Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. That means they are essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body.
For this reason, omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained from food, especially from fish and certain plant oils. It is important to maintain an appropriate balance of omega-3 and omega-6, which is another essential fatty acid. It is important to have these two balanced in the diet, as they work together to promote health. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function and normal growth and development. However, do people clearly understand what is Omega-3?
What is Omega-3?
There are three major types of omega 3 fatty acids that are ingested in foods and used by the body. Those are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Once these are eaten, the body converts ALA to EPA and DHA, the two types of omega-3 fatty acids more readily used by the body. Extensive research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic diseases. It helps fight many dieseases, such as heart disease and arthritis. These essential fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be particularly important for cognitive and behavioral function of human. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems as serious consequence. As mentioned previously, it is very important to maintain a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation, so an inappropriate balance of these essential fatty acids contributes to the development of disease while a proper balance helps maintain and even improve health. A healthy diet should consist of roughly one to four times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3. The typical American diet tends to contain 11 to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Many researchers believe this imbalance is a significant factor in the rising rate of inflammatory disorders in the United States. In contrast, the Mediterranean diet consists of a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The fact is Mediterranean diet does not include much meat, which is high in omega-6 fatty acids, and emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are food including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in treating a variety of conditions. The evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but the range of possible uses for omega-3 fatty acids include