Omega 3 Deficiency? Top 10 Omega 3 Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Perhaps you’ve heard about omega 3 and how it can help improve your health. There are several food manufacturers that fortify their products with omega 3 and tell the consumers of its benefits. Usually, these advertisements tell the viewers how it is good for your heart. However, many people do not know that omega 3 fatty acids can be found naturally in many food varieties. The most common omega 3 sources are fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. You can get a lot of fish oil benefits from these fatty fishes that will ultimately boost your overall health. Some of the best omega 3 benefits that you can acquire are lowering risk of heart disease, sharpening the mind, and promoting younger looking skin.
If you are not fond of fatty fishes and seafood, you can turn to vegan omega 3 sources. There are a number of fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Some of these fruits and vegetables are spinach, navy beans, mustard seeds, winter squash, wild rice, purslane, red lentils, chia seeds, and avocado. You can prepare a lot of delicious meals using only vegan omega 3 foods.
Fortified Omega 3 Foods
When doing your grocery, you would probably notice a lot of food products being labeled with omega 3 content. Most often, processed foods such as cereals, pasteurized dairy products, peanut butter, bread, yogurt, margarine, flour, powdered juices, and protein powders are being fortified with omega 3 to increase its nutrient value. These food manufacturers are aware of the omega 3 benefits and they are going to continue this trend in the coming years.
However, many experts agree that it is still better to get your omega 3 from natural food sources. Omega 3 fatty acids from processed foods are inferior to the natural omega 3s from whole foods because they undergo chemical processes that alter or reduce the nutrition content of the processed foods.
Omega 3 Benefits
Health experts recommend taking 250 to 500 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per day, but higher amounts are often suggested for people who have certain health conditions. If you are getting enough of polyunsaturated fatty acids, here are the omega 3 benefits you can get from them.
Good for the Heart
This is probably the most popular tagline for omega 3. Food manufacturers often label their products as good for the heart since it is fortified with omega 3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association is encouraging people to increase their consumption of omega 3 foods to avoid the risk of heart diseases. Studies have found that people who include high amounts of fatty fish and fish oils in their diet have very low instances of developing heart diseases. One of the reasons why it is good for the heart is because of its ability to lower your blood pressure. Omega 3 can help dilate the blood vessels, which means that the heart wouldn’t have to work much harder to provide blood to all parts of the body. This is also why omega 3 can lower the risk of stroke. Omega 3 can lower triglycerides, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. With regular and sufficient doses of omega 3, triglyceride levels can be reduced. Omega 3 can also raise the HDL or good cholesterol levels and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries that lead to clogging.
It Can Boost Your Memory and Brain Health
Studies show that increasing the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids can help sharpen your memory. DHA, which is found in the omega 3, can help the nerve cells in your brain to communicate faster, which improves your memory. Plus, there are several types of research strongly suggesting that omega 3 can help lower the risk of mental disorders and mental decline.
Inflammation is the root cause of so many diseases. By getting healthy amounts of omega 3 fatty acids on a regular basis, you can lower the risk of having serious diseases. There is also strong evidence showing that omega 3 can reduce inflammation caused by the accumulation of fats.
Supports Healthy Bones and Joints
Omega 3 is good for the bones because it helps to increase the amount of calcium absorption during digestion. People who are prone to osteoporosis and another bone disease should increase their intake of omega 3 foods.
Improve Sleep Quality
Lack of sleep is not good for your health. Having normal hours of sleep allows your body to become stronger against illnesses and disease. Studies show that people who were given regular doses of omega 3 were able to improve their sleep deprivation condition. It has also been discovered that lower omega 3 levels in the body are linked to low levels of melatonin, which is the hormone that is responsible for sleeping.
Very Important for the Development of Infants
It is critical for infants and growing children to get plenty of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. The eyes and brain of an infant need a good amount of EPA and DHA fatty acids so they can fully develop without any problems. It can be surprising to know that omega 3 benefits are so vital in the proper development of children at their most crucial stage of growth. This is also why mothers must consume plenty of omega 3 foods in order to have higher levels of omega 3 in their breastmilk. Studies have shown that children who have high omega 3 levels have better mental processing skills and faster hand-eye coordination at four years of age.
What is Fish Oil?
Since we are talking about omega 3 benefits, we should go a little bit deeper and learn more about fish oil, which is the best source of omega 3 fatty acids. The tissues of fishes like Atlantic Mackerel, Alaskan Salmon, Herring, Tuna, and Sardines contain high amounts of fish oil. You can get your dose of omega 3 fatty acids directly by eating these wild-caught fishes, or you can also take a fish oil supplement. Fish oil has two important types of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are the DHA and EPA. Most often, the DHA and EPA are referred to as marine omega 3s because they come from fatty fishes.
Fish Oil Benefits
There have been many studies and tests proving the positive effects of fish oil. Here are some of the more popular fish oil benefits that you need to be aware of.
Cures Anxiety and Depression
Since fish oil benefits include better brain development in children, it is not surprising to know that fish oil can help in treating mental problems such as anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that fish oil is capable of reversing the symptoms of anxiety and depression in rats.
Lowers the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
For many years, scientists have been studying the potential of fish oils as a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and the onset of cognitive decline. They have found strong evidence that the fatty acids from fish oil can slow down cognitive decline and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, patients who were given fish oil supplements have significantly less brain shrinkage and cognitive decline than the other group of patients who did not take any fish oil.
A study in 2014 has concluded that taking fish oil and borage seed oil can help treat rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil can also be used to reduce arthritic pain, and it is a safer alternative to most medicines today.
Good for Eye Health
Older people are more prone to age-related eye disorders and macular degeneration. As you grow older, the health of your eyes deteriorates. You need a regular dose of fish oil to maintain good eye health. Since fish oil has high levels of EPA and DHA, it can be beneficial to people who are at risk of developing macular degeneration. It has also been proven that fish oil can reduce the level of cortical cataracts.
Boost the Immune System
Consumption of fatty fishes and fish oils can multiply the power of your immune system. If you are always prone to viral diseases, flu, and colds, then you should increase your intake of fatty fishes. A study has revealed that fish oil combined with astaxanthin can reinforce your immune system. Salmon is a fatty fish that contains both high levels of fish oil and astaxanthin.
Improves Skin and Hair Condition
Fish oil benefits can also be seen through your skin and hair. Fish oil can help nourish your skin, makes it smoother, prevents wrinkles, and slows down skin aging. Increasing intake of fish oil can also treat dandruff, hair thinning, eczema, and psoriasis. And since fish oil can reduce inflammation, it is capable of treating sunburns.
Top 10 Omega 3 Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Plan your diet by incorporating most of these omega 3 foods. We can separate them into two omega 3 food types, namely: fatty fish or fish oil omega 3 and vegan omega 3 foods.
Fatty Fishes, Fish Oil, and Other Seafood Omega 3
- Atlantic Mackerel – 1 cup cooked contains 6,982 mg omega 3
- Herring – 3 ounces is 1,885 mg
- Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon – 3 ounces is 1,716 mg
- Albacore Tuna – 3 ounces is 1,414 mg
- Sardines – 1 can contains 1,363 mg
- Salmon Fish Oil – 1 tablespoon has 4,767 mg
- Cod Liver Oil – 1 tablespoon has 2,664 mg
- Fish Roe or Caviar – 1 tablespoon has 1,088 mg
- Anchovies – 1 can has 951 mg
- White Fish – 3 ounces has 1,363 mg
- Trout – 3 ounces has 1,065 mg
- Swordfish – 3 ounces has 913 mg
- Oysters – per 3 ounces is 1,346 mg
- Mussels – per ounce is 762 mg
- Squid – per ounce is 470 mg
Vegan Omega 3 Foods
- Walnuts – ¼ cup contains 2,664 mg of omega 3
- Chia Seeds – 1 tablespoon has 2,457 mg
- Ground Flaxseed – 1 tablespoon has 1,597 mg
- Hemp Seeds – 1 tablespoon is 1,000 mg
- Soybean Oil – 1 tablespoon is 950 mg
- Red Lentils – 1 cup has 480 mg
- Wild Rice – ½ cup uncooked contains 240 mg
- Purslane – Per ½ cup is 300 mg
- Winter Squash – One cup baked has 332 mg
- Mustard Seed – One tablespoon is 230 mg
- Spinach – ½ cup cooked is 352 mg
- Firm Tofu – 3-ounce serving has 814 mg
- Brussels Sprouts – per cup cooked is 270 mg
- Cauliflower – per cup cooked is 208 mg
- Kale – per cup cooked is 163 mg
- Broccoli – per cup cooked is 151 mg
You can get so much omega 3 benefits from the foods listed above. If you are omega 3 deficient, your doctor may prescribe supplements that you can take daily. However, it is still much recommended to get your omega 3 from healthy natural food sources. If you are into vegan omega 3 diets, make sure to eat more of them in order to get the same effects as their animal-based counterparts.