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11 health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for your heart, brain and more

Did you know that the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include promoting eye, brain, and heart health? If not, read on to learn 11 reasons why you should consume these healthy fats.
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Omega-3 should be a part of your daily diet! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 6 Jan 2024, 01:30 pm IST
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Calcium is crucial for strong bones, protein supports growth and development, and carbohydrates provide energy. In addition to these essential nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids are vital for survival. Omega-3s are powerful healthy fats that play a key role in cell structure, energy, and maintaining the proper function of your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system. Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that contributes to overall good health. Since they are essential for your health and your body can’t produce them, omega-3s should be a part of your diet. Read on to learn all the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and where you can get them.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats crucial for maintaining optimal health. They play a vital role in various bodily functions, particularly in the development and function of the brain, heart, and immune system. There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Deepika Jayaswal, a consultant dietitian and nutritionist, says, “ALA is primarily found in plant-based sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. However, the body has limited ability to convert ALA into EPA and DHA, making direct consumption of EPA and DHA-rich foods or supplements is important. EPA and DHA are abundant in fish oil and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in algae-based supplements.”

Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

1. Promotes heart health

Omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA, are known to reduce triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood associated with an increased risk of heart disease. They help lower blood pressure by improving arterial function and reducing inflammation in blood vessels. Additionally, they help prevent the formation of blood clots, which collectively lowers the risk of heart disease.

2. Supports brain function

DHA, a crucial component of the brain’s cell membranes, is particularly responsible for memory and cognitive function. A study published by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute found that omega 3 is associated with better mental health performance. It suggests that maintaining optimal DHA levels through omega-3 consumption may contribute to a lower risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders.

3. Anti-inflammatory properties

Chronic inflammation is linked to various diseases, including heart disease and arthritis. Omega-3s, especially EPA, have anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for managing inflammation and autoimmune disease.

Omega 3
Consume omega-3 foods to keep your inflammatory problems in check!. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Good for joint health

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s are beneficial for your joints. It helps provide relief for those with inflammatory joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and other joint-related conditions. These fatty acids may reduce stiffness and pain, especially during the winter, improving overall joint function.

Also read: Beware of these side effects of omega-3 fatty acids

5. Reduces eye disease risk

Omega 3 fatty acids may offer the most benefits to your eye health. A study published by Nutrients found that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids provide long-term benefits for several chronic ocular conditions, including dry eye disease, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

6. Improves sleep cycle

Sleep deprivation is linked to several diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and depression. Incorporating omega-3-rich foods may contribute to better sleep quality and duration. It has been found that omega-3 plays a role in the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep.

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7. Skin benefits

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for the skin. They help regulate the skin’s oil production and prevent dehydration. These functions not only minimise the risk of premature ageing and breakout but also manage inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.

clear skin
Say hello to clear skin with omega-3 fatty acids. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

8. Regulates mood

In a study published in the Global Health Journal, dietary deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids were found to be linked to an increased risk of developing various psychiatric disorders. In particular, EPA and DHA have been linked to better mental health and may reduce the risk of depression and other mood-related problems.

9. Helps in weight management

One of the various health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is weight management. They may help with it by promoting fat loss, particularly abdominal fat. Additionally, they help regulate appetite and reduce inflammation, contributing to an overall healthier body composition.

Also read: Omega-3 deficiency: 5 signs you should be aware of

10. Boosts immune system

Apart from benefiting the eye, heart, and brain, omega-3s contribute to a robust immune system by enhancing the function of immune cells. They help regulate inflammation and support the body’s defense mechanisms, helping in the prevention of infections and diseases.

weak immunity
Keep a check on your immunity during the winter. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

11. Cancer prevention

While research on omega-3s and cancer prevention is ongoing, a study published by Breast Cancer Research suggests a potential protective effect against certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.

So make sure your daily omega-3 fatty acid intake is on track to keep diseases at bay!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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