The role of omega 3 foods

Omega 3 is a term that is widely used but not always fully understood. Omega 3 fatty acids are one of two groups of polyunsaturated fat which are also ‘good’ fats. Our bodies cannot produce omega 3 and omega 6 so we have to rely upon ingesting them as part of our food intake.

Omega 3 exists in 3 forms: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

There is a great deal of information about both omega-3’s and omega-6 and their health benefits although it is still open to debate.

Proponents of omega 3’s claim that it can reduce your risk of heart disease as well as anti-inflammatory benefits (ease aching joints). They also argue that this long chain fatty acid can aid with the development of brain tissue in the unborn child and can even increase your child’s intelligence.

Considering that one of these sources is oily fish and we have been told that fish is ‘brain food’ then this argument makes sense.

However, opponents of these claims state that there is insufficient evidence to suggest this and in fact, there are increased risks from consuming large amounts of fish oils.

Fish oils are one way of ensuring that you get your daily dose of omega 3’s but you may only be getting around 50% of these whereas natural sources, such as flaxseed, account for at least 90% absorption.

And you can consume too many fish oils. You may be tempted to think more is better but there is a risk of bruising or bleeding if you do. Not to mention the fact that they cause an unpleasant body odour.

Heart Health Guide Index:

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