Omega 3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Nutrient for Health

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Nutrient for Health

Let’s highlight the critical role that Omega 3 Fatty Acids play in our health. As a Nutritional Therapy Practioner 2 be (November ‘23 baby), I want to highlight essential nutrients that we need for our health. Let’s start with Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our body and overall health. 

Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are essential for the body’s proper functioning. They are classified as essential because the body cannot produce them on its own and they must be obtained through your diet. There are 3 main omega 3’s:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its role in supporting
    cardiovascular health. Helps to reduce inflammation; found mainly in fish
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is converted into EPA and DHA in the body. It is primarily found in nuts,
    flax seeds, leafy vegetables, and some animal fat and serves as a precursor to the more active form of
    Omega 3’s.
  • Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is crucial for brain health, and cognitive function, and is a major
    component of brain tissue. Found mainly in fish

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These beautiful fatty acids support brain health by supporting brain development and function. They help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a major contributor to disease, including autoimmune and metabolic disorders. Omega 3 fatty acids support heart health by reducing triglycerides and improving blood vessel function. All of which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Did you know Omega-3’s can also maintain the moisture content in your skin by reducing dryness and helping to manage skin conditions like eczema? The DHA form can even help reduce the risk of macular degeneration in the eye.

Mainly Americans are eating an imbalance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which causes an imbalance and contributes to inflammation in the body. Omega 6 fatty acids come from seed oils. We should have a healthy ratio of 4:1 Omega 3: Omega 6, however, most of us are closer to 1:16, causing Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its role in supporting cardiovascular health. Helps to reduce inflammation; found mainly in fish Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is converted into EPA and DHA in the body. It is primarily found in nuts,
flax seeds, leafy vegetables, and some animal fat and serve as a precursor to the more active form of Omega 3’s.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is crucial for brain health, and cognitive function, and is a major component of brain tissue. Found mainly in fish cardiovascular disease, cancers, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. The reason we are so imbalanced is due to processing foods in seed oils, creating an overconsumption of Omega 6 fatty acids. Foods high in omega-3 Fatty Acids are fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and eggs. Did you know this about Omega-3 fatty acids?

 

References

  1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. Harvard The Nutrition Source. Accessed August 30,
    2023. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-offat/omega-3-fats/.
  2. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed
    Pharmacother. 2002;56(8):365-379. doi:10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6

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