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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Understanding omega-3 fatty acids

Our body can’t manufacture certain kinds of important fats, so you have to rely on dietary intake to provide them. Because it’s essential that we get these fats in our food, they’re called essential fatty acids. The hardest kind of essential fatty acid to come by is a type of polyunsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acid.

The most important nutrition in omega 3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

The benefits
Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development and may be helpful in treating a variety of health conditions. The indication is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help prevent cancer cell growth, lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream, maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes and decrease platelet aggregation (preventing excessive blood clotting).

Omega-3 sources
Only certain plants synthesize omega-3 fatty acids, mainly leaves, grasses, and algae. Because we don’t eat these kinds of plants, we get most of our essential fatty acids from the meat of animals that do. So, Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in all fish, but they are more concentrated in fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines and herring. Omega-3 is also found in vegetables such as Green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, and flax seed

Some eggs can also provide us with omega-3 fatty acids. We can increases the omega-3 content of the eggs by feeding chicken insects and greens, added fish oils to their food to increase the amount of fatty acid concentrations in eggs.

A few generations ago, we may got enough omega-3 in the meat we ate. However, these days, instead of allowing cows and sheep to graze on natural foliage, ranchers confine them to feedlots and fatten them up with grain, which contains little omega-3 fatty acid. Our animal fats were once derived away from leafy greens and as a result, our diets are becoming increasingly deficient in omega-3 fatty acids.

Nowadays Omega-3 is also found in softgels (like a vitamin E capsule) or as bottled liquids in pharmacies. Try to choose a supplement that contains vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which is added to the oil to prevent the fatty acids from becoming oxidized (or rancid).

Omega-3 fatty acids and weight loss
Recent studies suggest that overweight people who follow a weight loss program that includes exercise tend to achieve better control over their blood sugar and cholesterol levels when food rich in omega-3 fatty acids is include in their low-fat diet.

Researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of becoming obese by improving the body's ability to respond to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake, body weight and metabolism, and is expressed primarily by adipocytes (fat cells)
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1 Response to "Understanding omega-3 fatty acids"
October 13, 2009 at 9:06 AM
Sharing this topic to everyone is a helpful act. I will share this post to my friends because I believe they also need these information you've shared here.
Thanks for sharing.

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