omega-3:The notion that fat is bad has long been outdated. Fats are just as important for the normal functioning of the body as proteins and carbohydrates. The absence of any of these ingredients can lead to serious health problems. However, fats are different and not all are equally beneficial. Understanding what you need to know about omega-3 fatty acids and their effects on the body.
Good For The Heart, Helps The Brain: Why You Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The notion that fat is bad has long been outdated. Fats are just as important for the normal functioning of the body as proteins and carbohydrates. The absence of any of these ingredients can lead to serious health problems. However, fats are different and not all are equally beneficial. Understanding what you need to know about omega-3 fatty acids and their effects on the body.
Fats, which contain a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids, are considered especially useful. Saturated fatty acids differ from unsaturated ones in their structure: in saturated acids, there are single bonds between atoms, and in unsaturated ones, these bonds are double. Consuming large amounts of saturated fatty acids is not recommended – this can lead to high blood cholesterol levels and an increased risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack. Unsaturated fatty acids are good for the heart and are considered an important part of a healthy diet.
Perhaps the most famous of these types of acids are omega-3 fatty acids. Our body is not able to synthesize them, and therefore it is very important that these acids come from food. Most of these acids are found in oily marine fish and seafood, as well as in cod liver, olive oil, soybeans and products from it.
Why Do We Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids In The Body?
These acids are an important component of cell membranes, fight inflammation, and in addition, their presence in the body is beneficial for the functioning of the heart, blood vessels and the nervous system.
Back in the 1980s, it was discovered that Greenlanders who ate a lot of saltwater fish were less likely to experience cardiovascular disease. A similar pattern was observed in other countries, whose residents ate fish several times a week, for example, in Japan and the Netherlands.
Further studies confirmed the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for the heart and blood vessels: they can reduce the risk of thrombosis, reduce the level of triglycerides in the blood and inhibit the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, prevent the development of arrhythmias, and reduce blood pressure. Those who had enough of these fatty acids in their diets were less likely to develop heart attacks, strokes, coronary heart disease, and other serious heart problems.
But the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are not limited to supporting the work of the heart and blood vessels. They are also important for the normal functioning of the nervous system – good memory, ability to concentrate, and find solutions for a variety of problems. Scientists have found that a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet significantly reduces cognitive functions, affects learning and memory. Fortunately, some of the effects associated with a lack of omega-3 fatty acids in the body are reversible when switching to a diet supplemented with these acids.
What If There Is Not Enough Omega-3 In The Body?
Experts from the World Health Organization urge to adhere to a proper and healthy diet: eat fish and seafood at least three times a week, and do not forget about olive oil.
Not everyone succeeds in this. The level of consumption of omega-3 fatty acids in Russia is quite low – both children and adults eat little sea fish and seafood, and scientists speak of a deficiency in omega-3 intake. However, studies show that even one serving of fish per week is better than no fish at all – it can help reduce the risk of developing heart problems and dying from them by as much as 16%.
Despite the obvious benefits, not everyone is ready to eat fish even once a week. There are many reasons for this – someone is allergic to fish and seafood, someone simply does not like fish and is not going to include it in their diet under any circumstances.
In this case, vitamins and supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids will come to the rescue. Fish oil, well known to us from childhood, is also included in this list, but it is worth knowing that it is obtained from the liver of fish, and therefore, in addition to useful components, such dietary supplements can also contain quite harmful toxins. In addition, the acids present in fish oil have low bioavailability.
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