Just like cars that need oil, our bodies are intricate machines that need fatty acids to run well. Yes, you heard me right! This is one fat that is not only good for your body, but is essential for your body to work the way it’s supposed to.
Omega-3s are one of these essential fatty acids and many health enthusiasts can’t stop talking about them. They’ve even been called the “miracle food of the 21st century” and for good reason. The health rewards for people with diets heavy in omega-3 appear to be endless.
A few of the conditions that omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent include heart disease and high blood pressure. Not to mention cholesterol, joint pain, depression, autoimmune disorders, macular degeneration and diabetes. It can also help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, asthma, and even some types of cancer.
In this post, we’ll talk about what exactly omega-3 fatty acids are and how they can help you see and feel better. And, which foods are richest in these important fatty acids.
Omega-3: The Everyday Natural Remedy
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are derived from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). You can find omega-3 that is already in these forms in cold water fish such as tuna, salmon, halibut, mackerel, herring, and sardines.
In this form, it’s easier for our bodies to absorb and use. Another form of omega-3 fatty acids is the ALA form found in plants. This form can be a problem for some people because our bodies must convert it into EPA and DHA before it can be used. Some people have difficulty converting the ALA omega-3s.
Omega-3s are one of the essential fatty acids that your body needs for it to metabolize foods properly. Essential fatty acids are called essential because our bodies cannot make them on their own, we must ingest them. They are considered “good fats” and may even help with weight loss as they help our bodies metabolize and break down cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids act in our bodies to help prevent and reduce inflammation.
Along with the other fatty acids, omega-3s are a common supplement for practitioners of natural health. Omega-3 fatty acids are so important that when we are lacking enough of it, our bodies start to show signs of deficiency! Eczema, arthritis, fatigue, poor memory, mood swings, depression, and zinc deficiency have all been linked to not having enough omega-3s.
Before starting to take an omega-3 supplement, consult your medical practitioner. Some studies have shown that omega-3s can increase bleeding, others refute this claim. If you are already taking a blood thinner it’s best to consult your doctor before increasing the amounts of omega-3s you consume.
Omega-3 Can Prevent Vision Loss
There’s virtually no part of your body that omega-3 isn’t said to help, and the eyes are one of them. If you’re concerned about your vision as you age, you may want to consider incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. These wonder fats help to protect our vision from deterioration as we age. Omega-3 fats can also help prevent glaucoma and other optic nerve disorders.
Greenland Eskimos, studies reveal, consume high levels of omega-3 rich fish oil and have lower rates of glaucoma than the rest of the general population. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to help prevent and reduce the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, such as dry eyes.
Omega-3s may reduce the likelihood of developing AMD, or age-related macular degeneration. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly population, by as much as 40 percent.
Now that we know how important omega-3 fatty acids are to our health, we need to find great sources of it. Omega-3s, along with other essential fatty acids, truly are essential to our bodies and eyes.
Foods rich in omega-3s include walnuts, flax-seed oil, salmon, sardines, tofu, spinach, and fish in general. If you find it hard to make sure your diet is rich in the above foods, you may want to consider taking a quality omega-3 supplement. This ensures your body has the fat it needs to function at its best. When selecting an omega-3 supplement, make sure you are getting one with EPA and DHA forms of omega-3s. These will be easier for your body to use. As we mentioned earlier, talk to your doctor before starting an omega-3 supplement because it can react badly with some medications.
What to Avoid
Avoid frying or boiling fish if you are eating it to gain the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Cooking fish at high temperatures destroys much of the omega-3 as well as adding more unhealthy fats to your diet. If you’re not into sushi (raw fish) then the best way to prepare your fish is to bake it.
If you only like fish fried, consider pan frying with canola oil which is also high in omega-3s. You can pan fry fish at a lower temperature than deep frying, thus preserving the benefits of the fatty acids.
Omega-6 is another fatty acid that our bodies need; however, most American diets are too high in this fatty acid. Where omega-3s reduce inflammation, the omega-6s increase inflammation.
Yes, there really are times when inflammation is a good thing for your body. The best possible course of action is to get a good balance of both fatty acids in your diet. This can be difficult to do because most American diets are high in fried foods and fast foods. These both contain preservatives which contain omega-6 fatty acids.
How can you tell if you get enough omega-3s and 6s in your diet? By keeping a food log for a couple of weeks. Eat as you normally would but record every meal with sizes. Then, take your log to a certified nutritionist to evaluate it. They may point out the high or low amounts of omega-3s you’re getting and suggest corrections. When you’re getting the right amounts of omegas in your diet, you’ll feel healthier. And, your eyes will be better protected from disease.