01 November What Do You Know About Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
At the forefront of River Aesthetics’ vision is enhancing the overall wellbeing of patients. Clinical directors Dr Victoria Manning and Dr Charlotte Woodward provide natural-looking treatments, as well as medical advice. To stay healthy, the body needs nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids, with one of the most essential being omega-3s.
Omega-3s make up an important part of the structure of each cell in your body and help you to produce hormones. Eating high amounts of omega-3s is also linked to a whole range of other health benefits. This is mainly because they can help reduce long-term, low levels of inflammation (chronic inflammation). Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.
On one hand, it is your body’s natural way of protecting itself when you are injured or sick. It can help your body defend itself from illness and stimulate healing. On the other hand, chronic, sustained inflammation is linked to an increased risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Interestingly, the foods you eat can significantly affect inflammation in your body.
Protect Your Body
Omega–3s are essential long chain fatty acids. What ‘essential’ means is that the body cannot make them, so they need to be consumed daily through diet. Their benefits are conferred to the skin and other organs through the blood supply. If your diet is lacking in omega–3s then your brain, heart and skin will all suffer. They work in the body as powerful natural anti-inflammatories and play a role in long term brain, heart, and skin health protection.
Anyone on a restricted, vegan, vegetarian, low fat, or low-calorie diet may be low in omega–3 and will benefit from supplementation. If you eat a low-fat diet you may also be missing out on the benefits of these good fats.
Even if you are eating a healthy balanced diet you can be low in omega–3 if you do not eat enough oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, or sardines. You should be eating oily fish at least three times a week to get sufficient omega–3 intake. Unfortunately, a lot of the farmed fish we eat is devoid of all the nutrients we need.
Alternatively, there are some plant sources of omega-3, like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds, but your body finds it harder to use this type of omega-3 (ALA). Given that many people don’t achieve this, supplementation is a good way to ensure sufficient levels.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Omega–3 can help you in many ways, both physically and mentally.
- It can lower your risk of certain cancers, particularly colon cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease. Omega-3s help prevent strokes and can improve brain functioning, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- It can help improve your skin barrier function (especially good for dry skin, acne, and eczema).
- Improves arthritis symptoms by reducing the inflammation and pain in your joints. Omega-3s are also linked to better bone and joint health, which might protect you against arthritis and osteoporosis.
- Studies have shown a diet high in omega-3s, particularly EPA, might help treat or protect you against depression and anxiety.
- Sleep patterns are also improved. This is probably because omega-3s are linked to the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps you fall asleep.
- A diet high in omega-3 fats might increase your metabolism and aid weight loss. Omega-3s might also improve gut health, which is thought to offer some protection against obesity.
Getting Omega-3s from Supplements
There is a surplus of omegas to choose from, but some are better than others. You should also make sure the supplements you select contain both EPA and DHA. Natural fish oils usually contain about 30% EPA and DHA, which is enough for most people.
Another thing to look out for is the form of omega-3 in the supplement. Your body finds it easier to absorb omega-3s in the form of free fatty acids, although this is mostly found in foods.
Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
As well as including lots of omega-3 rich foods in your diet, you also must make sure you’re not eating too many omega-6 fats. While omega-3s reduce inflammation in your body, omega-6s promote it. Omega-6s are still essential for your health. For example, inflammation helps your body fight infections, but too much inflammation can put you at risk of things like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.
It is important to have balanced amounts of omega-6s and omega-3s. To lower the amount of omega-6 fats in your diet, avoid processed vegetable oils. These include vegetable oil, corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and cottonseed oil.
Inflammation can occur in response to many triggers, some of which are hard to prevent, including pollution, injury, or sickness.
To stay as healthy as possible, keep inflammation down by minimizing your consumption of foods that trigger it and instead eat anti-inflammatory foods. We also advise taking an omega–3 supplement. Please call the clinic to order your daily supplement of Zenii Omega–3.