down to DHA, is another source of ALA. Algae oil is used in a lot of omega-3 fortified meals. These are fantastic alternatives for vegetarians who don’t eat seafood. There are no serving size recommendations for ALA-rich foods at this time.
Furthermore, when dietary saturated fats were replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids present in plant foods such as nuts and avocados, omega-3 fatty acids reduced the “bad” cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL). The strongest evidence for omega-3 fats’ health benefits comes from studies on heart disease.
These lipids appear to aid the heart in maintaining a constant rate rather than veering into a potentially catastrophic irregular rhythm. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, can inhibit the synthesis of inflammation-related chemicals and substances such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines.
Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, have been found to promote the health of blood arteries by boosting the bioavailability of nitric oxide. It has the potential to improve the efficacy and tolerability of chemotherapy, as well as serve as a supportive treatment for cancer patients.