Most of us are aware that omega 3 benefits our health. But why and how?
Let's start at the beginning. Every cell in our body contains fats. Some of these are produced by our bodies, but some aren’t and have to be obtained from our diet.
These are called ‘essential’ fatty acids aka the good fats, and the omega 3 family belongs to this category. Omega 3s have been scientifically proven to have numerous health benefits and treat a range of conditions.
The bottom line is, if you don’t eat enough omega 3 containing foods, your body cannot do all the things it is programmed to do, and things start to go wrong.
Read on to find out more about the omega 3 benefits and top food sources of omega 3.
Top 4 omega 3 benefits
There are many claimed omega 3 benefits, and a number of these have been backed by science. Here are some of the main benefits which have been scientifically proven (ref healthline.com).
1. Fights depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are rife in our communities and we are quick to blame our busy schedules and daily pressures. But it appears there are a number of reasons why we are feeling a little bluer than past generations. Our moods are regulated by the chemicals within our bodies and if something is out of balance our mood can be affected. As mentioned, our bodies rely on good fats like omegas to send and receive important signals. A dietary deficiency can wreak all sorts of havoc both physically and mentally. Health experts around the world agree that the modern diet is critically low in omega 3 fatty acids. Studies indicate that people who consume omega 3s regularly are less likely to experience depression or anxiety.
2. Reduces symptoms of ADHD in children
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an increasingly common behavioural disorder characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. Studies have observed that children with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega 3 than children without the disorder. Additional studies have demonstrated that omega 3 supplements can reduce symptoms of ADHD.
3. Inflammation fighter
Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to infection and injury. However it becomes a problem when it persists for a long time, such as with rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic inflammation can contribute to a wide range of illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Studies have shown a connection between omega 3 intake and reduced inflammation.
4. Autoimmune diseases
Like chronic inflammation, auto-immune diseases occur when the body attacks healthy cells by mistake. Examples include Type 1 diabetes, lupus, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. Omega 3s have been shown to help treat these conditions. There are a range of other conditions that omega 3 has been shown to improve including joint pain, mental decline and Alzheimer’s, menstrual pain, sleep conditions, skin conditions, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and eye health.
You need good fats in your diet
The take home message is that you NEED omega 3 and other good fats in your diet to maintain health. Omega 3 benefits both your body and mind and deficiency can lead to a range of conditions affecting your health and wellbeing. Please be aware that too much omega 3 can have side effects, so take care when using supplements. The best way to get omega 3 and other good fats into your diet is through eating a range of foods containing these fats.
Best sources of omega 3The best sources of omega 3s come from nuts, seeds and oily fish. Be careful with vegetable oils, as some contain a high amount of omega 6, which can cause inflammation rather than reduce it. Here are our top sources of omega 3 that also contain a healthy omega 6:3 ratio:
- Flaxseed oil and flax seeds
- Hemp seed oil and hemp hearts
- Chia seed
- Shellfish (Oysters)
Fish and seafood can be expensive and don't fit into every diet. Flax and hemp seed oil offer an easy way to get omega 3 into your diet DAILY. We recommend Hemp Seed Oil as it has the perfect ratio of omega 6:3, tastes great, and has the added benefit of containing natural terpenes and cannabinoids which further help to stimulate your endocannabinoid system. Hemp seed oil is easy to incorporate into your diet. Use it as a salad dressing, drizzle on pasta dishes, or simply take a tablespoon every day to ensure you are getting your daily requirements of good fats. Hemp Hearts are also a great source of omega 3 and are easy to incorporate into every meal. They also contain high quality plant-based protein and a range of vitamins and minerals.
Remember, the best thing you can do for your body is eat a wide range of whole foods, including seeds, nuts, fruit and vegetables.