How beneficial are omega-3s and how do I get them?

You’ve probably heard over the years either through the media or from your doctor that omega-3s should be an important part of your diet. But do you know why those omega-3s are so important?

First off, the omega-3s that are being talked about are actually omega-3 fatty acids. If you are cringing from the word “fatty”, don’t be alarmed. These fatty acids are good for you and vital to your health. The omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated with the three most important forms being alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is known as an essential fatty acid due to our bodies not being able to produce it on its own. It mainly comes from plant sources and can be found in flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, soybeans, and dark leafy vegetables. Linolenic acid can be found in sunflower and canola oils. The body uses ALA and converts it into EPA and DHA. However, these fatty acids can also be found in food sources such as cold water fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, and herring).

The intake of omega-3s has been shown to help prevent medical problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, asthma and arthritis. They also have skin enhancing properties so they may help you look better too!

Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids:
*Lowers the amount of lipids circulating in your blood
*Helps reduce inflammation
*Keeps your blood from clotting excessively
*Inhibits thickening of the arteries
*helps prevent cancer cell growth

Most often people are told to eat fish in order to receive their recommended dose of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact the dietary and supplement field caught on to this and we now see tons of fish oil supplements on the shelves. However, if you don’t eat seafood or are vegan, there are plenty of easy ways to incorporate omega-3s into your diet. Add leafy green vegetables such as kale, brussel sprouts or collard greens to your lunch or dinner. Add flaxseeds or flaxseed oil to oatmeal, cereals, or breads. Walnuts can be chopped and added to a plethora of dishes. Getting omega-3s can be easy and delicious!

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