If you don’t have Omega 3 fats in your diet you might want to think again. Omega 3 fats are polyunsaturated essential fats that have a number of health benefits. The reason they are essential is because the body cannot make Omega 3s from scratch like other fats and the only way to obtain them is from food.
Omega 3s are so special because they are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. Every single cell inside the body needs to be able to receive signals to know what to do next for optimal body function. Omega 3s are the building blocks of many hormones, they regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls and they are essential to keep inflammation under control. The latter two are something to take into account considering their involvement in serious COVID-19 cases.
Omega 3 fats have shown in studies to prevent heart disease and stroke, control eczema and arthritis, and help to protect us from various forms of cancer. Omega 3 fats can also help to balance female hormones, they contribute to blood sugar control (less sugar cravings, hunger and weight gain), and increase HDL the health-promoting form of cholesterol.
The 3 main Omega 3s are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in oily fish and alpha linolenic acid (ALA) the most common, found in nuts, flax seeds, leafy vegetables, grass-fed animal fats. ALA is more often used for energy and the conversion process inside the body to EPA and DHA isn’t so efficient so it’s not considered the best source.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are liquid at room temperature and should not ever be heated because they oxidise and become damaging to the body and are associated with unhealthy, small particle-sized LDL cholesterol and heart disease. Omega 3 is found in wild-caught oily fish (SMASH: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring have the least toxins), walnuts (shaped like a brain – wonder why?!), grass-fed meats, chia, sunflower, flax and sesame seeds. Aim for 2 portions of fish per week. If you don’t eat fish a supplement may be the way to go to ensure you include these vital nutrients in your eating regime. Always check with your doctor/NT before starting a new supplement, especially if you are on medication.
Omega 3 recipe:
Steamed wild Alaskan salmon with Cajun spice, a tbspn of crème fraiche, sweet potato mash with spring onion and steamed green vegetables – enjoy!