Published: 12/27/2014 - Updated: 03/08/2020
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei, PhD
Did you know that some fats are healthy for the body and that according to studies, they are not commonly included in our diets? One of these fats are polyunsaturated fats, like Omega-3, which is also known as linolenic acid. Consuming it provides countless benefits, from correct brain functioning to controlling diseases, like Alzheimer’s or arthritis.
We do not produce it
It is impossible for our bodies to produce this Omega-3 fatty acid, which is why it must be obtained from foods. It is primarily found in oily fish, like salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, anchovies and tuna.
It is also present in sacha inchi oil, a Peruvian variety of peanut butter. It is composed of 48% Omega-3.
Omega-3 in vegetables
Other varieties from the vegetable world include linseed and pumpkin seeds. Although walnuts contain Omega-3, their high Omega-6 content make it less useful. In order to maintain a healthy balance, it is recommended to combine seeds and nuts or other fruits rich in omega-3. Linseed also stands out, which provides 22 grams of omega-3 in 100 grams of seed.
The following foods make up the list:
Lettuce (omega-3 in the leaves)
Brussels Sprouts (Leaves)
Omega-3 is important in the body for the following processes:
– The creation of cellular membranes.
– The creation of hormones.
– Correct immune system functioning.
– Correct retina formation.
– Neuron functioning and chemical transmitters.
Omega-3 or linolenic acid (AAL) and its metabolites: eicosapentaenoic acid also known as EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, which is DHA, fulfill an important vasodilator functions and also regulate blood vessel walls. They play an important role in development of the nervous system, regulating blood pressure, hormones, some inflammatory reactions, and certain defense mechanisms.
Keeps the heart healthy
Fish oil rich in omega-3, particularly EPA and DHA, benefits the inflammatory and immune response because it plays a part in producing eicosanoids. All this helps prevent future heart attacks.
Omega-3 for children
Specialists indicate the importance of consuming Omega-3, especially for children under 5 years of age. Those who consume it will experience proper brain and neurological development. That’s why currently a lot of milks highlight their high DHA content, a type of Omega-3 which comes from animals.
In this sense, it has been proven that essential fats can help control attention deficit syndrome in children, helping them perform well academically. These fatty acids benefit the brain, which coordinates memory and reasoning abilities.
A diet rich in omega-3 contributes to good mental health in elderly individuals. It acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. It is also recommended in treatments for Alzheimer’s as well as arthritis.
Omega-3 is also important for vision, because it allows the brain to capture images that the subject observes more quickly.
Effect on blood
It is known that ingesting linolenic acid helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels, which are damaging to health. This increases good cholesterol levels which counteracts against triglycerides. It also helps prevent blood clots and controls blood pressure.
Lastly, omega-3 has positive effects on treating mental diseases, like depression, dementia, and schizophrenia.
It is very important that the mother consume foods rich in Omega-3 during pregnancy so that the fetus develops properly. It is known that mothers that incorporate a special amount of this fatty acid in their diets have children with high learning abilities and less vision problems.
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