Omega 3 Fatty Acids Benefits: For That Extraordinary Brain
Omega 3 has been shown more effective than antidepressant medication. Now you can imagine how important this nutrient is for your brain health.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are called Essential Fatty Acids because they are essential for the survival. Our body cannot make these fatty acids of their own, that’s why it is important to add them in your diet.
They are very delicate fats and extremely unstable. If they get spoiled they can work against our health.
There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids:
DHA: Found in Animal foods
EPA: Found in Animals foods
ALA: Found in plants based foods
Our body does convert EPA from ALA but the conversion rate is so poor that vegetarians should supplement with DHA and EPA to have the benefits of Omega 3 fats in their diets.
Humans can only convert about 8% of ALA to DHA.
Omega 3 is beneficial for:
1. Brain and Eye development of KIDS
The European Food Safety Authority has confirmed that the omega-3 fats, DHA and ALA, can benefit eye and cognitive development in babies.
Children with Omega 3 in their diets are believed to have higher IQ levels
A deficiency in Omega 3 and other healthy fats can cause a lifetime of unexplained learning, and immune system disorders in kids.
2. Omega-3s ability to reduce violent behavior
Sometimes we see people around who are more violent than others. Their violence and this anger are sometimes due to the inflammatory food they ate.
Make sure to eat seafood once in a week. For implementing this, I have fixed a day, let’s say Monday dinner. Every Monday I cook wild salmon for my family.
3. Omega 3 fights depression
Omega-3 deficiency decreases normal blood flow to your brain. The studies show people with depression have compromised blood flow to a number of brain regions.
Besides this Omega 3 work to suppress inflammations (Origin of all diseases). Consuming 2-3 servings of seafood weekly has been shown to decrease the risk of cancer, regulate heartbeat and reduce blood pressure
Reasons for Omega 3 Deficiencies
Omega-3 deficiency is likely the sixth biggest killer of Americans.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 both are necessary for the body, but Omega 3 is more beneficial. The balance between Omega 3 to omega 6 should be 1:1, but modern day diet consumes a lot of omega 6.
Omega 6 compete with omega 3 in the body. So, as we increase our consumption of omega 6, omega 3´s will get depleted, causing inflammations in the body.
The average ratio now a day is 25:1
The most common source of omega 6s that should be avoided are:
- Sunflower oil
- Poppyseed oil
- Corn oil
- Walnut oil
- Soybean oil
- Sesame oil
These oils are very cheap to produce. So major fast food chains and restaurants use them to cook. These fats are not bad but deep frying, microwaving or cooking with them makes them Toxic.
Repeated heating of vegetable oils is common practice in the food industry, particularly in large deep-fryers, because it significantly reduces the cost of food preparation.
Now omega 3 and 6 are unstable. In order to stabilize them to add in packed items, companies hydrogenate your unstable omega 6 oils to make them more stabilized. This results in very dangerous Fat called TRANS FAT
YES! All the packed cookies, chips, Crackers, frozen pizzas you eat, have added Trans Fat.
Trans Fat is extremely unhealthy and highly associated with instances of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity that the FDA issued a ban on these fats in 2015.
Check the labels on the packet before buying if it contains Trans Fats.
Some symptoms of Omega 3 deficiencies include:
Dry Skin, Dry Hair, Brittle Nails, Memory Problems, Fatigue, Lack of concentration, Depression, and Allergies
Natural sources of Omega 3
- Grass-fed beef
- Wild salmon ( This is expensive stuff, I have written here on how to select Wild Salmon)
- Algae oil
- Brussels sprouts
How Much Omega-3 Is Right for You
One must understand that type of Omega 3 that is contained in plant-based sources is called ALA. The beneficial one for the body is DHA and our body converts only 8% of ALA into DHA.
So eating a lot of seeds like Flaxseeds, Chia seeds and thinking that we are consuming an adequate amount of Omega 3 is the wrong approach. You simply will not receive the same benefits because they are not metabolized as efficiently.
I am not saying that we should eliminate these healthy seeds from our diet. They have other beneficial properties as well. Like flax seeds are also rich in proteins. But, they alone cannot fulfill a body´s Omega 3 demand.
Either eat wild salmon once a week or if you are a vegetarian take Krill oil supplements.
Flax seeds, walnuts, and other plant sources of omega-3 should not be substituted for animal omega-3s.
For Infants ( 7 – 24 Months)
EPA and DHA: 100 mg per day
For pregnant and lactating women
EPA and DHA: 200 mg per day
Its supplementation is a must for Pregnant and Nursing women. While you are pregnant and Nursing you would avoid that Raw seafood because of dangers of mercury. A safe bet is to have EPA and DHA supplements
For healthy adults
EPA and DHA: 300 mg per day
The Right Kind of Omega 3 (Krill Oil Vs Fish Oil)
Krill are very tiny shrimp-like creatures. Krill oil is your best option when it comes to obtaining important high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats
Krill oil also contains vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D and astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant
Krill oil is better than fish oil because it can be used immediately by your body to reap all the benefits of omega 3 whereas fish oil has to undergo additional processing so as the body can use it.
In fact, krill oil is 48 times more potent than fish oil.
Careful: manufacturers that make low-quality supplement take a small amount of krill and a lot of much cheaper fish oil and label it as krill oil.Be sure you’re getting 100% krill oil and it should be packed in dark-colored capsules so that it does not get oxidized when exposed to light.
If possible also look for added astaxanthin in it. Astaxanthin is a very powerful antioxidant. Read the label and check the amount of astaxanthin it contains. The more the better, but anything above 0.2 mg per gram of krill oil will protect it from rancidity.
In fact, I have noted that all delicate polyunsaturated oils like Olive oil and Krill oil are always stored or packed in dark colored bottles.
Store the bottle in your refrigerator, in order to protect it from heat.
Conclusion for Omega 3 fatty acids benefits
- Omega 3 boosts brain function.
- Omega 3 is more effective than anti-depressant medication
- Omega 3 supplementation a must for Growing Children, Pregnant and Lactating Females
- Plant based omega 3 like Flax seeds and Chia Seeds alone cannot fulfill body´s Omega 3 demand
- Krill oil: New number 1 source of Omega 3. Superior to Fish oil and Cod liver oil
- Eat Wild Salmon Fish and not Fish oil.