Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Why Omega-3s Are Essential to Good Health

Food

When it comes to fats, it’s becoming common knowledge that they are not the villainous foes we all thought. Fats are good for us and, if you haven’t heard, eating them can even help you lose weight. However, as the world of fats becomes gracefully demystified, you may begin to develop even more questions. One often discussed yet mysterious fat is omega-3 fatty acids—they’re fantastic for your health, but do you know why?

Omega-3s boast incredible benefits in the body. They act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents when present in balanced levels.

Why Are Omega-3s So Great?

Omega-3s boast incredible benefits in the body. They act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents when present in balanced levels. Unfortunately, our diets tend to be too heavy on omega-6s (found in vegetable oils), with the average Westerner consuming 15 servings of omega-6 for every 1 serving of omega-3s. A more beneficial, health promoting ratio lies around 6:1 or lower, which means consuming more omega-3s and limiting omega-6 intake. Proper omega-3 consumption can encourage lower blood triglycerides, reduce the risk of many cancers, reduce the severity of depression symptoms and the onset of cognitive decline, improve baby development and reduce ADHD symptoms, among a myriad of other wonders!

What Types of Omega-3s are There? 

There are, fittingly, three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and ALA. EPA is a powerful anti-inflammatory and has been found beneficial in fighting mental conditions such as depression. DHA is a structural component of cell membranes and makes up 40 percent of the brain’s polyunsaturated fats. DHA is particularly important during and after pregnancy, as DHA is integral in the development of the nervous system. ALA is the omega-3 found mainly in fatty plant sources. Although it’s more common in our diets, ALA must be converted into EPA or DHA in order to be functional in the body. This process is extremely inefficient with little yield, so ALA is not the ideal source of omega-3s.

Where Can You Get Them?

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids must be consumed through a healthy diet; the body does not create its own. The most potent sources are salmon, fish oil, sardines and anchovies, which contain EPA and DHA. There are also vegan sources, such as flax, chia, hemp, soybeans and walnuts, which are filled with ALA. Unfortunately, ALA is ineffective as the sole source of omega-3s in the body. Luckily, supplements, even vegan ones, are easy to find.

Are Supplements Just as Effective? 

Unless you’re consuming fatty seafood on a weekly basis, supplements are an excellent way to boost your omega-3 intake. Those who eat seafood can get balanced supplements filled with EPA and DHA sourced from fish oil and krill oil. Vegans and vegetarians can enjoy a high DHA supplement made from algae. In fact, fish source their own omega-3s from algae, so algal oil is an incredibly potent (and sustainable) source. Regardless of your dietary preferences, there is a supplement that can suit your omega-3 needs. The most important thing is that you’re getting a balanced intake of this essential, super powerful fatty acid.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

What Is Nutrient Timing and Why Does It Matter?

World’s First Vegan Supermarket Chain to Open in Portland

10 Health Benefits of Adding Honey to Your Diet

Eating More Slowly Can Help You Lose Weight

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less
Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less
A pipeline being constructed in Pennsylvania. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday mandating federal agencies bypass key environmental reviews of energy and infrastructure projects.
Read More Show Less
A coke storage area is seen as steam rises from the quench towers at the US Steel Clairton Works on Jan. 21, 2020, in Clairton, Pennsylvania. White plumes of smoke billow above western Pennsylvania's rolling hills as scorching ovens bake coal, which rolls in by the trainload along the Monongahela River. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's claim that the U.S. has the cleanest air and water in the world has been widely refuted by statistics showing harmful levels of pollution. Now, a new biannual ranking released by researchers at Yale and Columbia finds that the U.S. is nowhere near the top in environmental performance, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Students walk by a sign reading "Climate Change" at the Doctor Tolosa Latour public school in Madrid, Spain on Sept. 9, 2014. In the U.S., New Jersey will be the first state to make the climate crisis part of its curriculum for all K-12 students. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP via Getty Images

New Jersey has invested in the future health of the planet by making sure the next generation of adults knows how human activity has had a deleterious effect on the planet. The state will be the first in the nation to make the climate crisis as part of its curriculum for all students, from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade, as NorthJersey.com reported.

Read More Show Less
Some reservations are reporting infection rates many times higher than those observed in the general U.S. population. grandriver / Getty Images

By Lindsey Schneider, Joshua Sbicca and Stephanie Malin

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is novel, but pandemic threats to indigenous peoples are anything but new. Diseases like measles, smallpox and the Spanish flu have decimated Native American communities ever since the arrival of the first European colonizers.

Read More Show Less

Trending

As we continue to grapple with the issues of overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change, there exists an opportunity to address these existential threats with new innovations. Sawitree Pamee / EyeEm

By Kaya Bulbul

The ocean is our lifeline - we rely on it for the food we eat, the air we breathe, as well as for millions for jobs worldwide.

As we continue to grapple with the issues of overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change, there exists an opportunity to address these existential threats with new innovations, many of which unidentified or insufficiently supported.

Read More Show Less