Omega-3 fatty acids play such an important role in our health. They are considered essential fatty acids, meaning we must obtain them from our diet, so it is important to make sure we are either consuming enough omega-3 rich foods or supplementing appropriately.
When it comes to omega-3’s, many people know about the anti-inflammatory benefits of eating enough fish or taking a fish oil supplement, but there are so many other reasons to make sure you are getting enough omega’s in your diet. There are also some additional plant-based ways to get these fatty acids into your diet if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.
Let’s take a look at the top four reasons to add omega-3’s to your diet and then some ways you can do so.
The Top Four Reasons to Add Omega-3’s to Your Diet
#1 Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: This is the most well-known benefit of omega-3 fatty acids. Combatting inflammation is key to overall health as inflammation is at the root of nearly all disease seen today. Fish oil, in particular, has been found to be especially helpful for those suffering from arthritis. With that being said, you should strive to consume about two servings of fatty fish like wild-caught salmon per week. If you don’t eat fish, you can also supplement with a high-quality fish oil supplement to help combat inflammation.
#2 Supports Brain Health: Omega-3 fatty acids are also great for brain health. Studies have found omega-3 fatty acids to help improve memory. One specific study found that DHA helped boost memory for participants taking learning tests. DHA is one of the three types omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, with EPA and ALA being the others. Omega-3 fatty acids play very important roles in brain development. The importance of fish oil and brain development may start as early as pregnancy and throughout life.
#3 Supports Heart Health: Many people supplement with quality fish oil to help boost their omega-3 intake and help support heart health. Since omega-3 fatty acids (like mussel oil) can help reduce the total inflammation in your body, they may be able to help slash your risk of heart disease. Inflammation can cause heart disease by causing damage to your blood vessels. Simply put, reducing your inflammation, supports heart health, and reduces your risk of disease. If you don’t want to supplement with fish oil, you can also eat fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, mackerel, herring, or sardines twice per week.
#4 Reduce Anxiety & Depression: Believe it or not, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Out of all of the different types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA has been found to be especially helpful when it comes to reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
There are countless reasons to consider upping your omega-3 fatty acid intake. Combatting inflammation is really the most important reason as reducing inflammation will help support your overall wellbeing. If you don’t eat fish, or you don’t want to take a fish oil supplement, don’t worry! There are still ways to get plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet or supplement routine. Here are some additional ways you can help support your health with omega-3 fatty acids.
Plant-Based Sources of Omega-3’s
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Vegetarian DHA supplement
- Algal oil
About The Author
Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women's health. She doesn't believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.