Brain Boost: 9 Reasons to Eat More Omega 3s
Fats come in all shapes and sizes. While trans and saturated fats are not ideal for your waistline or heart, healthy fats like omega 3s do wonders.
Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most beneficial nutrient groups. From your brain to your toes, your entire body loves omega 3s!
What Is Omega 3?
Omega 3s are membrane components. They surround every one of your cells to give them energy. Omega 3 fatty acids do many positive things for our health, including increasing the functionality of our eyes, brain, lungs, immune system, and heart.
As your body does not create omega 3s, you must get them from your diet. This is why they are called “essential” fatty acids.
The most crucial omega 3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). These can be naturally found in foods, such as:
Fish: salmon, tuna, sardines
Oils: soybean oil, cod liver oil, flaxseed oil
Nuts and seeds: chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds
Most people don’t consume enough omega 3 fatty acids. Rather, they consume an abundance of omega 6s.
In general, omega 6 fatty acids are inflammatory while omega 3s have the opposite effect. It should come as no surprise, then, that omega 6s are more prevalent in a Standard American Diet and are consumed in staggering ratios of up to 40:1!
Ideally, we should be consuming them in a ratio of 1:1 or 4:1 at most for optimal health.
So for those who want more anti-inflammatory omega 3s in their diet (and I’m not sure who wouldn’t) or for those who wish to improve their brain health (again, who wouldn’t), supplements are readily available.
It’s also highly recommended that vegans and vegetarians take a microalgae supplement, as most omega 3s are found in fish, eggs, and grass-fed meats.
Unlike omega 6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils and fast foods), you can never have too much omega 3 in your body. But you can have too little.
How do you know if you need more omega 3 fatty acids? A telltale sign of omega 3 deficiency is itchy, red, and swollen skin.
9 Reasons To Eat More Omega 3s
The benefits of omega 3s are countless. Between boosting your mental health to helping you sleep at night, the more omega 3s the better.
1. Boost Your Mental Health
Talk about brain food! Omega 3s fight depression, anxiety, and lower your risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
Most of your brain is made from fat, so omega 3s are crucial. They stimulate brain development, boost cognitive function, and increase concentration.
Studies show people with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to feel depressed or suffer anxiety attacks.
Out of the three most crucial omega 3s, EPA is the most prominent fighter of depression. Some researchers claim EPA is as effective as antidepressant drugs.
Omega 3s also boost memory function and keep dementia away.
Those with Alzheimer's Disease often do not receive enough blood to their brain. Studies demonstrate a link between increased omega 3s and blood flow.
Those with low omega 3 fatty acid levels experienced reduced blood flow while more omega 3s led to high blood levels in the brain.
The better the flow of blood and oxygen to our brains, the better our memory and cognition work.
2. Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Your heart loves omega 3s.
Omega 3 fatty acids reduce blood pressure and raise HDL cholesterol levels, which is what you want. They keep blood platelets from forming dangerous clots.
The fatty acids also keep your arteries as smooth as can be. This eliminates plaque buildup that could lead to a life-threatening heart attack.
High triglycerides in your blood are warning signs of atherosclerosis (hardened arteries). Omega 3s lower triglyceride levels. In fact, many medications incorporate omega 3 fatty acids to treat patients with high triglyceride levels.
For those who have suffered a heart attack, doctors advise an increase in omega 3s through fish and fish oil. This decreases their risk of suffering a second heart attack.
3. Improve Your Eye Health
I spy a healthy retina!
DHA is essential for clear vision and healthy eyes. It's a significant component of your retina's structure.
Eating DHA through seafood may relieve dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome causes burning, itching, and redness. Research has observed fewer cases of dry eyes in people with high seafood diets.
Those with low omega 3 levels may experience vision problems. There is also a correlation between macular degeneration and low omega 3 consumption. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.
4. Fight Inflammation
Normal levels of inflammation are natural. Inflammation controls infections and keeps your body healthy.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is not natural. It causes widespread discomfort. Long-term inflammation is linked to heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
While trans fats increase inflammation, healthy fats, like omega 3s, decrease it. Studies show links between lowered chronic pain in those who ate more omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3s create resolvins that lessen our body's inflammatory responses. While omega 3s may not cure a chronic disease, they may alleviate symptoms and reduce persistent pain.
5. Improve Your Sleep
Wake up on the right side of the bed with a boost of omega 3s.
Omega 3s have been linked to better sleep in adults and children. They help you fall asleep faster as well as boost sleep quality.
For children, those with higher omega 3 levels sleep an extra hour each night. On average, children with plenty of fatty acids wake up seven times less during the night than those with low levels of omega 3s.
Since omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, they reduce the risk of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Sleep apnea leads to extreme daytime fatigue that impairs a person's physical and mental health. But as your omega 3 intake increases, your risk of sleep apnea decreases.
6. Prevent Asthma In Children
Wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath...oh my!
These are all symptoms of asthma. Severe asthma attacks are dangerous and cause intense swelling in a person's lungs. It's scary for anyone, especially a child, to experience.
While asthma rates in children have been on the rise, omega 3 consumption may prevent the breathing disorder in young ones. Its anti-inflammatory properties stop swelling in the lungs and stabilize breathing.
7. Boost Bone Health
Strong bones are the backbone of a healthy body.
Your bones rely on calcium to keep them stable and sturdy. Without high calcium levels, your risk of skeletal ailments like arthritis and osteoporosis increases.
Omega 3s boost bone health by upping the amount of calcium they receive. The fatty acids increase the amount of calcium as well as how quickly calcium gets transported to your bones.
The more omega 3s you have in your system, the stronger your bones will be.
8. Alleviate Menstrual Pain
Ladies understand how PMS, severe cramps, and menstrual pain affect quality of life. Period pain can spread from your abdomen to your pelvis and even reach your lower back. Some women have a hard time getting out of bed or making it to work due to menstrual side effects.
The good news is research shows milder menstrual pain thanks to an increase of omega 3 fatty acids. Women with diets higher in fish tend to experience less cramping, headaches, bloating, anxiety, and depression during their time-of-the-month.
Some women claim omega 3s are more effective than pain relievers when it comes to alleviating period symptoms.
9. Enhance Your Skin
Omega 3 DHA plays a significant role in your skin's structure. It promotes healthy cell membranes, which lead to smooth and glowing skin.
EPA from omega 3s also does wonders. Research has observed EPA:
Boosts skin hydration (see you later, dry elbows!)
Manages oil production (which means fewer acne breakouts)
Lowers the risk of premature aging (goodbye, wrinkles!)
Prevents hyperkeratinization of hair follicles (little red bumps on your skin)
Most importantly, omega 3s protect your skin from sun damage. They block collagen-eating substances that develop after a day in the sun. Higher levels of omega 3s lessen your risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
Learn More About Neuronutrition
If you want to boost your overall health, omega 3s are a great place to start! Between improving your mental health to decreasing your risk of heart disease, the benefits of these fatty acids are endless.
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