Surely you have heard about omega 3 and its multiple health benefits on more than one occasion. But do you know what ω−3 is? What is it for and why is it so important to the body? Omega 3 is a type of polyunsaturated fat considered essential fatty acid since the body cannot produce it on its own.
What Is Omega 3 For?
There are several classes of omega 3, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), predominant in foods of plant origin, or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The latter is an indispensable component of the cell membranes of our body for its proper functioning, especially for the brain and the retina.
Also, all omega 3 fatty acids reduce bad cholesterol or LDL and have an anti-inflammatory effect thanks to the fact that they are polyunsaturated fats. This is, therefore, beneficial for the prevention of different diseases and adequate physical performance.
Since ω−3 is a type of fat that is not produced by our body, if we want adequate levels we must resort to food and nutrition to achieve it. Current recommendations suggest a consumption between 0.1 and 1% of the daily energy intake. However, the daily milligrams of this type of fat will depend on each person.
Among the properties of omega 3, its anti-inflammatory and autoimmune effects stand out. This could be of great help to reduce the risk of suffering certain types of diseases, as well as favoring the treatment of those with inflammatory processes such as cancer, cardiovascular problems, or slowing down aging itself.
Omega 3 can also help us with some diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, lupus…. Besides, it can help reduce the risk of suffering from atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and other vascular problems.
Foods With Omega 3:
Omega 3 predominates mainly in plant sources such as nuts, seeds, and some vegetable oils such as canola or walnut. It can also be found in fish fat. Thus, the foods with ω−3 that you can consume are:
- Flax or chia seeds: they are the most concentrated sources of this type of fat.
- Nuts like peanuts and peanut butter.
- Soybean, canola, or walnut oil.
- Fatty fish such as salmon, cod, sardines, dogfish, anchovies, herring, mackerel, or tuna.
- Olive and flaxseed oil, including flaxseed itself, broccoli, arugula, and spinach are also omega-3 foods, but in lesser amounts.
Within a varied, healthy, and balanced diet, and consuming a serving of fish two or three times a week, we will obtain the recommended amounts. Also, foods with omega 3 contain proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, something that supplements do not provide us. However, in diets with no fish, we will have to use supplements such as fish oil.
Omega 3 Properties:
- The main benefits of omega 3 are as follows:
- It helps regulate blood clotting.
- Improve learning ability.
- It helps fight allergies and asthma.
- Decrease stress.
- Help fight PMS and depression.
- Improve heart function and blood pressure.
- It favors a decrease in bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Reduces inflammation and fights inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or intestinal diseases.
- It helps us lose weight and maintain testosterone levels for good muscle development.
- Repair the immune system. We must include in the omega 3 properties the importance it has for brain functions since the brain is mostly made up of omega-type fats. Thus, the deficiency of this fat is associated with memory loss in the elderly along with high feelings of anguish and depression.
The recommended daily dose of ω−3 varies with age and other factors. So that you take it into account when consuming foods with ω−3, we show you below the optimal daily amount you should consume:
- Babies 0-12 months: 500 mg.
- Children from 1 to 3 years old: 700 mg.
- Children from 4 to 8 years old: 900 mg.
- Males from 9 to 13 years old: 1200 mg.
- Girls from 9 to 13 years old: 1000 mg.
- Adult and elderly men: 1600 mg.
- Adult and elderly women: 1100 mg.
- Pregnant and lactating: 1300-1400 mg.
Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy improve the neurological development of the fetus and premature babies. Besides, it improves your cognitive abilities, prevents maternal depression, and reduces cases of premature delivery. You can continue ω−3 supplementation after delivery during breastfeeding since the needs of this nutrient for both the mother and her child are essential.
Start introducing Omega 3 foods into your diet, drink plenty of water, and enjoy all its benefits.
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