Health & Lifestyle

What are Omega 3 fatty acids and what is their role?

Chintu Das
Chintu Das

You can find Omega 3 fatty acids in foods like fish and flax seed. Even supplements like fish oil also contain it. Major types of Omega 3 fatty acids include: 

- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) 

- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 

- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 

ALA can be found in oils such as soybean, canola and flax seed. EPA and DHA is present in fish and other seafood. 

ALA is a basic unsaturated fat, which your body can't make, so you should get it from the nourishments you eat. Your body can change over certain ALA into EPA and afterward to DHA, however just in limited quantities. Hence, getting EPA and DHA from nourishments and supplements is the only and easy way to build levels of these omega-3 unsaturated fats in your body.   

Omega-3s are significant parts of the cell membranes in your body. DHA levels are particularly high in the eye retina, brain cells, and sperm cells. Omega-3s also adds calories to your body and boosts functionality of your heart, veins, lungs, immunity framework, and the hormone producing organs.

How much quantity do you need in your body? 

Studies have shown results for ALA only. Researchers are not able to determine the recommended amounts for other Omega 3 fatty acids. Below are the results for ALA according to age and gender: 

Age and Gender 

ALA Recommended amounts 

Birth to 1 year 

0.5 Grams 

Child between 1 to 3 years 

0.7 Grams 

Child between 4 to 8 years 

0.9 Grams 

Boys between 9 to 13 years 

1.2 Grams 

Girls between 9 to 13 years 

1.0 Grams 

Teenage boys between 14 to 18 years 

1.6 Grams 

Teenage girls between 14 to 18 years 

1.1 Grams 

Adult men 

1.6 Grams 

Adult women 

1.1 Grams 

Pregnant women 

1.4 Grams 

Breastfeeding women 

1.3 Grams 

What are the foods you can go for? 

Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in certain foods and can be also consumed by adding some dietary supplements to your diet. Below are some of the foods you can consume to get Omega 3 in your system: 

- Cold Water Fish such as salmon, tuna etc. 

- Nuts like flaxseed, chia seed etc. 

- Plant oil like Soybean oil, flaxseed oil etc. 

- Other sources include yogurt, juice, milk etc.   

What are the health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids? 

- Keeps Heart diseases away; Including Omega 3 induced foods in your diet keeps your body’s cardiovascular system healthy and keeps heart diseases away from you. Having a recommended dosage regularly keeps the triglyceride levels in check. It also reduces the chances of you having a heart attack. 

- Boosts infant’s health: Having foods with omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy as well as breast feeding increases baby weight and prolongs the time of pregnancy, which is good for the baby. Breast milk as well as well known infant formula has DHA in it. 

- Prevents Cancer: Studies have shown that specially in females, having Omega 3 induced foods or dietary supplements prevent development of breast cancer. Some other studies also show positive results in case of colorectal cancer. 

- Prevents old age problems: Old people tend to suffer from age related illnesses; be it related to the brain or body. Few of the major concerns include dementia, Alzheimer, AMD (Age-related macular degeneration) etc. Studies have shown that consuming omega 3’s from food restricts the onset of such age related problems. 

- Rheumatoid arthritis: People with Rheumatoid arthritis suffer from severe pain, swelling and loss of functioning of joints. Including foods rich in omega 3 along with prescribed medications help patients in recovering faster and reduces the pain levels. 

Bottom Line: 

Ensure you include omega 3 rich nourishments to your eating regimen for a sound life ahead... 

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