Last updated on April 9th, 2022
Omega 3 works just great in lowering the risk of heart ailments and stroke. These healthy fats can be easily added to anything ranging from peanut butter to eggs. Also, other natural sources of omega 3 can be fish, like salmon and tuna. Various types of omega 3s can be EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The adequate consumption of this omega-3s for adults is recommended as 1600 milligrams for males and 1100 milligrams for females. Roughly 450 mg omega-3 is present in a 6-ounce can of tuna and 600 mg in 3 ounces of salmon. Few prepared foods deliver 100 mg or more. Read this blog to know the benefits of omega 3 fatty acid foods and its role in overall health development.
What is Omega 3 Fatty Acid?
Omega 3 fatty acids are those forms of fat that the body cannot synthesize on its own. These are essential fats that indicate their requirements for the survival of the person. Omega 3s are obtained from the foods any person eats. These fatty acids exert several benefits on the body and brain.
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Various types of omega 3s are present in varied foods. The major ones are:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid): It is indispensable for maintaining good health, but it can’t be synthesized by the body. Thus, it can be obtained from the foods that are eaten. ALA is commonly found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid): These types of fatty acids play a key role in keeping the heart healthy and maintaining proper blood circulation.
Oily fish, like mackerel, sardines, or salmon are the known sources of EPA and DHA. Shellfish and white fish consist of a few omega 3s but in little amounts.
Where Do We Get Omega 3 From?
Fish is the best source of omega 3 fatty acids. Also, these can be obtained from plants. High amounts of omega 3 occur in algae, fatty fish, algae, or numerous high-fat plant omega 3 foods.
What Makes Omega 3s Special?
Omega 3s is an integral part of cell membranes present all over the body. These exert an impact on the function of the cell receptors present in these membranes. Omega 3 fats are the preliminary point for manufacturing hormones that control the processes of blood clotting, arterial walls relaxation, and contraction, as well as inflammation. In addition, they bind to the cell receptors responsible for the regulation of gene function. Because of these effects, EPA and DHA foods have been found to aid in preventing and managing heart ailments and stroke, also is of great help in controlling eczema, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, and also play a vital role in cancer and other conditions.
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How Does Omega 3 Fatty Acid Rich Foods Affect Health?
It is found in the studies that omega 3 fatty acids play a great role in improving cardiovascular health. The entire research revolves around EPA and DHA, but ALA is also seen to improve health. What is omega 3 good for? Omega 3 health effects may include:
- Lowered risk of blood clotting as omega 3s assist in preventing the clumping together of the blood platelets.
- Lowered risk of death if any person has some cardiovascular disorder.
- Reduced triglyceride levels by delaying their production rate in the liver. Raised triglycerides in the blood enhance the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Lowered risk of sudden cardiac death resulting from an irregular heart rhythm.
- Keeping the arterial lining smooth and damage-free may produce thick or hard arteries. This prevents the formation of plaque in the arteries.
- Lowered risk of heart problems.
- Less inflammation. Omega 3s is thought to slow down the production of chemicals that are released during an inflammatory response.
Also, omega 3 nutritional benefits include:
- Increase the levels of HDL or good cholesterol.
- Reduce blood pressure. Individuals who consume fish are expected to have lower blood pressure as compared to those who don’t.
Omega 3 Fats and Diabetes
It’s a fact that omega-3 fatty acids help people to control their body weight and in turn, their levels of blood glucose remain controlled. For this reason, experts propose to include omega 3 fats in the healthy diet as omega 3 increases blood sugar.
For instance, fish oil supplements, which consist of omega 3s, are fundamental in shrinking a person’s waistline. These work best when combined with other healthy lifestyle modifications like physical activity and caloric restriction. Omega 3 foods help the heart to remain healthy, which is very vital if a person is diabetic. This is because the person is at increased risk for a heart disorder.
It is recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that the omega intake in females must be 1.1 grams each day, and in males, the limit is slightly more i.e. 1.6 grams each day.
List of Foods High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds (5,060 mg per serving)
Chia seeds are unbelievably nourishing. They are packed with magnesium, manganese, selenium, and many other nutrients. Does chia have omega 3? Yes.. One standard 1-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds is composed of 5 grams of protein (with all 8 essential amino acids). Omega 3 content in chia seeds is 5,060 mg per ounce (28 grams).
As per research studies, chia seeds lowered down the participants’ blood sugar levels in the 2 hours after they had their meals. Chia seeds convert glucose into a slow-release carb, because of their higher viscosity. It was also observed that the intake of chia seeds lowered their desire to eat. And which is a good sign for weight-loss success. As per a study, diabetics who were on a calorie-restricted diet and had 30 grams of chia per 1,000 calories on a daily basis for 6 months lost more weight as compared to the ones who didn’t consume them.
Salmon (4,123 mg per serving)
Salmon is quite nutrient-dense as it comprises high-quality proteins and a complete range of nutrients. These nutrients can be vitamin B complex, vitamin D, selenium, and others. Research studies have found that people who frequently consume fatty fish, like salmon, are at a reduced risk of ailments such as dementia, cardiovascular diseases, or depression. Omega 3 content in salmon is equal to 4,123 mg in half a fillet of cooked salmon, or 2,260 mg in 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Loading up on these healthy fats may also reduce diabetes-related side effects, such as diabetic retinopathy. As per a research study, when a person ate 500 mg of omega 3s per day, the risk of eye disorder greatly lessened among people with type 2 diabetes.
Mackerel (4,107 mg per serving)
Mackerel is a small, fatty fish incredibly rich in nutrients. This fish is quite delicious and little preparation is required. Omega 3s content in this fish is 4,107 mg in 1 piece of salted mackerel, or 5,134 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Sardines (2,205 mg per serving)
Sardine is a very small, oily fish commonly used as a starter, or a snack. It’s extremely nutritious, particularly when whole fish is consumed. It comprises almost every nutrient any person’s body requires. Omega 3 content in sardines is 2,205 mg per cup (149 grams), or 1,480 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Cod liver oil (2,682 mg per serving)
Cod liver oil is nowadays used more as a supplement than a food. It is the oil extracted from the livers of codfish. In addition, to being rich in omega 3 fatty acids, the oil is also loaded with vitamins D and A. Thus, consuming just 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil relaxes any person’s requirements and is equal to the gain from 3 amazingly vital nutrients. On the other hand, it’s advised not to take more than 1 tablespoon at a time, as an excess of vitamin A can be detrimental. Omega 3s content in cod liver oil is 2,682 mg per tablespoon.
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Walnuts (2,570 mg per serving)
Walnut is very nourishing and is full of fiber. Also, high amounts of vitamin E, copper, manganese, and other vital phytochemicals are present in walnuts making them a nutrient-dense superfood. The point to note is that the skin of walnut must not be removed, as it packs most of its phenol antioxidants, which provide health benefits. Omega 3s content in walnuts is 2,570 mg per ounce (28 grams), or about 14 walnut halves.
Walnuts also are very helpful in weight management and are a plus for diabetics because the disease is associated with unhealthful body weights. According to various research studies, people with type 2 diabetes who consumed walnuts had a significant reduction in appetite, and fewer feelings of hunger were noticed.
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Flax seeds (2,350 mg per serving)
Flax seeds are small brown or yellow seeds. These seeds are the richest whole-food source of omega 3 fatty acid i.e., alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Thus, flaxseed oil can be seldom used as effectual omega 3 supplements. In addition, they are a good source of magnesium, fiber, and other nutrients. Omega 3 content in flax seeds is 2,350 mg per tablespoon (10.3 grams) of whole seeds or 7,260 mg per tablespoon (13.6 grams) of oil.
Soybeans (1,241 mg per serving)
Soybeans are a good source of fiber, nutrients like vitamin K, folate, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, as well as vegetable protein. However, soybeans are also a rich source of omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3s content in soybeans is 670 mg in half cup (47 grams) of dry roasted soybeans, or 1,443 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Caviar (1,086 mg per serving)
Caviar contains fish eggs or roe. Extensively popular as a lavish food item, caviar is mostly used in small amounts as a garnish, starter, or taster. It is a well-known source of choline and omega 3 fats. Omega 3 content in this caviar is 1,086 mg per tablespoon (14.3 grams), or 6,786 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Oysters (370 mg per serving)
Shellfish is one of the most healthful foods any person can eat. Indeed, oysters are composed of more zinc as compared to any other food on the planet. It also contains a rich amount of copper and vitamin B12. This fish can be consumed as an appetizer, snack, or whole meal. Omega 3 content in oysters is 370 mg in 6 raw oysters, or 435 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
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How Much is Too Much?
Some fish comprise small quantities of chemicals or metals that can be damaging if a person eats lots of fish. Generally, it’s safe to include 4 portions of oily fish in the diet per week. Sharks, swordfish, or marlin comprise mercury. It’s better to consume no more than 1 portion of this per week. If the female is pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or a lactating mother, then she must not eat more than 2 portions of oily fish per week. Do not eat shark, marlin, and swordfish in combination.
Omega 3 Fats From Supplements
Nutrients are best obtained from foods than supplements. This is because the foods comprise a whole range of varied nutrients which work towards improving the person’s health in different ways. But supplements are composed of specific nutrients only.
If any person opts for refilling the Omega 3s by using the OTC supplements, follow these golden rules.
- Fish oil or an omega 3 supplement must be selected.
- About 500mg of EPA and DHA per day in combination is safe.
- It’s suggested not to choose fish liver oils, as they have less Omega 3 as compared to fish oils and an excess of vitamin A.
- For a pregnant or breastfeeding female, it’s better to avoid supplements containing vitamin A (or, retinol) on the whole. Beta carotene (a type of vitamin A is known to be safe for pregnant females).
- If the person is a vegan or vegetarian, he or she can take marine oils made from algae.
Does omega 3 increase weight?
Omega 3 helps in weight loss. Omega 3s are highly suggested for individuals who wish to lose weight but too much intake may demonstrate an opposite outcome. Fish oil also contains high amounts of fats, calories, thus, an excess of it can enhance your metabolic weight.
Can fish oil have an effect on your kidneys?
Consuming fish oil orally for two to four years can delay the loss of kidney function in high-risk patients with a kidney condition called nephropathy.
Do omega 3 fats have side effects?
Omega 3s side effects are generally mild. They can involve headaches, unpleasant taste, bad-smelling sweat, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, and loose stools. Many studies have also associated higher blood levels of long-chain omega-3s with greater risks of prostate cancer.
Is it bad to consume omega 3 fatty acids foods every day?
As per the NIH, the maximum recommended limit of omega 3 is 3 grams per day of DHA and EPA in combination. High doses of these fats can enhance the bleeding time.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.