The Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
It is vitally important that we supply our body with the full range of nutrients that it needs to sustain our good health, particularly those nutrients that cannot be synthesized internally. And yet, some of the most important nutrients of all – omega 3 fatty acids – are almost completely absent from the average western diet.
These are worrying statistics for a number of reasons: Firstly because omega 3 fatty acids play an absolutely critical part in the maintenance of our cardiovascular health, and secondly because a healthy balance of these important essential fatty acids is needed to regulate triglyceride uptake and preserve the health of your central nervous system, as well as nourishing our cells and helping to support our skeletal system.
A Healthier Heart
One of the most important characteristics of omega-3 fatty acids is their ability to improve your cardiovascular health, and support the proper functioning of your heart – providing you with the readily digestible energy needed to sustain proper circulation and helping to reduce your blood pressure by promoting the production of HDL cholesterol.
Unlike LDL cholesterol, this highly beneficial lipoprotein can actually carry damaging plaque deposits away from your artery walls; easing the pressure on your cardiovascular system and preventing the development of potentially life-threatening blood clots.
A healthier heart means more energy, improved circulation and better cellular health. Perhaps even more importantly, it means that you don’t have to spend time worrying about exercising too hard, or placing too much strain on your cardiovascular system.
A Well-Fed Brain
Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t just valued for the important part that they play in improving the health of your heart though: According to several recent scientific studies, they also play an absolutely vital role in nourishing your brain, and maintaining the health of your central nervous system.
According to an article published by the University of Maryland Medical Centre, they do this mainly by providing the brain with the essential nutrients needed to maintain proper cognitive function, as well as ‘sheathing’ delicate nerves throughout your body and improving communication between brain cells by providing a conduit for various chemical messengers such as serotonin and dopamine.
These processes are so important that insufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to cause drowsiness, light-headedness and even impaired judgement. Conversely, increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown in a number of clinical trials to actively boost brain function, and some preliminary testing also implies that it could be used in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s.
Even more impressive is the impact that omega-3 fatty acids appear to have on the health of our skeletal systems: Both in providing our bones with many of the minerals that they need to maintain their structural integrity, and in helping to protect us from a number of degenerative conditions like osteoporosis or osteoarthritis:
According to the British Medical Association, Omega-3 fatty acids “appear to be a vital constituent of marrow, and can enhance bone mineral content.” And the latest Japanese research indicates that they might help to increase our bodies ability to absorb calcium by up to 30% - offsetting the steady leaching of essential minerals that leads to the development of osteoporosis, and helping us to maintain our skeletal health for as long as possible.
Bones are your body’s foundation, as well as your main mineral reserve, and they’re health is directly linked to your posture, your strength an your balance. Maintaining their structural integrity means improved vitality, better energy levels and an increased sense of wellbeing, as well as the comfort of knowing that you don’t need to worry about the onset of debilitating health conditions.
Improving Your Omega-3 Intake
Given the plethora of benefits associated with an increased intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, it’s easy to see why we recommend regular supplementation from a healthy source.
You’ll find plentiful amounts of EPA and DHA omega-3 oils in most fresh fish and seafood.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more health, vegetarian choice, you’ll find hemp and flax seed oils particularly good sources of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, which are the building blocks to both EPA and DHA oils.
In fact, flax seed oil is considered to be the most plentiful source of plant based omega-3 fatty acids available – just make sure that you pick a cold-pressed flax oil that’s been carefully packaged to protect its nutrient content, as omega-3 oils are often very delicate and prone to breaking down when exposed to heat, light or oxygen.
How Much Omega-3 Do I Need?
Medical journals will often quote a number somewhere between 500mg and 2g as the ‘ideal’ amount of omega-3 oils, but there isn’t really any universally perfect number.
Instead, most nutritionists suggest that the most important thing is actually ensuring that you consume an equal amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as our bodies have evolved to depend on a ratio of 1:1.
If you can stay as close to this ideal ratio as possible, by increasing your omega-3 intake and simultaneously lowering the amount of omega-6 rich red meat and grains that you consume, you should quickly start to really feel the benefits,
Discover More about the Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you have any questions about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, or you’d like to learn more about increasing your intake of omega oils, remember that you can always reach us on +44 (0) 1764 662111 for a friendly chat, or use the contact form on our website to get in touch.