The omega-3 fats come in three main forms: DHA, EPA, and ALA.
ALA is found in certain nuts, seeds, and pastured animal foods like grass-fed beef and dairy where EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.
Most omega 3 benefits have been found in EPA and DHA so you will want to focus more on consuming those omega 3 foods.
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are immense and they have been proven effective in the treatment and prevention of hundreds of medical conditions.
Here are the most common medical conditions that consuming more omega-3 foods have been prescribed for:
- High cholesterol
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Macular degeneration
- Skin issues (eczema and psoriasis)
Omega-3’s have also been shown to support weight loss, healthy pregnancy, athletic recovery and thickening hair and nails.
Omega-3 deficiency is common in industrialized countries because of the excess consumption of omega-6 fats. The average ratio in america is 20:1 when it should be closer to a 2:1 ratio. When this ratio becomes imbalanced it will cause systemic inflammation throughout the body leading to chronic disease.
Omega-3 deficiency symptoms can include poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings, joint pain and autoimmune disease.
The most common people who are omega-3 deficient include those who consume a large amount of processed foods, hydrogenated oils, and those on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
The AI (Adequate Intake) of Omega-3 is 1.6g/day for men and 1.1 g/day for women. There is no Daily Value for omega-3s.
Top 10 Omega 3 Foods List
4 oz: 1.45g
4 oz: 1.34 g
4 oz: 1.25g
4) Grass-fed beef
4 oz: 1.1g
2 Tbsp: 3.2g
6) Chia Seeds
2 tbsp: 2.5g
¼ cup: 2.3g
4 oz: 0.52g
4 oz: 0.33g
10) Grass-fed Dairy
8 oz: .25g
Other high omega 3 foods in the vegan arena include brussels sprouts, cauliflower and seaweed. Try and consume 2-3 servings a day from this omega 3 foods list.
If you can’t consume wild caught fish on a regular basis it is highly recommended that you supplement with an omega 3 fish oil at a dose of 1,000mg 1x daily.
Top Health Benefits of Omega 3 Foods
Omega 3 Heart Health
The omega-3 fats found in wild-caught, cold-water fish have been found to help regulate heartbeat, reduce blood pressure, decrease blood clot formation, and reduce overall inflammation, all of which decrease the risk for heart attacks and strokes. Omega-3 rich foods also help reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
The ingestion of omega-3’s through oily fish is especially effective in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as normalizing heart rhythms, treating atherosclerosis and lowering risk of stroke. In fact, eating just two servings of fish a week can lower stroke risk by 50 percent.
Omega 3 Cancer Prevention
Consuming 2-3 servings of seafood weekly has been shown to decrease the risk of cancer. Omega-3s work to suppress inflammation, a catalyst for certain cancers. A high intake of omega-3 food sources may actually even reduce the risk of death for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
There are now several studies that suggest omega-3 ingestion can reduce the risk and slow the progression of colon cancer and lower the risk of both prostate and breast cancer.
Omega 3 Depression and Brain Health
The brain is made mostly of fat and it functions especially well with high levels of EPA and DHA. They help the brain’s communication processes and reduce inflammation that can help slow aging.
Because of omega-3’s role in brain function, researchers have looked at whether omega-3 fatty acid supplements help relieve depression and many studies have proven its effectiveness. Also, there is strong evidence that omega-3 fats improve ADHD and also help Alzheimers and other forms of cognitive decline and dementia.
Omega 3 Inflammation Reduction:
Preliminary studies suggest that omega-3’s may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint pain. Inflammatory bowel disease may also be relieved with omega-3 supplementation.
Joint pain in those with lupus may be reduced by omega-3’s. In terms of osteoporosis studies show that omega-3’s slow bone loss and increase bone density.
As you can see, omega-3 health benefits are numerous and you should focus on consuming omega-3 rich foods daily.