Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential: our body needs them, but it cannot synthesize them on its own. In addition to animal sources, these acids are found in seafood, including algae, some plants, and nuts. Also known as polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), omega-3s play an important role in healthy brain function and normal growth and development.
Babies whose mothers didn’t get enough omega-3s during pregnancy are at greater risk of developing nerve problems and vision problems. Symptoms of a fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings and depression, and poor circulation.
It is important to maintain the correct ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. The first one helps fight inflammation, the second, as a rule, contributes to it. The average American diet contains 14-25 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3, which is not the norm. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance of these acids: whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, garlic, and moderate portions.
Omega-3 fats are part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the functioning of receptors in these cells.
Several clinical studies note that an omega-3 rich diet can help lower blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension. When it comes to heart disease, one of the best ways to prevent it is to eat a diet low in saturated fats and consume monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which include omega-3s, on a regular basis. Research also shows that omega-3 fatty acids have antioxidant properties that improve the function of the endothelium (the single layer of flat cells that line the inner surface of the blood and lymph vessels, as well as the cavities of the heart). They are involved in regulating blood clotting, contracting and relaxing artery walls, and controlling inflammation.
Patients with diabetes often have high triglycerides and low levels of “good” cholesterol. Omega-3s help lower triglycerides and apoproteins (markers of diabetes), as well as increase HDL (“good” cholesterol).
There is some epidemiological evidence that omega-3 fatty acid intake (while limiting omega-6 fatty acids) may reduce the risk of breast and colorectal cancer. However, there is not enough evidence to establish an exact relationship between omega-3 intake and cancer development.
When you hear the word “omega-3”, the first thing that comes to mind is fish. However, there are actually more sources of healthy fatty acids for vegetarians, here are the main ones: – not only an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but also vegetable Omega-3. Blueberries rank first in omega-3 fat content among berries and contain 174 mg per 1 cup. Also, 1 cup of cooked wild rice contains 156 mg of omega-3 along with iron, protein, fiber, magnesium, manganese and zinc.