Omega 3s have become a super popular trend in the health world. But it's not really a trend, it's a necessity. Why? Because it ties to more things that we care about than we know.
We're talking about brain health more than ever.
We're talking about inflammation more than ever.
Hair, skin, nails! Immune system! Heart health!
These are all things that tie back to, you guessed it: Omega 3s!
Being sufficient in Omega 3 fatty acids has many health advantages.
What are Omega 3s?
Omega 3 fats are a type of unsaturated fat. They are a healthy type of fat that is often found in tuna, salmon, halibut and sardines (EPA and DHA.) There is another kind of Omega 3 fat that you can get from things like flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds as well (ALA)- equally important! Omega 3s are tied to many functions in the body so it's important to be getting in enough Omega 3s every single week. Omega 3 supplements often top the list for people, but of course, getting Omega 3s from your food is best.
You'd be surprised to learn that there are many scientific studies done on Omega 3s! Many are positive and some are still lacking research, but what you will notice is the overall theme of these studies is that Omega 3s is a positive in the standard American diet.
Let's get into the specific benefits.
Omega 3s can help heart health
People as early as in their teens can start seeing plaque buildup in their arteries. Heart health is something that people shouldn't wait to be concerned with when they reach their 40s, 50s, and beyond. It's something they should start caring about now. Omega 3s can help tremendously.
Omega 3s have been tied to keeping your heart healthy by reducing triglycerides, which is a type of fat found in your blood.
Good HDL cholesterol is often tied to a healthy heart and Omega 3s have actually been shown to help raise good HDL cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels and triglycerides go hand in hand. This study in particular was a meta-analysis that studied patients taking fish oil supplements and the conclusion was that "taking fish oil supplementation produces a clinically significant dose-dependent reduction of fasting blood triglycerides." Very interesting isn't it?
Omega 3s are great for prevention, and help keep away plaque buildup! One thing we need to be thinking about is keeping our arteries clear. This study suggests that Omega 3s are wonderful for plaque buildup prevention.
Omega 3s can help fight inflammation
Fighting inflammation is something our bodies are tasked with on the daily. It's a natural (and needed) response in the body when it comes to food and chemical sensitivities, damage, and infection in the body.
There is short-term inflammation (like a bruise) and long-term -or chronic- inflammation. It's long-term inflammation that we really need to worry about as it attributes to nearly every single disease- especially cancer. Long term inflammation is even one of the biggest causes of obesity and metabolic disease.
Two markers of inflammation to look at are eicosanoids and cytokines, and guess what? Omega 3s can reduce these! Omega 3s can actually reduce the production of the molecules that are linked to inflammation.
Overall- it is a good idea to increase Omega 3 intake to decrease inflammation!
Omega 3s can help improve mental health and mood
It's no secret that Omega 3s are great for the brain. So it makes sense that getting in your Omega 3s is great for mental health and also mood disorders.
People with low Omega 3 levels have been shown to have an increase in depressive and psychiatric disorders.
On the contrary, it's been reported that those who regularly take Omega 3s are able to reduce the amount of mood swings in people with specific mental illnesses. Those with violent behavior tendencies also can see benefit from taking regular Omega 3 supplements or including it more often in their diet.
As depression is on the rise, it's incredibly calming to know that there are constant studies being done on the link between Omega 3s and depression- and presenting in a hopeful light.
There are also positive studies done on dementia with Omega 3s- which we also shouldn't discount!
Omega 3s are great for your skin
With Omega 3s- there are three different kinds. DHA, EPA, and ALA.
DHA is a part of the skin! It's actually a structural component. It plays a big role in the health of your cell membranes and when you have healthy cell membranes- your skin is smoother, healthier, and more glow-y as a result! Who doesn't want that?
EPA also plays a big role in the skin! For instance, it manages oil production. It keeps your hair follicles healthy. It even reduces the risk of acne. This article does a wonderful job of breaking it down.
Omega 3s can even help protect your skin from sun damage. (This study is worth looking at.)
Some studies have shown that Omega 3s can help with hair growth- but more studies are needed to make a final conclusion.
Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding is a wonderful way to get in your ALA Omega 3s. In fact, gram for gram, Chia Seeds have more Omega 3s than salmon! And people like to think that salmon is the king of Omega 3s!
But the real beauty of chia seeds is the amount of fiber, protein, and magnesium it provides! Oh yes, Chia Seeds are loaded with fiber! In the United States, people have a hard time getting in enough fiber and chia seeds are a low-calorie way to help meet their requirements. Just one ounce of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber! Incredible.
This chia seed pudding recipe will get your mouth watering. It's substantial and looks beautiful in a bowl! It also has lucuma (which also adds fiber and antioxidants) and pure cacao with is great for added polyphenols.
Courtesy of Katey Yurko @thevioletfog
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