Omega-3 fatty acids are referred to as Essential Fatty Acids. The word essential is not used here by accident. These compounds have an extremely important function in the human body and are essential in the daily diet. Why should you pay special attention to them?
What are omega-3 acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids, in which the triple bond is located at the third carbon atom from the end. There are three types of omega-3 acids:
- EPA eicosapentaenoic acid – found in sea fish, caviar and seafood,
- Docosahexaenoic acid DHA – its sources are also found in sea fish, seafood and caviar,
- Alpha-linolenic acid ALA – we supply it to our body by consuming flaxseed and oil from its seeds, soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, green leafy vegetables.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be in cis or trans form. Most are the cis form, which is good for our bodies. Trans acids, found in meat and milk, for example, raise the level of “bad cholesterol” in the blood.
Effects of omega-3 acids on the human body
Omega-3 fatty acids have a significant impact on the proper functioning of the human body. Among other things, they are responsible for the proper functioning of the heart and circulatory system. They also lower the level of “bad cholesterol” in the blood, while increasing the level of the “healthy” one. They protect the body from arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for the proper functioning of the visual center and coordination. They enhance our ability to learn and assimilate new information, as they affect the proper functioning of the brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids directly affect blood clotting, bronchoconstriction, the immune system, vasomotor responses and cell differentiation. They also have a beneficial effect on the condition of hair, skin and nails.
Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in the construction of serotonin, which is more widely known as the happiness hormone. Their presence in the diet therefore has a beneficial effect on our mood.
Omega-3 acids for weight loss
The omega-3 acids consumed in foods are not deposited in fat cells. By supporting brain function, they influence the body’s appropriate response to leptin – a hormone that reduces appetite and regulates blood glucose levels.
Omega-3 acids increase the body’s immunity
Omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on our body’s resistance to all kinds of bacteria and viruses. When we get sick, they strengthen defense mechanisms, and when we recover, they support our recovery. Omega-3 acids relieve inflammation of the spine and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. They also counteract cancerous changes, asthma and allergies.
How to introduce omega-3 acids into your diet?
I don’t think anyone needs to be convinced anymore how crucial the role of omega-3 fatty acids is in the daily functioning of our body. So it is worth knowing which foods you can not pass by indifferently, if you do not want to lead to a deficiency of these substances. The richest sources of fatty acids are: trout, salmon, smoked mackerel, sardines in oil, salted herring, carp, pollock, tilapia and cod liver oil.
main photo: unsplash.com/David B Townsend