If you follow health and nutritional news, you’ve probably heard a considerable amount about omega-3s. What are they, and what makes them so popular at the moment?
Omega-3s are a type of fatty acid that benefits human health. They help everybody, from expectant mothers to those with chronic health conditions. Read on to discover the science behind the hype and learn how to incorporate more of these substances within your diet.
They Promote Infant Brain Health
DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid critical to brain health and development. This substance accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in your brain. Since your infant’s brain develops in the womb, it makes sense that women need to consume more of the substance during pregnancy.
Research indicates that mothers who consume DHA have infants who perform better on tests involving problem-solving. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you can look for certain varieties of algae or foods fortified with the substance. It occurs naturally in fatty fish and eggs.
They May Boost Fertility
Your diet can significantly impact your overall fertility. For example, only 17% of women who follow the Mediterranean diet, which is high in omega-3s, reported reproductive issues, as opposed to 26% who ate a more western meal plan.
If you’re trying to conceive, try adding fish and eggs to your diet at least twice per week. However, if you follow a vegan diet, you can still find omega-3s in plants — most notably nuts and seeds. Try the consuming plant-based sources of the nutrient:
- Hemp seeds: These are also high in protein and magnesium.
- Flaxseeds: These blend right into many smoothies.
- Walnuts: Sprinkle a handful on your non-dairy yogurt or add to trail mix.
- Kidney beans: Beans are a popular vegan protein source.
They Can Reduce ADHD Symptoms in Children
Research indicates that children with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood, so adding foods rich in the nutrient to your child’s diet can calm behavioral woes. The effect likely has to do with the way these substances impact your brain health. They improve mental clarity and focus while simultaneously reducing feelings of aggression and restlessness.
They Can Alleviate Depression and Other Mental Disorders
Do you or does someone you love suffer from depression? You’re not alone. Nearly 7% of all Americans experience the disorder at some point in their lives. If you do have the condition, you may want to start eating more walnuts, pronto. These tasty nuts are high in omega-3s and also contain magnesium, a mineral depressed patients often possess in lower levels.
Alternatively, you can talk to your doctor about supplements. Some supplements may interfere with antidepressants you take, so do speak to your physician or pharmacist first.
They Protect Your Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease remains the leading killer of American adults — protecting your ticker is critical. If you’re one of the many with high blood pressure, consuming omega-3s can help reduce your numbers, as well as your triglycerides. Finally, omega-3s decrease the plaque that causes hardening of the arteries, which leads to cardiac infarction or failure.
They Halt Metabolic Syndrome
One study examined the effects of four different diets on metabolic syndrome, the condition that makes weight loss challenging and can potentially lead to Type 2 diabetes. They found that those who ate foods high in monounsaturated fats — like meals containing omega-3s — had lower triglyceride levels than those who ate a high-saturated-fat or high-carbohydrate diet. Furthermore, while cholesterol increased among those who led a high-carb lifestyle, the addition of omega-3 fatty acids seemed to mitigate this impact.
They Can Benefit Those with Autoimmune Disorders
Finally, if you have Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disorder, adding more omega-3s to your meal plan can ease your symptoms. If you have lupus, implementing these substances may prove critical to your well-being. Researchers discovered that DHA can stop a known trigger of the disease. It may potentially do the same for folks with similar conditions.
Improve Your Health with Omega-3s Today
There are many health benefits to adding omega-3s to your diet. Stock up on foods rich in the nutrient or investigate a supplement to improve your well-being today.
Health & Lifestyle Journalist