Plant-based Nutrition, Supplements

15 Surprising Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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“I have stopped all fat intake in my diet.” Sounds familiar?

At some point, you might have heard your health-conscious friend or colleague tell you about their diet. Of course, fats are the wealthiest energy source in the food chain, and yes, excess intake of anything can be harmful. But, did you know there is something called good fats and bad fats? And, it turns out, Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the good guys. 

Did you know, our bodies do not make Omega-3 fatty acids? However, they are essential for our health. So, however you wish to cut down on your fat intake, Omega-3 fatty acids need to be a part of your diet.

What do you know about Omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega 3 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fats. These fall under ‘essential fats’, also known as ‘good fats’. They serve as building blocks for cell membranes and also store energy for the body. In addition, they provide energy for the muscles, heart, and other organs. Fatty acids that are not used up as energy are converted into triglycerides and stored in the body as fat tissue.

Let us look at these 15 incredible benefits of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are backed by scientific studies and research.

1. Keep heart diseases at bay.

Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. They are also known to slow plaque build-up, a substance comprising fat, cholesterol, and calcium, which hardens and blocks your arteries. 

Studies show that ALA, DHA (types of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish) and EPA (type of Omega-3 fatty acid acquired from blue-green algae, Spirulina) reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They also help lower your risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, reduces triglycerides, and manages blood pressure.

2. Healthy brain- a treasured wealth.

Did you know, 60 per cent of the brain is made of fat, and the fats you eat, affect the composition of your brain. For example, if you consume high amounts of processed oils or partially hydrogenated fats found in fast food, the membranes of your neurons lose their fluidity and flexibility and become less efficient at their functions. 

Omega-3, especially DHA, is vital to brain function as it helps reduce brain inflammation and prevent degeneration. Healthy communication between neurons in the brain means better brain function, mood, memory, and overall health.

3. Strengthen your eyesight.

Did you know DHA- a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, is a component of our retina. And, Omega-3 fatty acids help in improving your visual acuity along with your brain health. 

Recent studies also show that Omega-3 may help protect adults from dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration- a condition where eyesight degenerates as you age. These essential fatty acids also may help proper drainage of intraocular fluid from the eye. It may also help decrease the risk of high eye pressure and glaucoma.

4. Relieve your joints from pain.

Inflammation is one of the most common causes of joint and knee pain. If this inflammation is prolonged, it can lead to inflammatory arthritis, which causes pain in the joints and surrounding tissues, swelling and tenderness, warmth in the affected areas, joint stiffness – particularly in the morning. 

Omega-3 fatty acids provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. A 2012 review of the scientific literature concluded that people who regularly consumed. Omega-3 supplements had briefer morning stiffness, less joint swelling and pain reduced tenderness in joints and less need for anti-inflammatory drugs to control their symptoms.

5. Enhance your skin’s health.

Omega-3 soothes and hydrates the skin by sealing the moisture and improving skin barrier function. It also keeps the irritants out to make the skin better and smoother.

In a study conducted in 2018, women who consumed around 1000mg of Omega-3 rich flaxseed supplements experienced a 39% increase in skin hydration after 12 weeks. Their skin was also smoother and sensitive than that of those in a placebo group.

6. Prevent Chronic Inflammation.

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to an infection or damage. In such situations, inflammation is crucial as it helps prevent any further damage to your body. But, when this inflammation lasts for an abnormally long time, it results in chronic inflammation. This eventually leads to severe complications and could include chronic illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. 

Omega- 3 fatty acids are known to have notable effects against inflammation. Eicosanoids and cytokines are two molecules that cause inflammation in our bodies. Omega-3 helps reduce the production of these substances, which in turn reduces inflammation.

7. Reduce Metabolic Syndromes.

Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart diseases and other health problems. These metabolic factors include – obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and cholesterol abnormalities.

According to research, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) promote weight loss, insulin sensitivity, reduce the incidence of type-2 diabetes, reduces blood pressure, and supports regulation of cholesterol.

8. Don’t risk a fatty liver.

Have you heard of NAFLD? A build-up of fat causes Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in the liver in the absence of alcohol consumption (non-heavy drinkers). If left untreated, it can lead to scarring of the liver (fibrosis), inflammation and can ultimately lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.

A meta-analysis indicated that Omega-3 fatty acid supplements significantly decreased the amount of liver fat and reduced inflammation. In addition, people who achieved high levels of omega-3 in their blood had better liver insulin sensitivity and liver fat metabolism at the end of the study, indicating improved liver functionality.

9. Steer clear from Autoimmune Diseases.

In the case of autoimmune diseases, your immune system assumes that the healthy cells in your system are foreign and thus attacks them. Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of autoimmune disease.

Of all the fatty acids, the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have the most significant effect on the immune system and the inflammatory response. New research suggests that omega-3s can help to improve symptoms in several autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Multiple sclerosis, to name a few. Omega-3 supplementation has been proven effective against some of these conditions, especially during their initial stages.

10. A good night’s sleep means a sound mind.

Good health and lifestyle are to a great extent related to a good night’s sleep. Not getting the required amount of sleep can lead to many serious issues such as obesity, diabetes, and sometimes depression. Low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in your body can also disrupt your sleep cycle. 

Related Post: Natural Sleep Supplements to manage Insomnia and Sleep Disorder

11. A helping hand to deal with Anxiety.

Today, with a fast-paced urban lifestyle, anxiety is common amongst people. But, it often goes undiagnosed. A constant state of worry, nervousness is what points towards an anxious individual. But, unfortunately, we often tend to dismiss these symptoms, which may lead to depression. 

Studies indicate that people who regularly consume omega-3 fatty acids through their diet and supplements are less likely to develop anxiety or fall into depression.

12. Improves your mental health.

Along with benefits to your health physically, Omega-3 fatty acids are now well recognised to have benefits that can improve your mental health. Recent studies indicate a direct association between depression and low dietary intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Incorporating your supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids may help you improve your mental wellness, mood swings with better emotional health.

13. Omega-3 May Delay Mental Disorders & Cognitive Decline

The truth is that ageing in humans, stress, inflammation, insulin resistance, arterial dysfunction, obesity, poor nutrition, and loneliness might increase cognitive decline.

What is a Cognitive Decline, and how to resolve it?

Cognitive decline, also known as cognitive impairment, means a person has trouble remembering, learning, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Your lifestyle and diet can treat cognitive decline effectively. Fibre, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help.

The decline in brain functioning can be delayed or, in some cases, prevented. It is observed that high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent various age-related mental disorders. Regular supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids, when started at an early age, can delay and even prevent a decline in brain functioning.

14. Help with Asthma Symptoms.

Asthma- a chronic lung disease caused due to inflammation or swelling in the airways of the lungs. The most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

Studies reveal that Omega-3 fatty acids could reduce inflammation caused in the airways. Thus, Omega-3s also helps in enhancing lung functions and combating the symptoms of asthma-like coughing, wheezing, sneezing, etc. 

A report at Indiana University proved that taking omega-3 every day might improve lung function and reduce asthma symptoms such as wheezing and coughing.

15. Say BYE to painful Menstrual Cramps.

The menstrual cycle causes the body to be inflamed, which gives rise to menstrual pain. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and thus help relieve and reduce menstrual pain in the longer run.

According to a recent study, omega-3 helped lower menstrual pain by 30%. Studies have also repeatedly proven that women who regularly consume Omega-3s have less menstrual pain. In addition, Omega-3 supplements have proven to be more effective than ibuprofen in treating severe pain during menstruation.

The Bottom Line.

Omega-3 fatty acids are your friend, and little effort to incorporate them into your everyday diet can do wonders for your health. If you prefer the consumption of fish and other seafood, they are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, if you are a vegetarian or follow a vegan diet, you can resort to plant-based sources of Omega-3 like flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, etc. Walnuts are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids as they can easily mingle with any kind of diet, as they are vegan.

Another great way to increase your Omega-3 fatty acid requirements is through supplements, and this is where we come into the picture.  

Check out our Omega 3 6 9- Vegetarian Flaxseed Extract for more information.