The Amazing Health Benefits Of Omega-3 Fats
Omega 3 fats got quite a lot of media coverage in recent years and I'm sure you already read or heard on or the other story about them. But the question is, can they really deliver what they promise? Are omega 3 fats some kind of miracle medicine or is all just media hype?
Actually, none of both is true. Please don't expect omega 3's to be a universal cure for each and every ailment. On the other hand, it's not all hype neither. There actually is overwhelming scientific proof for the numerous health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids and we will talk about them in a minute.
But first, what are omega 3 fats anyway?
Omega 3 fatty acids belong to the group of essential fats, which means they cannot be produced by the body and have to be provided from external sources.
There are actually 3 important types of omega 3 fats:
* Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
* Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
* Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
ALA can be obtained from the following sources: Flaxseed oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables and others. The richest source of EPA and DHA is fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines.
The body converts ALA into EPA and DHA. However, older people and people suffering from diabetes or schizophrenia may lack the ability to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. In these cases it's more advisable to obtain omega 3 fatty acids from sources that are rich in EPA and DHA.
As I already mentioned, the best source of EPA and DHA is fatty fish, but you can also take omega 3 fish oil supplements if you don't like the taste of fish or if you need increased amounts of omega 3 fatty acids.
The numerous health benefits of omega 3's
It all started back in the 70's, when researchers discovered that Eskimos showed a surprisingly low rate of cardiovascular diseases although they had a very fat-rich diet due to their high consumption of fish.
The common logic was: Eskimos are overweight and their should be more incidences of heart disease, but there were not. Why? Scientists concluded that it must be because of their diet, which is very rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Over the years, these initial assumptions have been confirmed by thousands of studies carried out all over the world. And not only did they confirm the positive effects of omega 3's on cardiovascular diseases, they also discovered numerous other health benefits.
Today we know that Omega 3 fatty acids can help to prevent- and reduce the risk of numerous diseases and that they may also beneficial in the treatment of these diseases.
Here is a list of some of these health benefits provided by omega 3 fatty acids:
* Omega 3's tend to lower cholesterol levels.
* They help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
* They help to control high blood pressure.
* Omega-3 fatty acids seem to limit the inflammatory reaction associated with lupus.
* They also help to control constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticular disorders.
* Omega 3 fats may even help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, like breast-, colon-, and prostate cancer.
* Omega 3's proofed to be beneficial for the brain development.
* They lower the risk of depression and showed positive effects in the treatment of patients suffering from depression.
* Omega 3 appears to lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
* Omega 3 might be used as a possible treatment for patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
* Studies also found that EPA might prevent the development of asthma.
* Research points out that omega 3's might reverse atherosclerosis.
* Omega 3 fats proved to be beneficial for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
This is quite an impressive list and it should motivate you to increase your intake of healthy omega 3's if your current diet lacks them. The recommended daily dosages of EPA and DHA is ~ 650 mg and you can obtain these amounts either with a balanced diet containing some of the nutrients I mentioned above, or by supplementing your diet with omega 3 fish oil capsules.
If you suffer from any of the conditions described above, I strongly recommend you get professional advice from a physician. Your doctor knows best what kind of medication you need and if taking omega 3 supplements would be beneficial in your case.
About the Author: Omega-3 Health Benefits - Tons of great tips and resources on everything around omega 3. Find out about the health benefits of omega-3, how you can loose weight with omega-3, which foods are rich in omega-3 and much more.