Omega-3 foods present with numerous health benefits related mainly to their anti-inflammatory abilities, the most well-known being the omega-3 fats. The three different types of omega-3 fats include ALA, DHA, and EPA.
The ALA fat can be found in specific seeds, nuts, and pastured animal products such as grass-fed beef or dairy. DHA and EPA, in comparison, are found mainly in fatty fish such as mackerel or salmon.
The majority of omega-3 health benefits can be found in the EPA and DHA compounds; therefore, it would be more advantageous to focus on these foods.
1) The Different Omega-3 Health Benefits
Research has shown that the omega-3 fatty acids present with extensive amounts of health benefits and are most effective in the treatment and prevention of various medical conditions.
The most common medical conditions that can be treated by increasing the intake of omega-3 foods include:
- Macular degeneration;
- Alzheimer's disease;
- High cholesterol;
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD);
- Skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.
2) Omega-3 Deficiency
Omega-3 deficiency is a problem around the world and is most commonly experienced in industrialized countries showing an excess consumption of the omega -6 fatting foods. For example, the average current ratio of omega-3 in the United States of America is 20:1 when it should be closer to 2:1 to be considered a healthy figure.
Once this ratio begins to show an imbalance, it can cause inflammation throughout the body resulting in a chronic medical condition. Deficiency symptoms can include poor memory, cardiac problems, dry skin, mood swings, joint pain, and in the most severe instances, an autoimmune disease.
It has been noted that omega-3 deficiency medical conditions are most commonly seen among individuals who consume large quantities of processed foods, hydrogenated oils, or utilize a vegan or vegetarian diet.
This is due to the fact that this alteration in a healthy diet changes the AI or adequate intake of omega-3, which is 1.6g/day for males and 1.1g/day for females. It is important to note that this figure is merely an AI, and there is no true daily value for a person's consumption, it depends entirely on the individual.
3) The Top 10 Omega-3 Foods:
- 4 ounces of Salmon contain 1.45 g omega-3
- 4 ounces of Sardines contain 1.34 g omega-3
- 4 ounces of Mackerel contains 1.25 g omega-3
4) Grass-fed beef
- 4 ounces of Grass-fed beef contains 1.1 g omega-3
- 2 Flaxseed tablespoons contain 3.2 g omega-3
6) Chia seeds
- 2 Chia seed tablespoons contain 2.5 g omega-3
- ¼ cup of Walnuts contain 2.3 g omega-3
- 4 ounces of Natto contains 0.52 g omega-3
- 4 ounces of Tuna contains 0.33 g omega-3
10) Grass-fed dairy
- 8 ounces Grass-fed dairy contain 0.25 g omega-3
Additional foods that are high in omega-3 fatty compounds in Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and seaweed. It is recommended that one consume 2-3 servicings per day of each food off this list.
If you cannot eat wild fish on a regular basis, it is advised you supplement the fist with an omega-3 fish oil supplement tablet at a dose of 1,000 mg once per day.
4) The Top Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Foods
4.1) Inflammation Reduction with Omega-3
Some studies show that omega-3’s may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint pain. Omega-3 supplementation may also relieve inflammatory bowel disease. Joint pain in those with lupus may be reduced by omega-3’s.
Studies on osteoporosis show that omega-3’s slow bone loss and increase bone density. Omega-3 health benefits are numerous, and you should focus on consuming omega-3 rich foods and/or omega-3 supplements.
4.2) Heart Health with Omega-3
It has been seen that the omega-3 fatty compounds located in the wild cold-water fish (such as salmon) are beneficial in regulating heartbeat, reducing blood pressure, decreasing blood clot formation and reducing the overall formation of cardiac inflammation - all factors that can decrease the risk of strokes or cardiac arrest.
Omega-3 foods are also able to reduce LDL and triglycerides cholesterol. In fact, it has been noted that just two servings per week can reduce the level of cholesterol and risk of stroke by approximately 50% for the consuming individual.
4.3) Cancer Prevention with Omega-3
By consuming at least 2-3 servings of seafood per week, it is possible to reduce the risk of cancer through the intake of the omega-3 fats in the seafood.
The omega-3 fats within this food are able to suppress inflammation, which is a catalyst for specific cancers, including colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
High intakes of omega-3 food sources may eventually reduce even the risk of death for individuals who have already been diagnosed with cancer.
4.4) Depression and Mental Health Support with Omega-3
The human brain is comprised mainly of fat and functions well with high levels of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty compounds.
The EPA and DHA are beneficial in that they assist with the brain's communication processes and reduce inflammation.
By doing this, they are reducing the aging process and reducing the chance of cognitive decline.