Omega 3 Fatty Acid:
the Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acid
By Dr. Ben
fatty acids. You've probably heard a lot about their value to your
health, but do you really understand the ways in which they are
beneficial to your health and which foods to get them from?
not, I hope that this article will help you make sense of omega-3
fatty acids and help you make food choices that will ensure that
your cells are nourished with them on a regular basis.
here are the key health benefits of including omega-3 fatty acids
in your diet:
fatty acids can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.
In doing so, they can reverse and prevent high blood pressure,
as well as reduce your risk of suffering a stroke.
fatty acids can decrease pain and inflammation throughout your
fatty acids may help prevent breast and colon cancer.
fatty acids can help to reverse and prevent depression and other
mental/emotional health challenges.
fatty acids are called essential fatty acids because
your body cannot manufacture them from other nutrients; you must
obtain them from your diet.
fatty acids come in three varieties:
(Alpha-Linolenic Acid) - found primarily in dark green
leafy vegetables, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and a variety
of vegetable oils. Dark green vegetables, freshly ground flax
seeds, and raw walnuts are the healthiest sources of ALA.
(EicosoPentaenoic Acid) - found primarily in cold water
fish like salmon, cod, mackerel, and tuna, as well as in fresh
seaweed. Also found in smaller amounts in organically raised animal
products like free range eggs, chickens, and grass-fed beef.
(DocosaHexaenoic Acid) - found in the same foods that
EPA is found in.
body is able to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. So theoretically,
if you are in excellent health and eat lots of dark green leafy
vegetables, ground flax seeds, and walnuts, your body should be
able to produce enough EPA and DHA from ALA to provide all of the
health benefits listed above.
who support the use of fish oil for a direct source of EPA and DHA
will sometimes cite studies that claim that some groups of people
are not able to convert ALA to DHA, at least not very efficiently.
who support exclusive use of plant foods tend to point to studies
that suggest that humans don't have a problem converting ALA found
in plant foods to EPA and DHA, thereby suggesting that it is not
essential to eat animal foods that contain EPA and DHA.
the only way to know with absolute certainty that you are getting
enough ALA, EPA, and DHA from your diet is to analyze your fatty
acid profile with a specialized blood test.
than spend money and time getting an expensive fatty acid profile
test, I prefer to rely on a well balanced diet that includes lots
of dark green leafy vegetables, some walnuts, and a small amount
of clean animal foods like wild salmon, organic eggs, and cod liver
oil to ensure that my family and I are getting enough ALA, EPA,
and DHA to support our best health.
people who support eating only plant foods raise objections to using
fish oil, such as the possibility of omega-3 fatty acids in fish
oil turning rancid, as well as the possibility of fish oil containing
environmental pollutants like mercury. These objections are valid,
as independent studies performed by organizations like consumerlabs.com
have found that some brands of fish oil contain rancid fatty acids
that can harm your health. And there's no question that fish from
all parts of the world stand a chance of being contaminated to some
degree by mercury and other industrial pollutants.
are reasons why I use and recommend cod
liver oil made by Carlson Labs in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
Carlson goes to great lengths to protect the fatty acids in their
cod liver oil against rancidity. They also have their cod liver
oil tested on a regular basis by an FDA-approved independent laboratory
to ensure that it is not contaminated by mercury and dozens of other
you need to use a high quality fish oil on a regular basis to get
enough EPA and DHA to support your best health? Not necessarily.
If you regularly eat foods that are listed beside each of the omega-3
fatty acids listed earlier in this article, chances are that you
will get enough omega-3 fatty acids to support your best health.
if you want to be strict vegan? Then I recommend that you eat lots
of dark green leafy vegetables, some walnuts, some freshly ground
flax seeds, and take a DHA supplement made from a plant source.
Omega-Zen-3 by NuTru is the best one that I know of.
personal and clinical experiences have led me to believe that it
is best for most people to obtain their omega-3 fatty acids from
a variety of the plant and clean animal foods mentioned in this
article. This is what people of all cultures have done throughout
the history of our world. As it is with all of the nutrients that
we know of to date, omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically with
many co-factors to provide their health promoting effects. Flow
charts in biochemistry textbooks are important to understand and
apply to our dietary choices, but in my opinion, they represent
only a partial picture of the countless physiological reactions
that keep our cells alive. With this thought in mind, I feel that
it is wise to eat a variety of foods that are naturally rich in
ALA, EPA, and DHA rather than to rely on a supplement that contains
just one or more of these omega-3 fatty acids as isolated nutrients.
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