The focus on fat has been gaining a lot of attention for quite some time by now and you have definitely heard a lot about fat and its reputation for causing weight gain and being harmful to your health.
But did you know that some fats are actually good for you? Actually, there are fats that are beneficial to your body. As surprising as that may sound, the truth is that you do need to include healthy fats in your diet. And Omega-3 fatty acids are one of those healthy fats.
What exactly are Omega-3 fatty acids?
Basically, Omega- 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids or in other words, a form of good fat, essential to your health. Additionally, since these fats cannot be naturally produced by your body, it is very important that you include foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
What are its health benefits?
Being unsaturated, Omega-3 fatty acids help lower blood cholesterol levels. But that is only one of the positive effects they have on your body. To be more precise, studies have shown consuming Omega-3 fatty acids can play an important role in:
- Brain development, especially in young children. Research has indicated that it helps improve mental function by enhancing a child’s attention levels, short term memory and reading skills.
- Decreasing symptoms of depression, because Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in chemical messaging in your brain that helps elevate your mood.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease, mainly due to the fact that it helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, bring down blood pressure and decrease the chances of blood clotting, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Boosting immunity by increasing the activity of white blood cells.
What is the current recommendation for omega-3 fatty acids?
According to the National Institute of Health, you should consume at least 2% of your total calories as Omega-3 fats. For example, a person consuming 2,000 calories per day should include at least 4g of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Good to remember:
You can easily meet your needs for Omega-3 fatty acids by having just 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day.
That’s all! But you should remember that flaxseeds need to be ground for you to enjoy its nutritional benefits.
Besides that, here are the foods that you can consume to make Omega-3 part of your diet:
|Omega-3 containing food||Recommended intake||Suggested actions|
|Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring||American Heart Association recommends eating a palm size of oily fish about 2 times per week||Include baked salmon or any fatty fish with steamed vegetables in your weekly menu|
|Green leafy vegetables||Eat at least one serving of your vegetables as green leafy vegetables (1 cup daily)||Cook stews that have these greens like spinach or mouloukhieh. Also add more green leafy vegetables in your salad|
|Cooking oils such as Canola oil||Consume 1-2 tablespoons of oil a day||Replace other vegetable cooking oils with Canola oil|
|Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds and pine nuts||Consume a handful of unsalted nuts a day||Add pine nuts or walnuts to your salad or use them for a quick snack, generally no more than a handful a day as nuts are high in calories|
|Omega-3 enhanced eggs||Consume 2-3 eggs a week||Include them as part of your breakfast, dinner or salad|
|Ground flaxseeds||Have about 2 tablespoons a day||You can also add some flaxseed to your baked food or sprinkle them on your soup or salad dressing or to your breakfast cereal|
You may be very concerned about the fat in your diet and its impact on your body weight. But the truth of the matter is that it is important to have the right balance of Omega-3 fatty acids among other nutrients to enhance your proper body functions and enjoy overall improvement in health.