By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Not all fats are created equal. In fact, there’s one type of fat called omega 3 fatty acids that offers an impressively long list of health benefits.
These essential fats provide energy for the muscles, heart, and other organs and work as building blocks for cells.
Find out the many ways omega 3s can improve your health and well-being and what foods and supplements offer you the most powerful dose.
Omega 3s are fundamentally important for brain health over a lifespan and particularly important in the early stages of development.
Mothers who get significant omega 3s during pregnancy are more likely to have children who have a higher intelligence, better social and communication skills, less behavioral problems, decreased risk of neurodevelopmental delay, autism and ADHD.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also important for brain health especially in the latter years. Studies show that omega-3-rich diets tend to reduce the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and improve the grey matter in the brain that is associated with memories, emotions and recall.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important for a healthy mood, as they help fight depression and anxiety. Studies have confirmed people who consume adequate omega 3s regularly are less likely to be depressed and anxious. People who have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression will find symptom relief with the consumption of omega 3s.
Omega 3s offer benefit to people who are suffering with asthma. They may reduce inflammation and allergic reactions and can reduce the severity and frequency of asthmatic episodes.
Arthritis is something that many people think is a given, juicing is something I’ve seen over the years that really helps to alleviate the pain and discomfort and especially the stiffness in the morning. Omega 3s are also associated with a reduction in pain and stiffness and can improve mobility and strength and reduce any type of arthritic pain and associated symptoms.
There is also an associated improved bone strength as omega 3s fats help to improve the assimilation and absorption of calcium into the bones.
Taking Omega 3s has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of menstrual cycle pain, even more so then some pain killers.
Omega 3s are super important for that glowing, dewy skin we’re all looking for. DHA and EPA fatty acids are important for cell membranes in the skin, these fatty acids support skin hydration, oil production, prevents wrinkles and aging, prevents skin disorders such as eczema and even acne and protects against sun and UV damage.
A low intake of Omega 3 fatty acids is associated with a low production of melatonin which is associated with weight problems, sleep apnoea and sleep disorders in children. Making sure your intake is adequate can help support sleep health.
A diet rich in omega 3s has been associated with a reduced risk in breast, colon and prostate cancer
There are many more health benefits associated with omega 3s in the diet such as reducing inflammation, blood triglycerides, autoimmune disease, weight problems associated with metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.
Many people associate fish as the best source for omega 3s, but other sources exist that can help boost your body’s absorption of this essential nutrient, which is good news for those who don’t consume fish or fish oil supplements.
Most plant foods contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), but this supplement is poorly converted into EPA and DHA. Your best strategy is to take Neuromins DHA sourced from algal oil and consume dietary sources of ALA. You can find algae supplements online or at your local health food store.
Algal Oil – This is one of the best non-animal sources of omega 3s. It is derived from algae. Typically 1-3 capsules a day can offer an adequate dose to boost your omega 3s easily. It can also be consumed as an oil in food.
Walnuts – A handful of walnuts can offer a day’s worth of omegas 3s. Just 1 oz (28g) includes 2.5g of ALA.
Chia Seeds – Chia is a great fiber-and-fatty-acid rich seed to include in smoothies, breakfast meals and drinks to boost these nutrients easily. (They also make a great egg replacer.) Just 1 oz of chia provides 5g of ALA.
Hemp Seeds – These seeds are packed with minerals and are also a good source of ALA, with 1 oz (28g) providing 6g of ALA.
Flaxseeds – They are a fabulous soft demulcent fiber but they are also a great source of ALA, 1 oz (28g) provides 6.4g of ALA.
Vegetables – Some greens naturally contain omega 3s too, such as kale, purslane, spinach, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, arugula and cauliflower.