Over the last two decades, a growing awareness of the health benefits of a group of nutritional substances called Omega 3 fatty acids has been noted. Although the role of omega 3 has been recognized in normal health and growth since before mid-20th century, knowledge and understanding of just how important this substances is has increased dramatically.
The Omega 3 group numbers ten of the poly-unsaturated fatty acids. A diet that is rich in these acids is believed to lower triglycerides and increase the good type of cholesterol (HDL). The major source of these fatty acids is fish oil. The link to human heart health was first noted in studies of the Inuit Indians of Greenland. Despite a diet high in fat, the natives had a lower than average level of cholesterol in the blood. It is believed that the high level of omega 3 in the heavily fish diet is responsible for the anomaly.
Other reported benefits found from the Inuit study include lower level of cardiovascular disease, fewer heart attacks. The heart rate was benefited, as was the level of triglycerides in the blood. Blood pressures ratings were statistically lower and the incidence of atherosclerosis was lowered.
Because not all the compounds in this group have the same qualities, generalizations about the benefits of the entire family may be too broad in scope. The omega 3 acids have been studied recently individually and researchers are continually finding new possible links and health benefits. Among the findings that are notable, include use as an anticoagulant and lowering of high blood pressure. There is a tentative link to protection against a certain protein’s accumulation in the body. This protein has been associated with the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Young children require at least a small amount of omega 3 to achieve normal growth rates. The amount is quite small at only about one percent of total calories. Circulatory problems such as those people who have varicose veins can improve the blood circulation, help to breakdown the compounds involved in the clotting and scar tissue associated with the condition. A reduction of blood pressure is an important effect.
Supplementation with fatty acid in the omega 3 group may be useful for treating anxiety and depression. When used with either mother’s milk or formula, infants with fish oil added to their diet showed improved immune system maturation.
Food sources for omega 3 in addition to fish oil includes soybeans and tofu. Nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and walnuts are good sources. You can use soybean oil, canola oil and flax seed oil as a cooking oil to receive the benefits. Some eggs are sources of omega 3. If you choose to eat fish, you should include them in your diet at lease twice each week. The best fish sources are herring, sardines, salmon and mackerel – all fatty fish.
Omega Three fatty acids show two beneficial results in cancer patients. They help to maintain muscle mass in patients with cancer. The compounds have also been shown in certain types of cancer to have a cancer fighting benefit. As you can see, Omega three fatty acids have a number of health benefits and their consumption should not be overlooked. You will be much the better for it.