You've probably seen the phrase “Good source of omega 3” on the labels of all types of food products in your grocery store. That's because a growing number of studies have demonstrated the amazing health benefits of omega 3 essential fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids are probably the most important fats for your health because they help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a primary cause of many of the degenerative diseases so common today — heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, arthritis, and more.
Omega 3 fats are important for the health of your skin, joints and hair, as well as your immune system. These fats are also critical for normal growth and development in children. Omega 3 fats also offer relief from menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms, infertility and breast cancer.
Omega 3 deficiency is the sixth most common factor in the causes of death among Americans, according to a study done by Harvard University.The study determined that there are as many as 96,000 preventable deaths each year due to omega 3 deficiencies. Recent statistics indicate that nearly everyone in the United States does not get enough omega 3 fatty acids.
What are deficiency symptoms of omega 3 fats? Symptoms tend to be very vague, and can often be attributed to some other health condition or nutrient deficiency. The most common symptoms include fatigue, dry or itchy skin, brittle hair and nails, constipation, frequent colds, depression, poor concentration, lack of physical endurance and joint pain.
Discover More Benefits of omega 3.
There are many types of essential fatty acids; the ones most well-known are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); these are all categorized as polyunsaturated fatty acids.
EPA and DHA are found exclusively in animal-based sources, while ALA is the type of omega 3 fat found in plant sources. Research indicates that many more benefits are available from animal sources of omega 3 fats.
See my page What are essential fatty acids?
to get a more detailed explanation.
The richest source for getting these fats in today's diet are fish high in omega 3. Unfortunately, it's become difficult to find seafood that's truly safe to eat.
Due to environmental pollution, most fish today are contaminated with dangerous toxins like mercury, dioxins and PCBs. Even the FDA has warned consumers not to eat fish too often due to the levels of mercury present.
Since toxicity is a serious issue with fish, it makes getting sufficient omega 3 through your diet a challenge. Fortunately, there are several options to get around this problem.
See Dietary Sources of Omega 3
to find other ways to get your essential fatty acids.
What About Omega 3-Fortified Products? Supermarkets are now carrying a wide range of products that tout their added omega 3 content as a health benefit. Everything from mayonnaise to cereal to eggs can be found with these fats added in. But are these products really better for your health?
See Best Foods for Omega 3 to discover the answer.
One way to get your daily requirement of omega 3 and avoid the mercury and other toxins in fish is to take supplements and superfoods instead. You have a choice of several different types: fish oil, krill oil, hemp, chia and flax seeds — how do you know which one is best? Discover the answer here.
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