What is Omega-3 and why is it important?
First, it is a fat. The good type of fat. The “omega” is simply a way organic chemists name the long string of carbon atoms. At one end is a carboxylic acid molecule (called alpha) and a methyl at the other end (called omega).
Omega-3 fatty acids are often compared with Omega-6 fatty acids.
Because of our dependency on fast foods, most people consume too much Omega-6. This can increase inflammation, produce depression and lead to many types of health issues.
Our bodies do not produce omega-3 fatty acids. The only way to get them is through our diet. Eat fish (salmon, halibut, tuna), walnuts, flax seeds, beans, olive oil and fish oil supplements.
The physical and mental health benefits linked with omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Increased brain function. Studies have looked at children whose mother’s increased omega-3 intake during pregnancy. By age four, these children scored higher on cognitive ability tests. In adults, omega-3 improves memory, focus and recall.
- Better mental health. Increasing omega-3 helps with the symptoms of depression, ADHD and other brain chemistry-related conditions. Research suggests that low levels of omega-3 are common in ADHD and depression.
- Reduced inflammation. This is of benefit to those suffering from arthritis or other painful condition. Inflammation has been linked to heart disease. It also reduces bad (LDL) and raises good (HDL) cholesterol. Plus, it lowers blood pressure along with risk of stroke and heart attack.
There are other studies too. Some show the benefits of omega-3 on cancer, bone loss, diabetes and other disorders.
Many of the benefits of omega-3 are well documented. But as with any health benefit there is no “magic pill” or supplement that can do it all. It requires a combination of things. Healthy eating, exercise, proper rest and the right kinds and amounts of vitamins and minerals. Plus, a nervous system free of interference so every organ and tissue and function properly.
So eat more fish, olives, flax seed and nuts, stay active and make sure we see you for regular chiropractic checkups!