Omega-3s are termed essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they are critical for good health. Since the body cannot make them on its own, omega-3s must be obtained from food.
- Reduce hypertension. Studies of large groups of people have found that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may aid in lowering overall blood pressure level.
- Improve heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids may play a part in keeping cholesterol levels low, stabilizing irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), and reducing blood pressure.
- Protecting the heart. Researchers now believe that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the omega-3s, may be particularly beneficial in protecting against heart and blood vessel disease, and for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Key omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA), and alpha-lineolenic acid (ALA). EPAs and DHAs are found in oily cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, as well as fresh seaweed. ALAs are found primarily in dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oils, hemp seeds, and certain vegetable oils.
There is no established recommended daily intake for omega-3s, but a healthy diet containing significant amounts of foods rich in this essential fatty acid is recommended. Most anti-aging experts recommend a minimum of 2000 IU daily for good brain health and skin care; if you are supplementing.
Omega fatty acids are very safe to consume. However, most experts recommend limiting fish consumption to two to three servings weekly because so many fish may be tainted with mercury and other contaminants. Fish oil capsules do not usually present this same risk.
My favorite omega 3 and 6 food is hemp seed confined with flax seed and cranberry juice in a blender for breakfast.
There are no known side effects associated with increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids through foods, although fish oil capsules do pose the risk of a “burp” factor – a harmless, sometimes unpleasant, fishy aftertaste that occurs with some brands of fish oil capsules.