Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have been in the foray for the past ten years for its numerous health benefits. It’s known to help with fat loss, supports your brain functioning and gives a healthy inflammation training response.
So if you want learn more about this class of superfoods, just read on!
What are Omega-3 fatty acids?
Well, the term omega-3 means it’s a family of essential fatty acids which have an important role in the human body. They aren’t produced in the body, and are obtained only through food or supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated, which means their chemical structure has several double bonds. This thus further divides omega-3 fatty acids into three types:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
While EPA and DHA are primary fatty acids found in supplements and foods like meat and fish, ALA is found in various seeds, vegetables, and seed oils. While the body can only minutely convert EPA and DHA from ALA, you need to try to include more of meat, fish, and supplements like fish oil to your diet to reap its benefits.
Other common foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, flax seeds, fish oils, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Benefits of omega-3s
Lots of studies have been conducted about the benefits of omega-3s, where these four claims have been extensively studied.
- Supports healthy blood triglycerides
While diet and exercise help your blood triglyceride levels, some people are unfortunately genetically predisposed to higher than ideal levels despite following a healthy diet and regular exercise. High levels of triglycerides, which are a type of fat, can increase the risk of heart disease.
It’s, however, possible to maintain healthy triglyceride levels by increasing your everyday intake of omega-3 fatty acids. This is healthy for the body as high LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels are a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Even eating fish once a week helps maintain healthy glucose and cholesterol levels.
- Perfect addition to your diet
Feeling full is the best way to assure you stick to a diet, and this is exactly what omega-3 fats does when you include it in your diet. Following a controlled diet with more than 1300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids keeps you feeling full throughout the day, so there’s no need of any unnecessary snacking in between meals.
- Helps you burn fat
Following a diet with sufficient omega-3 intake also improves the health benefits of regular exercise by helping you burn fat and improves your blood cholesterol levels. Omega-3s work changes your body’s fat metabolism so that there is more of oxidation and consequently reduced fat storage.
- Supports cognitive performance
Eating omega-3 fatty acids supplements like olive oil every day helps improve your cognitive performance. It helps you train and perform both harder and smarter at whatever you do.
Finding the right omega-3 supplements
While you can get your EPA and DHA from whole-food sources, supplements are a better option as they consistently give you the right dose of these essential fats. EPA and DHA are most commonly found in fish oil pills or more specifically, cod liver and krill oil.
However, as it’s rather expensive making concentrated EPA and DHA fish oil, most of the brands only contain about 20-30% of these fats per tablet. These pills thus contain some larger amounts of other fatty acids as compensation, which unfortunately do not provide the health benefits you are looking for. This is why you need to read and check the labels before buying your omega-3 supplements, and look for trusted, proven, brands.
Don’t check its omega content; instead, take a look at the EPA and DHA content of the supplement. Most supplements contain 1-4 grams or rather 1000-4000 mg of total omega fatty acids. You need to look for a supplement which gives you about 1500 to 3000 mg of EPA and DHA combined, everyday.
Be sure to take your supplement with a meal, to get the best absorption. Also, make sure you store your bottle in a cool and dark place, like the fridge, to prevent any breakdown due to light or heat.