You would have always heard health experts on television talk shows and your doctors repeatedly talking about Omega 3 fatty acids. When we listen to advice related to these essential fatty acids, we tend to ignore them because according to us, vitamins, calcium, minerals, iron, etc. are the only nutrients that the body needs Well the fact is that Omega 3 fatty acids are also important for the body. If you have realized that Omega 3 fatty acids are important for your health, here are answers to a few questions that would help you to clear your doubts about these fatty acids.
1. What are omega 3 fatty acids and why should I consume them through my diet?
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for the body. Omega 3 fatty acids perform a number of functions is the body which include making cell membranes in our brain and aid in blood clotting. Omega 3 fatty acids are not produced inside the body; hence they should be consumed through the diet. These fatty acids also have a number of health benefits which include reducing the risk of stroke or heart disease. Ongoing researches also associate these fatty acids to various potential benefits in health conditions like inflammatory bowel syndrome, cancer and autoimmune disorders like arthritis and lupus.
2. Which foods are rich sources of Omega 3 and how much of such foods should I consume in my diet?
There are two types of omega 3 fatty acids, one which we consume through vegetable oils, rapeseed, flaxseed, canola and soybean, walnuts, sprouts, spinach, kale and green salads known as ALA (alpha linolenic acid) and the other that we consume through fatty fish known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The ALA that we consume through the diet is converted partially into DHA and EPA. Fish and vegetable omega 3 fatty acids are both known to be equally beneficial for the body. In order to ensure your good health, you should consume at least one source of omega 3s in your diet each day. You can take a serving of salmon or a table spoon of soybean or canola oil in your cooking or salad dressing. You can also eat a handful of ground flaxseed or walnuts in your morning cereal or oatmeal.
3. Can omega 3 fatty acids be taken as supplements?
Omega 3 supplements are made using fish oil. It is always more beneficial to take the omega 3 that your body requires through your diet because whatever you consume will also have other nutrients including vitamins, minerals and proteins. The only source of ALA is your diet because supplements are not manufactured using vegetable fatty acids. If you do not eat food containing omega 3s than you should consider taking omega 3 supplements of about 500mg every day. If you had heart disease before, you should consult your doctor and increase the dosage of the supplement to about 1000mg every day because omega 3 fatty acids have notable positive effects for patients of heart disease.
Proper nutrition is important to keep the body in good shape. The general population is not well informed about the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. It is important to increase awareness about this essential nutrient.