Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Topics: Omega-3 fatty acid, Nutrition, Essential fatty acid Pages: 3 (1027 words) Published: November 22, 2010
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Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

In the rush to cut calories, reduce cholesterol intake, and avoid saturated fats, many of us have embraced low-fat diets and low-fat foods. But some fats are necessary and "essential" for health. These fats show great promise for fighting the onslaught of heart disease and diabetes, possibly even cancer. What are these "good" fats—and how do we get enough of them? The benefits of Omega 3 fats have been researched for quite some time and now those benefits are becoming increasingly well-known. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them -- you have to get them through food. Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that the human body needs for metabolic functioning but cannot produce, and therefore has to be acquired from food. What makes omega-3 fats special? They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cells in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. Omega-3 fats are a key family of polyunsaturated fats. There are three main omega-3s, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found mainly in fish. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the most common omega-3 fatty acid in most Western diets, is found in vegetable oils and nuts. The Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to life at every stage, even before birth. They are found in the membrane of every cell in the body and help to ensure that the cell membrane is ideally equipped to do its job. They are also used in the regulation of all biological functions, including those of the cardiovascular, reproductive, and immune and nervous systems. Optimum health can only be achieved when sufficient Omega-3s are obtained from the diet. They help maintain good health, promote...
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