Omega 3. Here’s another scientific term I am sure you’ve come across and know of but, if pressed, might find it hard to define.
We have a familiarity with it and an awareness of it thanks to advertising campaigns for a brand of fish fingers. It doesn’t seem to matter how much science there is out there or how many journals carry considered articles by fine experts…most people know of omega 3 because of a white bearded old sea-salt of a captain, who repeats it without explanation while hordes of kids run round his old ship.
Oh well, if it takes fish fingers to raise the profile of omega 3, so be it!
Lets just stay with our cliched old ship’s captain for a moment. The clue to omega 3’s origins lie in the breaded fish advert – out at sea in fish..
OK so it can be found elsewhere too such as certain plants and other animals, but fish is probably its most notable source.
What is Omega 3?
It is important to know that there is a bit more behind the name. In face there numerous types of omega 3, and three of which have the most impact on us, so these are where our focus should lie. They are:
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
Alpha-linoleic Acid (ALA)
ALA is the one to be found in plants like hemp and flaxseed, while the other two are associated with fish and animals – krill being a particularly good source.
And it is these latter two that tend to be the most sought and utilised as it is felt they deliver the most benefits and, as animal sources, we tend to assimilate them better. But all three come with benefits and all three are good!
Omega 3 benefits
Now we have got out tongues twisted around the multi-syllabic names, we should find out what this is all about in terms of health benefits.
Right out front its heart health. The most important muscle in the body needs plenty of attention and omega 3 is great for the heart.
It works by raising the high density lipoproteins (HDL) which is the good cholesterol, in the body whilst squashing the low density versions (LDL) which is the bad cholesterol. The result of this is better arteries and more efficient pumping of your blood.
A study in Italy showed that heart attack sufferers who started taking omega 3 fish oils greatly reduced their chances of having a follow-up cardiac event.
Another great point is that omega 3 benefits are easily accessible! Whilst its always best to derive nutritional benefits from food sources and as part of your diet, supplements play a very important part too. Thankfully omega 3 is very easily attained in supplement form. You will find fish oil supplements in health stores, food shops and supermarkets as well as pharmacies.
There really is no excuse not to get more omega 3 in your diet and it does not have to be via fish fingers!
Connect here with WatchFit expert Kate Staples