OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS are a type of fat you don't want to miss out on! They are important for maintaining a normal metabolism and they also deliver some serious health benifits.
There are three types of Omega-3; ALA, EPA and DHA. The latter two are called essential fatty acids because the body doesn't produce them, you have to get them from your food.
You can find Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish such as; anchovies, herring, mackeral, salmon, sardines, freshwater trout and tuna. (Due to mercury levels and the risk of contaminants often found in fish it is recommended to eat no more than 7 ounces of these fish per week. Children and preganat women should avoid these fish completely.)
Plant sources of ALA are; walnuts, most seeds, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean oil.
BENEFITS FOR ARTHIRITIS:
They reduce inflammation in the body
Fish oils (EPA &DHA) can ease the stiffness, swelling and joint pain experienced in both Osteoarthritis and Rhuematoid arthritis.
Omega-3 also seems to boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Research suggests that patients need to take Omega-3 fatty acids consistantly for three months to see an improvement - and the benefits increased the longer people took them [source: American Family Physician].
BENEFITS FOR YOUR HEART:
They help to lower blood pressure and levels of cholesterol
They can reduce levels of unhealthy fats called triglycerides in the blood by as much as 30 percent
They decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeat
"Omega-3s are so good for your heart that eating fish just once or twice a week might reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by a third!" [source: Mayo Clinic].
BENEFITS FOR MENTAL HEALTH:
They help to lower levels of depression and bipolar disorder
They have be found to boost the effects of some antidepressants
A diet including Omega-3's can reduce the risk of developing conditions such as dementia, depression, attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia and schizophrenia
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are essential for brain health [source:ScienceDaily].
BENEFITS FOR ASTHMA:
A diet high in omega-3s lowers inflammation, a key component in asthma.
BENEFITS FOR CANCER:
It has been suggested that an Omega-3 rich diet can aid in the treatment of cancer by supressing the growth of tumours and by improving hormone balance within the body. However researchers say there is still not enough evidence to prove that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cancer, studies are still ongoing. [source: American Cancer Society].