“You have to get in your omega-3s!” These days, we hear this a lot from anyone who is health-minded. But what are omega-3s exactly?
Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the best types of fat you can get. There are three different kinds of omega-3s: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
EPA and DHA are considered long form and found in fish and algae extracts and are slightly easier for the body to process. ALA is the short-chain form and can be found in foods such as walnuts, flaxseed and chia.
Omega-3 heart benefits are unparalleled. Research has shown that males who consume fish once a week or more, were 50 percent less likely to die of heart failure than those who eat it less than once a month.
It also helps to regulate your blood triglyceride levels, which are fats related to cholesterol, specifically the bad ones. Omega-3s also reduce the chance of prostate cancer in men, according to recent research.
Omega-3s help with brain activity as well and are highly recommended for young children and teenagers.
The problem with our modern diet is that we eat an overabundance of omega-6s due to our consumption of corn, canola and sunflower oils. To help keep us healthy, omega-6s should balance out with omega-3s at a 1:1 ratio.
There are a few ways to get those beneficial omega-3s in your diet. You can eat more fish, but due to the potential for mercury toxicity, you want to eat that in moderation, of course. And since massive amounts of fish are required to get the right amount of omega-3s, fish oil and krill oil are the better option. While there is debate as to how much benefit we can get from ALA omega-3, if you are allergic to fish or can’t have seafood for another reason, chia seeds could be worth a try.