Friday, September 4, 2009

Omega 3 and its importance within the diet

Everybody knows that Omega 3 fats are important to keep healthy, due to its increasing media coverage in the recent months. But exactly how does it help? And what does it help in particular? We need to first understand what Omega 3 actually is. It is an oil found in cold water fish such as mackerel and salmon. This oil contains two essential fatty acids called EPA and DHA. These two acids are extremely important for the body to stay healthy, but it cannot be produced by the body it has to be obtained through diet.
Unfortunately modern day diets often don’t mean we obtain enough of Omega 3, and therefore many of us can become deficient in this oil. People such as the Eskimos of Greenland had a diet high in Omega 3 fats due to their diet of fish and seal. This effectively showed Omega 3’s effect as the Eskimos suffered far less from cardiovascular diseases compared to the rest of the world.   
Unlike most fats which are bad for your health, scientists are now stating that Omega 3 which is a ‘good’ fat is actually needed for good health! Omega 3 is beneficial to almost every part of your body. Its two acids EPA and DHA are the two ingredients which help to keep the body healthy. They are both polyunsaturated fats which contain double bonds, which play an important role in the body’s functions.
So what parts of the body does Omega 3 actually help with, and how? 
Omega 3 fatty acids have been known to improve brain power, and more recently improve brain power in children. It is believed that the Omega 3 fatty acids make it easier for signals sent from the cells in the brain to pass over to one anther more easily. When these signals are passed over more easily then they are more likely to work efficiently and to their full potential, which then increases brainpower.
Not only can Omega 3 help to increase brain power, but it can also help with treating depression and bipolar disorder. As the brain has many different fatty acids in it, Omega 3 is thought to help maintain some of the acids it needs to stay alert.
Omega 3 has long been promoted for its properties to help the cardiovascular system especially the heart. Omega 3 possesses the ability to lower the triglyceride levels in the blood which have been known to cause blockages and stickiness in the blood causing heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
The blood flow can be restored to normal which allows essential nutrients that the heart needs to flow freely in to the heart. Omega 3 can help both people with healthy heart to keep staying healthy, and people who are at risk from cardiovascular diseases.

The Lungs
Omega 3 has shown in some clinical trials to also be effective at helping some conditions of the lungs. Results from various trials have suggested that Omega 3 can help to ease Asthma and some allergy symptoms. It has shown to have some anti-inflammatory properties which are mainly the cause of symptoms in Asthma and other allergies.

The Skin
Omega 3 fatty acids can also be beneficial for the skin. These fatty acids don’t only act as a waterproofing layer for the skin working from the inside out, but they can also help to hydrate the skin and to help ease the skin symptoms which are caused by allergies.
Some studies have suggested that Omega 3 could make the skin look more hydrated and less dull and lifeless. There have also been some trials which have suggested that Omega 3 fatty acids can be useful in helping to treat acne in some people.

Omega 3 fatty acids have also been linked to healthy pregnancies and babies. This is because in trials with pregnant women taking Omega 3 supplements showed that they carried their babies for longer and also had a reduced risk of problems such as any physical and neurological problems, which are linked to premature births. Fish oil is also very important for a child’s brain development, and when taken through pregnancy can give a baby the best start in life.
Fish oils also have the ability to reduce the risk of two pregnancy conditions called, pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes. The EPA and DHA found in Omega 3 can help to keep insulin levels, and ‘bad’ eicosanoids levels correct which cause these two conditions.
Omega 3 is probably most noted for its cardiovascular effects and joint effects. Omega 3 has been researched in many clinical trials which have mostly concentrated on its effects in helping to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but it can help other joint problems such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. It helps to improve joint flexibility by lubricating the joints.
The fatty acids in Omega 3 have shown to possess anti-inflammatory qualities, which can help many common joint problems as most of them tend to cause the joints to inflame and become sore. They also help to reduce the enzymes that destroy healthy cartilage in the joints. Omega 3 has also shown to increase calcium levels in the body helping calcium to be absorbed more effectively. This increased absorption of calcium can help to keep the bones strong and healthy.

Omega 3’s ability to help relieve the ‘stickiness’ that can be found in the blood, which not only causes cardiovascular problems but also stops the blood from flowing freely around the body, is one of its most researched properties. It can therefore help circulation problems, allowing the blood to flow to the extremities where it can be blocked from sometimes due to the ‘stickiness’.
Omega 3 not only helps circulation problems but also can help people with no circulation conditions to help keep their circulation healthy and flowing properly.

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