Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our diet.
They are natural anti-inflammatories. Like aspirin or ibuprofen, they hinder inflammation. The healthy oils maintain cell fluidity, which in turn improves blood flow. Additionally, it helps regulate mood. Ever have days you feel “BLAH”? You’re probably low on omega-3s.
They are blood thinners (again, like aspirin) and interfere with blood clots which helps to decrease chances of a heart attack. They are also beneficial in preventing and treating several diseases.
Like everything else - moderation is key! An excess of omega-3s can cause hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain).
This is the basic omega-3 which comes from plants, both on land and oceans. ALA is considered to be the only omega-3 your body really needs since it can convert it to other types of omega-3s: EPA & DHA (essential for fetal development and healthy aging).
Although some have argued that our bodies doesn’t convert enough EPA & DHA from ALA, truth is.. the rate in which conversion takes place depends on how many other fats are competing for the enzymes. Lots of grease? Your ability to build the needed healthy fats may be impaired.
Additionally, drenching your body with too much “bad” fat from hamburgers, fried foods, etc, create these “competing fats” which slows down your body’s ability to turn and absorb EPA & DHA from ALA. Taking Omega-3 supplements with an unbalanced diet in hopes to “flush out” these competing fats only floods your body with omega-3s. The best solution is to find balance.
Did you know fish get their ALA from eating plants? Fish contains cholesterol and about 15-30% of “bad” fat, the same kind of fat that’s found in beef or chicken. What about contamination? Fish harbor contaminants from smaller fish they feed on.
It’s actually a better option to go for the plant-based omega-3s! Here is a list to choose from. And if you’re a vegetarian, It’s recommended that you get 4 grams of ALA a day.