Omega 3 and its benefits

Omega 3 Fatty acids:

The term omega-3s most often refers to a group of fatty acids.There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA. However, research clearly indicates that the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is extremely limited. Less than 5% of ALA gets converted to EPA, and less than 0.5% (one-half of one percent) of ALA is converted to DHA. Hence  though it is a great idea to eat green leafy vegetables (which provide ALA), it is also important to consume fatty fish or supplements  as a source of EPA and DHA!

Benefits of omega 3 fatty acids:

Omega-3 fats offer many  benefits to the body !

  •  Lowers LDL cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease 
  •  Increases insulin sensitivity and reduces  severity of symptoms associated with diabetes
  • Reduces pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss
  • Improves health, better immune response and reduces the symptoms  of  autoimmune disease
  • Helps with anxiety and  depression 
  • Reduces the  risk of various types of cancers
  • Better nerve function and Improves  cognitive function
  • Better hormone function 
  • Reduces inflammation and  faster muscle recovery
  • Better kidney function and fluid balance 
  • Increased energy production
  • Better oxygen use 
  • Better cell growth and softer smoother skin 
  • For conception and during pregnancy

The ratio is important !

Omega-3s are important, but what is even more important, is consuming a healthy ratio of Omega-6 (n-6) and Omega-3 (n-3) fats. Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are considered polyunsaturated fats because they have many double bonds. In general, we need much smaller amounts of these fats than we do other fats like saturated and monounsaturated fats, but they are still vitally important. Our bodies aren’t able to produce polyunsaturated fats so we must get them from diet, this is the reason they are called “essential fatty acids”.

Omega-6 fats are found in many processed foods, vegetable oils, processed grains, and soy. Omega-6 fats increase inflammation while Omega-3 fats can help reduce inflammation. Since n-6 fats are present in many processed foods, it is easy to understand why most of us get plenty of these in our diets. In fact, many people get way too much in their diets! (source)

The ideal ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats is thought to be around 1:1 (and not higher than 4:1). Most people are consuming much higher amounts of Omega-6 fats (up to 30:1). Higher amounts of Omega-6 can contribute to inflammation within the body and to disease. Hence it is imperative to  Increase Omega-3 consumption  with food and supplements  and most importantly  decrease Omega-6 consumption.

Application of omega 3 fats :

Exercising fitness enthusiast:

  • Fat loss : Due to better insulin sensitivity, and higher thermogenic effect
  • Muscle Gain : Due to better insulin sensitivity

And overall better muscle recovery and nutrient uptake

Medical Conditions :

  • Diabetic clients : due to insulin sensitivity
  • Heart patients : Due to reduced Bp, clotting and cholesterol

Nervous system Disorders :

  • RA : due to anti- inflammatory effect
  • Depression & ADHD : Due to better nerve signal transmission
  • Water retention/ menopause : due to improved fluid balance 

A good way to optimize omega 3 benefits  is to be consume foods that are nutrient dense and adopt healthy lifestyle measures. Remember food is information to the body. It determines the quality of the cells, tissues and organs. Lifestyle is medicine. And when both these tools are incorporated meticulously in the body, they create healing properties !

  • Indulge in healthy fats like  avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, fatty fish , raw nuts and seeds
  • Whole unprocessed grains such as amaranth, brown rice and quinoa
  • High quality protein from eggs, lean meat, legumes and pulses
  • Adequate water
  • Regular exercise with good rest and recovery
  • 7-8 hours sleep
  • Reduce stress 
  • Adequate vitamin D levels

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