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Your Ultimate Guide to Omega-3 : The Super Fat
We’ve all heard of superfoods. After all, there seems to be new additions to the food group every month. But have you ever heard of a super fat?
No surprises if you haven’t. They actually don’t exist...yet. But with years of ongoing research continuously proving Omega-3s to be packed with so many nutrients and invaluable health benefits, we’re adamant it deserves the premium title and ownership of its very own food group.
Essentially, if things like the Peruvian Gooseberry can be a superfood (yes, they’re a thing), we believe Omega-3 should be a super fat.
To truly convince you, we’re going to provide you with an extensive list of compelling reasons why.
So read on to find out everything you need to know about Omega-3, it’s benefits, where you can source it and why it’s something so important in our life.
Let’s start by looking at exactly what Omega-3 is.
Omega-3 is the heart-healthy fat packed with all the essentials to make you go “Ooo”, along with 3 mega acids like: ALA, EPA and DHA. To maintain a healthy diet, you’ll need a balance of all 3, so it’s helpful to know that EPA and DHA are commonly found in fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, while ALA, is found in plant-based sources like nuts, chia seeds and seaweed.
Alternatively, you can get all 3 types from fish oil supplements.
So that’s what Omega-3 is, now let’s dive into the fuss behind it, a.k.a all of its amazing health benefits.
Helps combat depression and anxiety
In a time where you can swap out coffee for caffeine pills, it’s refreshing to know that there are some natural alternatives you can take to help improve your mental health.
Packed with the Omega-3, eating fish can help combat levels of depression, with studies even showing that EPA has been as effective as a common anti-depressant drugs.
In addition, Omega-3 has also been seen to help prevent the decline of your mental health as you get older, as well as minimising the risk of Alzheimers Disease.
Seen to improve your eye-health
Just to be clear, eating a super fat like Omega-3 won’t give you superpowers, but it can help strengthen your retina due to it’s high content of DHA - the fatty acid that plays a huge structural role. Omega-3 can help prevent vision problems like macular degeneration (MD), which eventually leads to eye damage and blindness.
Healthy for Mums and Bubs
Omega-3 helps increase your baby’s chance at being the health equivalent of a brainiac. By that, we mean it promotes brain growth and development, particularly during those crucial early stages.
In fact, studies have shown that getting the right amounts of Omega-3 during pregnancy can result in increased intelligence, fewer behavioural problems, decreased risk of autism in your child.
Additionally, babies who drink DHA-fortified formula develop better eyesight than babies who don’t.
Helps kids with ADHD
Naturally, kids are relentless, bouncy balls of energy. So, when it comes to helping treat conditions like ADHD, it’s cool to know that there are natural alternatives that won’t take a toll on their mood or personality.
Linked to reducing symptoms of ADHD in children, Omega-3 can help improve attention spans and ability to complete tasks, as well as reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity and calm anger.
Makes for a healthier heart
Did you know: Plaque isn’t just something that forms on your teeth. It’s in your blood too and having too much of it can actually restrict your arteries?
Omega-3 provides a heap of benefits like preventing plaque from forming.
Along with that, it helps reduce levels of triglycerides, prevents clogged arteries, lowers blood pressure and raises those good levels of cholesterol called HDL.
Reduces harm from Metabolic Syndrome
Most of us know the term ‘metabolic’ from ‘having a fast metabolism’. Ah yes, that thing we all once had as a kid. Well, as you get older, adults face the risk of a thing called Metabolic Syndrome - basically a condition that develops from a range of risk factors like central obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high triglycerides and low levels of ‘good cholesterol’.
By upping your intake of Omega-3, you can help minimise your risk of Metabolic Syndrome, as well as related conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Helps fight off inflammation
If you’re Aussie, then chances are you’ll know what inflammation is. It’s that red throbbing feeling you get when bitten by a bull ant or the multitude of evil Mozzies buzzing about during summer.
But did you know that inflammation can occur at a much deeper level? Like heart disease or cancer?
That’s why Omega-3 is great. It’s acids help reduce inflammation by minimizing molecules and substances like eicosanoids and cytokines.
Helps take on auto-immune diseases
You could say that what makes Omega-3 an ideal super fat candidate, is its super power over autoimmune diseases - a condition where your immune system begins to attack your healthy cells, making you sick.
For example, Type 1 Diabetes - an auto-immune disease where your immune system attacks the essential insulin producing cells in your pancreas. Increasing your Omega-3 intake could help combat this, along with other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.
Helps kids breathe easier
In the case of screen time VS. outdoor playtime, you can all guess what a kid’s choice is. Particularly those with asthma, where the freedom of running around is much more difficult to enjoy.
That’s where Omega-3 can come in handy. Because the condition is technically an inflammation in your airways, something that this fatty acid is known for reducing, Omega-3 can reduce asthma in kids, by bringing down any swelling, coughing and shortness of breath.
Combats fatty livers
Most would guess that drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is the root cause of Fatty Liver Disease. But did you know that there’s such a thing called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?
This is commonly seen in those who follow a Western diet, caused by a range of factors like a high intake of refined carbs and sugar. Fortunately, for those who have it, studies have shown that an intake of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements along with a healthy diet can help reduce levels of fat in your liver.
Helps prevent cancer
A not-as-well known, yet an equally recognised perk of our super fat Omega-3, is that it helps reduce the risk of certain cancers like prostate and breast cancer.
In addition, studies show that people who consume the most Omega-3’s are also 55% less likely to get colon cancer.
Great for bone and joint health
Lactose-free lovers, you finally have a reason to rejoice. Omega-3 is an easy dairy-free way to boost your calcium levels without skulling a glass of milk. With studies showing that Omega-3s can strengthen bones, supplementing this fatty acid into your diet can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, joint pain and help treat arthritis.
Alleviates period pain
If you’re prone to getting bad period pains, yeah, those deep, aching incurable pain you get in your lower back and what sometimes feels like a boulder rolling around pelvis, then Omega-3 could be just for you.
Studies show that those with the highest levels of these fatty acids are less likely to experience these pains, and that it can even be more effective than ibuprofen when it came to treating period pains.
May aid with a better night’s sleep
There are two things that will never decline in value: gold and sleep. And while we treasure both, not getting enough sleep can actually have long-term effects on our health like obesity, diabetes and depression, particularly if you have medically-linked sleep issues like apnoea.
Fortunately, Omega-3 acids can help you get some shut eye due to its high levels of DHA. These levels are linked to higher levels of melatonin, which regulates your body temperature and blood pressure, letting your internal body clock know when it’s time to go to sleep.
Great for your skin
It may be a stretch to claim Omega-3 as the secret to eternal youth, but we can say it helps keep our skin healthy, slow down aging, and provide extra protection against sun damage.
Rich in DHA, Omega-3s help maintain the health of our cell membranes, keeping them soft, moist and supple. The other fatty acid, EPA, prevents hyperkeratinization of hair follicles (those little red bumps we see on our upper arm), reduces the risk of acne and helps manage the oil production and hydration of our skin - key factors in slowing down the aging process.
Are you a super fat convert?
Health benefits aside, there’s actually a heap of other reasons we believe Omega-3 should be coined a super fat.
1. It’s an extra ingredient you can tell everyone you added to your health smoothie.2. It’s another way to eat healthy without trawling through the overwhelming, overpriced shelves of your supermarket’s health food aisle.
The list goes on... So if you’re ready to join the movement, why not check out the best ways to uptake your Omega-3 with Easy Ways to get Omega-3 Fish Free, or 8 Fish Supplements You Need To Know About.