Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you’ve no doubt read an article or two about the importance of getting enough omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. But do you know what omega-3 acids are, why they are important and the best food sources?
They Don’t Call Them Essential for Nothing
Omega-3 fatty acids are also called essential fatty acids for a reason: they are critical nutrients for your overall health. They are also called essential because your body cannot manufacture them, so they must be consumed. But what are they exactly?
Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, meaning they contain more than one double bond in their chemical structure. The “3” represents where in the chemical structure the first double bond occurs.
This structure explains why we must get omega-3s from other sources. While our bodies can synthesize saturated fatty acids, we don’t have the enzyme that allows us to stick a double bond in the right spot to create omega-3s ourselves.
Omega-3s work in tandem with another essential fatty acid you need for optimal health called omega-6. Now, ideally, your body wants a ratio of 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 to keep inflammation in check. But thanks to the standard American Diet (SAD) that is rife with vegetable oils (and veggie oils contain a lot of omega-6), most people have more of a ratio of 1:20 or even 1:30. This is bad and typically leads to inflammation, which leads to disease.
So it makes sense that cutting out vegetable oils and upping your intake of omega-3 rich foods would get your ratio back where it needs to be. I’ll get to which foods provide the highest amounts of omega-3s, but let’s first take a look at some of the biggest health benefits of omega-3s.
After you read this list of benefits, there’s no doubt you’ll want to start ensuring you get enough omega-3 into your diet each and every day.
Protects Your Brain
Numerous studies have shown omega-3s ability to help prevent and even reverse cognitive decline seen in dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as fight against depression. Studies have also shown omega-3 benefits in fighting attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder.
The reason omega-3s are so beneficial to health and have such a positive impact on so many diseases, is because they help to lower inflammation in the body. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that we talk a lot about the fact that INFLAMMATION is the root cause of disease. From arthritis to dementia to cancer and hypertension, inflammation is the cause. But numerous studies have shown time and time again that omega-3 is powerful when it comes to decreasing system-wide inflammation. By eating an anti-inflammatory diet, rich in omega-3s, you give your body it’s best shot at fighting disease as it was intended to do.
Prevents Autoimmune Diseases
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease you know how frustrating it can be to deal with. Did you know it typically takes 10 visits to the doctor for an autoimmune disease to be considered as the ultimate problem behind the symptoms?
Autoimmune diseases like allergies, lupus, arthritis and ulcerative colitis are a result of the immune system mistaking healthy cells as foreign invaders and attacking them. But the good news is, many studies have found the link between high omega-3 intake and a decreased risk of developing autoimmune diseases.
Lower Risk of Cancer
According to several large epidemiological studies, it seems possible that high levels of omega-3 fats may be associated with a lowered risk of developing certain cancers, particularly colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
Supports Healthy Bones and Joints
As we age, we must protect ourselves from osteoporosis and arthritis, so we can keep our mobility and independence. Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of older people worldwide are afflicted with both of these diseases.
The scientific community has recognized omega-3s as a viable way to increase bone density (healthy fats help your body use vitamin D and absorb calcium from your gut) and reduce friction and inflammation in the joints.
This is only a partial list of the benefits of omega-3s, but as you can see, it’s quite a list. And I hope you’re ready to start eating more omega-3 rich foods.
Best Sources of Omega-3s
While there are no absolutes as to how much omega-3 you should aim to consume each day, most scientific studies have concluded opting for about 1000mg of EPA/DHA a day is a good starting point, but some recommendations say to eat 3,000 – 6,000 a day.
The best thing to do is speak with your doctor about upping your intake of omega-3s and keep track of how you feel and any positive changes you notice as you increase your dosage.
And now, here is a list of some of the foods with the highest amounts of omega-3s:
- Atlantic Mackerel
- Cod Liver Oil
- Chia Seeds
- Alaskan Salmon (wild-caught)
- Albacore Tuna
- White Fish
- Hemp Seeds
- Egg Yolks
While it’s best to get your omega-3s from food sources, I understand that not everyone is going to jump for joy when they read this list. I’m talking to you, you who are reading this and thinking, “Yuck, I hate fish.”
Well good news, you can absolutely get enough omega-3s into your diet with the help of a fish oil supplement.
WARNING: Not All Fish Oil Supplements are the Same
Ever since the studies began coming out of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, it seems like everyone and their brother began hitting the market with their own line of fish oil supplements.
But be warned – not all of these do what they promise and not all are pure.
Not only do you want a fish oil supplement that won’t leave you with fish burps, you also want one that has been tested to assure it contains adequate amounts of EPA and DHA and no mercury or high levels of oxidation values.
Primal Labs is pleased to offer our readers what we think is the absolute BEST omega-3 oil on the market.
Not only is our supplement pure and potent, it also contains omega-7s.
Now you may have noticed that one of the benefits I left off of the omega-3 benefits list was heart health. That’s because while it was once believed that omega-3s were excellent for heart health – and to a certain extent they do help because of their anti-inflammatory properties – the latest studies have shown that omega-7s are really the fatty acid critical for heart health.
Primal Lab’s DuOmega 3&7 contains not just omega-3 but also omega-7 essential fatty acids, offering you the absolute best way to protect your OVERALL health.