Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats essential for a healthy diet. The human body does not produce Omega 3's, so they must be consumed through food. Fish, plants (seaweed, soy beans, purslane), seeds (flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds) nuts (walnuts), and seed/nut oils (canola, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, walnut, perilla seed, soy bean oil) are the primary dietary sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3's are a collection of several nutrients, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha linolenic acid (ALA).
It is important to maintain a healthy balance between Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3's promote the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body, while Omega 6's tend to promote inflammation. Experts say that eating 4 times more Omega 3's than Omega 6's (4:1) is a health ratio.
The health benefits of Omega 3's include:
- Reduces risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reduces symptoms of depression
- Reduces symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Alleviates joint pain and arthritis
- Alleviates skin ailments, such as photo dermatitis and psoriasis
- Boosts immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases the breakdown of fibrin, a compound involved in clot and scar formation
- Helps prevent abnormal heart rhythms
- Promotes healthy brain function
Fish high in Omega 3's: