It has been sensibly said that not all fats are unhealthy. One such type of fat that are incredibly beneficial are omega-3 fats.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are good polyunsaturated fats required by all of us. Since our body can not produce it, therefore, our diet must contain omega-3 fats.
Omega-3 fats are of different types – ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid). ALA type is primarily found in plants based omega-3 sources, while DHA and EPA are found in animal foods.
Here are some of the excellent Omega-3 Foods.
- Fatty or oily fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardine, krill, anchovies and oysters.
- Chia seeds
- Omega-3 enriched eggs
- Canola oil
- Brussels sprouts
- Seaweed and Algae
If you have to choose between animal and plant-based omega-3 rich foods, it is better to select animal forms as they contain EPA and DHA. Plant-based omega-3 food that contains ALA form gets converted to EPA in our body on consumption. But the conversion rate is very little hence less bioavailability.
Omega-3 supplements are an effective and safe alternative to compensate for dietary inadequacy. They are convenient, economical and widely available in various types.
- Fish oil supplements like cod liver oil, salmon oil, krill oil, etc., contain both EPA and DHA. Cod liver oil also provides vitamin A and D.
- Algal oil is ideal for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy the benefits of EPA and DHA.
- ALA supplements like Flaxseed omega-3, hemp seeds or chia seeds supplements provide omega-3 in ALA form.
The health benefits of omega-3 have been extensively studied. Studies show that omega-3 fats benefit our body in multiple ways. In this section, we will have a detailed understanding of the role of omega-3 in keeping us healthy.
- Boost heart health: The prevalence of heart diseases is increasing day by day. With faulty eating habits and an unhealthy lifestyle, blood cholesterol levels are rising. Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids helps increase good HDL levels and prevent the formation of plaques and blood clots which in turn help reduce the risk of heart diseases.
- Reduce muscle soreness: If you are an active athlete or involved in regular workouts, try taking omega-3 capsules to avoid that post-exercise muscle soreness.
- Relieve joint pain: People with joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis must include omega-3 in their diet. The powerful anti-inflammatory action of EPA and DHA provide ease from joint pain, stiffness and support flexibility.
- Improve eye health: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also suitable for eye health. DHA keeps our retina healthy and minimizes the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
- Promote cognitive health: Omega-3 fish oil has been shown beneficial for pregnant women as it is required to grow and develop the brain and cognitive skills.
- Healthy sleep: Melatonin is the sleep hormone that is required for a healthy sleep cycle. Low levels of DHA have been linked with lower melatonin levels indicating that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimal sleep health.
- Beautifies skin: Studies suggest that omega-3 benefits our skin in multiple ways. It manages oil production, hydration of the skin and controls acne.
- Maintain Omega-3 to 6 ratio: Omega-6 are also essential for our health, but excess omega-6 intake can result in inflammation in the body. Hence it is vital to include omega-3 in our diet to maintain an optimal ratio of omega 3 to 6 of 1:2.
How much Omega-3 per day?
The fundamental question is how much an omega-3 daily requirement is to enjoy the above-stated health benefits. Although, there is no recommended dietary allowance specifically for omega-3 fats. But US Food and Drug Administration recommends eating fish at least twice a week. If you do not prefer eating fish, consider taking omega-3 supplements.
For general well-being, you can take 1000 mg omega-3 capsules per day. But if you are into regular, intense workouts, triple-strength fish oil is the best omega-3 capsule.
However, consider taking medical advice if you suffer from any medical condition or are on medications.
Omega-3 Side Effects
Omega-3 supplements do not have any side effects. However, consuming higher dosages (more than 3000 mg per day) of omega-3 capsules is not advisable. If you take medications like blood thinners, then omega-3 supplements can interfere with the same. Therefore, it is good not to exceed the recommended dosage when opting for omega-3 capsules.
Which is the best Omega-3?
Here are some of the best selling omega-3 fish oil brands that you can add to your shopping list.
Nutrabay Pro Omega-3 Fish Oil Triple Strength: Packed with high-potency omega-3 fats, Nutrabay Pro Fish Oil provides EPA and DHA in a triple strength for enhanced absorption and superior bioavailability. Higher strength makes it suitable specifically for athletes and bodybuilders for speedy muscle recovery and stronger joints. The product does not cause any fishy burps and is free from heavy metals.
Nutrabay Wellness Omega-3 Fish Oil: This supplement provides 1000 mg omega-3 fish oil in an optimal dose per serving to maintain overall well-being for anyone, including women and the elderly. Nutrabay Wellness Omega-3 Fish Oil is mercury-free and contains highly molecularly distilled fish oil to prevent fishy after-taste.
MuscleTech Platinum 100% Fish Oil: It contains 300 mg of EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. The Platinum 100 % Fish oil has an enteric coating on the delicate soft gels prevents premature breakdown and fishy burps. The formulation is apt to support a healthy heart, cardiovascular system, normal brain and joint function.
Now Foods Omega-3 Fish Oil: Now Foods Fish Oil is manufactured under strict quality control standards and is free from harmful elements and additives. Both men and women can take these fish oil capsules to help improve the omega-3 index and reduce heart health issues.
To sum up, omega-3 fatty acids are critically needed by the body to keep our organs like the heart, brain, eyes, joints healthy and reduce inflammation. It is essential to maintain an adequate omega-3 intake either through food sources or supplements. However, stick to the prescribed dosage to get the most nutritional gain.