Omega-3 Fatty Acids: General Info
There are four different kinds of fats found in food: cholesterol, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat. Omega-3, a source of polyunsaturated fat, has been found to be extremely beneficial to health. There are three main kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic, docosahexanoic, and eicosapentaenoic. Unfortunately, omega-3 fatty acids, also called essential fatty acids, cannot be produced by the human body and must be obtained from outside sources. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), can be found in foods such as flaxseed oil, leafy green vegetables, and various types of vegetable oils. Docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA) can be obtained through the consumption of oily, coldwater fish like bluefish, halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna. Buffalo, venison, and walnuts are also rich in omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be attained from fish oils, available in capsule form.
Omega-3: fat that is good for you?
Although the fat content of the foods in which omega-3 fatty acids are found is quite high, the fat has many healthful benefits, and helps prevent illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Some benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
- Reducing the risk of blood clots, heart diseases, and strokes
- Decreasing inflammation, joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Improving mental health and moods
- Preventing and alleviating cancer symptoms.
What is the recommended daily consumption of Omega-3?
At the present time, omega-3 fatty acids have not been associated with any side effects, and are safe for consumption. Although there have been no recommendations made on the amount of omega-3 one should consume each day, the American Heart Association has advised that individuals consume fresh coldwater fish no more than three times each week. This recommendation is backed by many medical researchers and scientists because numerous types of fish are contaminated with toxins such as mercury and pesticides. These poisonous contaminants, when ingested, can seriously harm one’s health. Those interested in supplementing their nutritional regimen with fish oil capsules should consult a physician prior to doing so.