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Everything you need to know about omega 3
Many have heard it, yet few understand it. Sadly omega 3 has become the forgotten element of our diet.
So what is it? In what foods can it be found? And what are its benefits?
What is omega 3?
Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. These are essential in ensuring the proper functioning of both the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
– Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): this essential fatty acid is used to synthesize two other omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. A deficiency of this polyunsaturated fatty acid will result in a deficiency of both EPA and DHA. Therefore, it is vital that it is provided through diet. It can be found in linseed, rapeseed and walnut oils.
– Ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA): it has anti-inflammatory properties that help to protect the arteries and heart. This fatty acid also looks restrict bone deminirelization. It has even been proven to be beneficial in reducing mood disorders as well as depressive tendencies. It is found mainly in oily fish.
– Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): it is the main fatty acid present in both membranes and neurons. It plays a fundamental role in the development of the brain and good vision. Like EPA, DHA helps protect the cardiovascular system.
DHA is also naturally present in oily fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines.
Omega 3 plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular and neuron degenerative disease.
– Cardiovascular system: by thinning the blood, omega 3 prevents clots, clogged arteries and heart rhythm disorders.
– Nervous system: EPA has beneficial effects on mood disorders and depressive tendencies. EPA transforms into prostaglandins (hormone) that promotes the transmission of nerve impulses. This process can help reduce the risk of depression.
– Bone tissue: EPA helps maintain good bone structure. It fights against omega 6, arachidonic acid, which looks to promote the degradation of bone tissue.
– Anti-inflammatory acid: ALA and l’EPA are anti-inflammatories and anti-allergics. EPA also has a positive effect on chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease.
Your daily omega 3 needs
ANSES’s (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) recommendation are different alpha-linolenic acid, EPA and DHA. They are based on an energy requirement of 2000kcal.
ALA: 1% of the RDI equates to 2.2g per day
EPA & DHA: 0.12% pf the RDI equates to 250mg per day.
Foods rich in omega 3
Omega 3 supplements
A deficiency in ALA can result in deficiencies in both EPA and DHA. This can ultimately leads to the onset of cardio or neurological disorders.
If you do not consume enough omega 3 through your regular diet, it is important to ensure that you get your required intake through supplements.
You can find these types of dietary supplements in pharmacies. They are often based on fish oil and are generally recommended for people suffering from cardiac and neurological problems.
While these supplements are certainly helpful, a balanced and varied diet should ensure that your omega 3 requirements are meant.