Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In a culture consumed with the notion that fat is bad, it’s often forgotten that we need a certain amount of fat to perform essential functions and to combat “bad cholesterol” with “good.” Consumers must choose the best fats and eat them in moderation: avocado, lean meat and poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, and low-fat dairy, for instance. Good fats contribute to muscle growth and maintenance, neurological health, mood stability, and healthy blood composition.

What Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do for the Body

These essential fatty acids are scientifically proven to contribute to systemic health in many ways while some connections are still under scientific investigation, though individuals believe they notice positive effects. These fatty acids act as anti-inflammatories which are hugely beneficial to people with arthritis, asthma, allergies, some gastric problems, and other inflammatory disorders. Certain patients believe they can do without over-the-counter medication for inflammation, thanks to fatty acid supplements.

Mental Health

Research suggests that people with mental health problems including depression, personality disorders, learning disabilities, and autism could benefit from increased intake of Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, ALA, and DHA if you are reading labels carefully). There is also evidence that memory loss is mitigated by consuming enough of these substances.

Memory loss is a natural result of a stressful and busy lifestyle but also a sign that one is developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Omega-3 fatty acids are generally beneficial as part of any anti-aging regimen.

In-Utero

Pregnant women should consume these fatty acids in order to promote the healthy development of a baby’s brain. Omega-3s are associated with a healthy brain (as noted with regard to memory) but also to general function. If they promote muscle health, these fats are also bound to give women strength to carry extra weight both in-utero and when the baby is born.

Muscle Building

Bodybuilders seek these acids when they strive to build bigger muscles because they are associated with the development of muscle tissue. Not only do they help a person build muscle but also support repair of inflamed or damaged muscle tissue at the cellular level.

Where to Find Omega-3 Fatty Acids

As the name suggests, you find these in fats. But which types of fats constitute “healthy” sources? Avoid greasy food and or peanut butter with added sugar and salt. Opt instead for whole nut butters and whole nuts, seeds, and related oils (flax, walnut, etc.). Always choose non-GMO examples to avoid consuming pesticides.

Fatty fish are also good choices: these are usually cold-water species which you can catch in lakes at high elevation or very cold seas. Try mackerel, salmon, trout, and more: just not farmed examples.

Also, cook your fish with as little additional fat as possible and avoid calorie-rich sauces. You undo all the good of a healthy fish dish with extra salt, sugar, and less beneficial fats. Fish tastes great poached with water or a little bit of broth and seasoning. Even wrap it in foil and let a piece cook in its own juices.

Another source of Omega-3 fatty acids is a supplement. Many meal replacements now include a percentage of your daily requirement but, once more, avoid powders, shakes, and bars loaded with sugar and additives. Your best choice is a natural fish oil capsule made from wild fish. Choose one with non-allergenic coating so it doesn’t upset your stomach.

Supplements for kids often contain flavoring to mitigate the fishy flavor of their capsule, but you could also open one up (or buy a bottle of the liquid) and add just a few drops to a breakfast shake if your kids like smoothies or for yourself. That will cut down on the number of supplement pills you have to swallow daily.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
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Todd Stohrdahl

Todd Stohrdahl keeps a close eye on fitness topics and will never turn down an opportunity to play competitive sports. He's a fierce competitor and brings his "hustle and muscle" mentality to our editorial team.