Not all fats are unhealthy and bad for you. The trick is knowing which ones will help and avoid the ones that will hinder. If you eliminate fat from your diet totally, you would not be doing yourself any favors in the long run.
Omega-3 fatty acids are the good guys when it comes to fat and are considered an essential fatty acid important for human health and development. Omega-3 oils contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are the significant healthy building blocks in omega-3 to help your body grow, develop and function optimally.
Such fats need to be obtained through our diet as the body cannot make these. Fish high in omega-3s include salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, trout, and sardines.Other sources include flaxseed, kale, spinach, walnuts and other leafy greens.
Another easy way of consuming adequate levels of omega-3 daily is to use supplements. There are some excellent options out there tailored for every age group. Check the EPA and DHA levels to ensure that what you are taking is adequate. Check out our review for Research Verified Omega-3, we found it to contain significantly high doses of both EPA and DHA.
What are the Symptoms of an Omega-3 Deficiency?
Typical symptoms of an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may present themselves as persistent fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart issues, mood swings or depression, and inadequate circulation. Of course, these symptoms may also be representative of other illnesses so always talk to your doctor should you experience any of the above. A simple blood test will determine if you are omega-3 deficient.
What Does the Research Say?
There has been a lot of research to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids provide a wide range of health benefits.
Generally, omega-3s reduce inflammation in the body and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids are significantly concentrated in the brain and closely correlate to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. Omega-3s can slow down cognitive decline as well as enhance memory, concentration, and focus.
Several studies show that reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased risk of age-related cognitive decline or dementia, including Alzheimer disease. Scientists believe the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is protective against Alzheimer disease and dementia.
They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.
Omega-3 and Our Children
Children need adequate levels of EPA and DHA from the moment of conception. Several studies have shown just how important this essential fatty acid is where our children are concerned.
In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems.
Children diagnosed with ADHD may have low levels of certain essential fatty acids such as omega-3s (specifically EPA and DHA). A study carried out on 100 boys, identified as having low levels of omega-3 fatty acids noted more learning and behavioral problems (e.g. temper tantrums and sleep disturbances) than other boys with omega-3 fatty acid levels considered to be in a healthy range. However, other studies provide mixed results, therefore, the conclusion is that more research is required in order to better understand the role of omega-3 in treating ADHD.
Take Home Message for Omega-3
Omega-3 is undoubtedly important for us to develop and function. Due to the fact that the body cannot produce its own omega-3, it is something that we need to consume daily. Fortunately, we are able to consume adequate levels via our daily diet and if not, a quality omega-3 supplement will ensure that we avoid being deficient in this very important healthy fat.