You’ve heard it from a thousand sources that fat is not good for your health and that you should cut down on it. Still, there is one type of fat that should never miss from your diet due to the numerous health benefits that it brings along: the omega-3 fatty acids. They come in three types – ALA that can be found in seeds and nuts and DHA and EPA that are found in fish. They are not naturally produced by your body, so you will have to take them from the foods you’re eating.
Foods That Contain Omega-3s
You can get omega-3s from supplements, but they aren’t as effective as those taken directly from aliments. If you like eating fish, then look for fish that has EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids and consume it up to 3 times per week. This category of fish includes: tuna, anchovies, lake trout, bluefish, sturgeon, herring, sardines, salmon and mackerel.
However, you should be aware of the fact that some fatty fish contain toxins and mercury and should be consumed in moderation. These are tilefish, mackerel, shark and wild swordfish. Also, keep in mind that wild fish such as wild salmon and wild trout have more omega-3 fatty acids than the farm-raised fish that also can have contaminants.
If you’re not a very big fan of fish, you can try to consume foods that contain ALA fatty acids. These can be found in soybean oil, walnuts, olive oil, canola oil and flaxseed. Eat them in moderation, as these oils can also have high levels of calories.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This type of fat can be extremely beneficial for your health, as it can help you in numerous ailments. Some of the most common are:
– Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – various studies have shown that omega-3s can protect against these two conditions because they can prevent the brain aging and the memory loss.
– High levels of triglycerides – the fatty acids found in fish or in fish oil supplements are extremely efficient in lowering the blood fat levels that could lead to heart disease.
– ADHD – fish oil was shown to have effects in reducing the ADHD symptoms. At the same time, the omega-3 fatty acids can improve various mental skills such as learning, remembering or thinking. Still, these supplements cannot replace the primary ADHD treatment.
– Rheumatoid arthritis – both DHA and EPA are able of diminishing joint pain and stiffness. At the same time, omega-3 fatty acids can make the anti-inflammatory drugs more effective.
– Asthma – this disease is caused by inflammation and omega-3s are extremely effective in reducing this condition. However, researchers need to conduct more studies to see if omega-3 fatty acids have any effect in improving the lung function.
– Depression – decreased levels of depression have been found in the countries where people consume foods rich in omega-3s. Moreover, it was demonstrated that these fatty acids can reduce the bipolar disorder symptoms and boost the antidepressants’ effects.
– Baby development – some studies have discovered that the DHA fatty acid is essential for the neurological and visual development in infants.