You know you need vitamins and minerals to remain in good health. But what about essential fatty acids like omega 3? If you're like most people, you've heard about these nutrients before, but you're probably not clear on just what they do and why you should make sure you're getting plenty of them in your diet. Read on to get the facts that you need to know about this highly important, and often under-consumed nutrient.
Omega 3 fatty acids are type of fat. As soon as you read that word, your mental warning sirens probably started blaring, right? Fats have a bad reputation, but it's important to understand that there are two types of fats: "bad" saturated fats that clog your arteries and cause you to put on weight and "good" unsaturated fats that are needed by your body.
Specifically, omega 3 fatty acid is a polyunsaturated fat. This means that it is held together by double bonds that allow it to pass easily through the blood vessels, unlike sticky saturated fats. Your body can't produce omega 3 fatty acid on its own, so you must get all of the fat that you require from your diet.
Functions of Omega 3
Science has shown that omega3 fatty acids:
- Reduce bad LDL cholesterol and trigylceride levels, which can lower the risk of heart disease
- Fight inflammation by interfering with the actions of enzymes that cause it
- Regulate the skin's moisture barrier to fight signs of dryness
- Address symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders
- Alleviate menstrual pain
- Assist with the regulation of calcium levels to promote healthy bones
How to Increase Omega 3 Intake
The best way to get more omega 3 fatty acids in your diet is to consume foods rich in them. The best sources of omega 3 include:
- Cod liver oil and salmon oil
- Fresh tuna
- Grass-fed beef
- Flax seed oil
- Chia seeds
- Walnuts and walnut oil
- Spinach, parsley, mint, kale and other leafy greens
If you're struggling to get all of the omega 3 fatty acids that you need on a daily basis, supplements can also help. Sportsfuel has a wide selection of omega3 supplements available, and we can help you choose the one that's right for your diet.