Good fat. In today’s society, it seems like a contradiction of terms. But when talking about essential nutrients, it’s become synonymous with Omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re known for packing a punch when it comes to giving your body the nutrients it needs! These essential fatty acids not only help you boost your heart health, but they also help protect your skin, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, and so much more. To help you get the full picture of how amazing these good fats can be for your health, here is our quick-and-easy guide on why AlignLife chiropractors recommend Omega-3 as part of your nutrition foundation and how you can get even more from your daily diet.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as “fish oil”) are classified as polyunsaturated fats. That means they are the best of the best good fats and they play a vital role in every cell membrane in our bodies. But here’s the catch.
Even though our bodies thrive when getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids, we don’t have the enzymes needed to make them from scratch. The only way you can boost your omega-3s is to eat it or take it as a supplement.
And while we love using food to help fill in nutrition gaps, sometimes it just doesn’t cut it. That shows when numerous studies report that a majority of the US population doesn’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet and, in turn, are eating too many omega-6 fatty acids.
Understanding the Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio
Just like omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids come from the foods you eat. Both are good fats that your body needs. But the ratio you eat them in matters. Most nutrition experts recommend a 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. However, the typical western diet is skewed astonishingly high toward omega-6 fatty acids with a 15:1 ratio. And, it’s a trend that doesn’t appear to be stopping as people eat less fish and more processed foods.
One of the reasons the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is so important is that they don’t have the same effects on your body. Scientists believe omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. That means diets high in omega-6 but low in omega-3 have an increased chance of inflammation. On the flip side, if your diet includes a balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, you’ll more likely to experience reduced inflammation.
Why Omega-3s are Known as a Heart Healthy Choice
If you’re looking for heart-smart recommendations, nutrition experts often tell you to eat more fish. The reason for this is that cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and cod are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids!
Omega-3 fatty acids can benefit your heart health by:
- Decreasing triglycerides
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing risk for blood clots
- Decreasing risk of strokes and heart failure
- Balancing irregular heartbeats
What is the recommended amount of omega-3s for heart health?
Eating two servings of fish a week should help you see a difference in your health. If you’re looking for a quality omega-3 supplement, you’ll want to aim for around 500 mg of EPA plus DHA a day. But, be sure to talk with your AlignLife chiropractor or health provider to make sure you take the right dose for you.
Other ways good fats can help your body and mind
Omega-3 has been studied and proven to help the body in numerous ways. Here’s a quick list of some of the top science-backed benefits these fatty acids can have on your body, mind, and overall health.
Omega-3s may help your overall health by:
- clearing and protecting your skin
- reducing menopause symptoms
- relieving menstrual cramps
- fighting feelings of depression and anxiety
- reducing inflammation throughout the body
- improving eye health
- improving sleep
- supporting brain health
- and so much more
Foods that Boost Omega-3 Naturally
Because your body tends to absorb nutrients from food better than supplements, one of the best ways to get more of these essential fatty acids in your diet is to get it from the foods you eat.
Here are some of the most common fish that people eat along with how much DHA and EPA they have in a 3-ounce serving.
Commonly eaten smoked for breakfast, mackerel is also rich in selenium and vitamin B12. Contains.0.59 g of DHA and 0.43 g of EPA.
One of the most popular and nutritious types of fish available. You have the choice of farmed and wild salmon, but there are some variations between the two in their omega-3 content. Salmon is also rich in magnesium, potassium, selenium, and B vitamins. Wild salmon contains 1.22 g of DHA and 0.35 g of EPA. Farmed salmon contains.1.24 g of DHA and 0.59 g of EPA.
Seabass is a popular Japanese fish. It is known for also being rich in protein and selenium. Contains.0.47 g of DHA and 0.18 g of EPA.
Oysters are a popular appetizer or snack and they aren’t without their nutrition. In addition to omega-3, oysters are rich in zinc and vitamin B12. Contains.0.23 g of DHA and 0.30 g of EPA.
A small, oily fish that is typically bought in cans, sardines are commonly eaten as a snack. They are also good sources of selenium, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. Contains.0.74 g of DHA and 0.45 g of EPA.
Rainbow trout is another popular and nutrient-packed fish. They are also a good source of protein, potassium, and vitamin D. Contains.0.44 g of DHA and 0.40 g of EPA.
Vegetarian and Vegan Sources
Here are some of the most common plant-based sources of omega-3. With the exception of seaweed and algae, plant-based sources contain ALA fatty acids. Below is a list of popular sources along with how much ALA is found in each:
- Seaweed and algae (varies)
- Chia seeds (5.055 g of ALA per 1-oz serving)
- Hemp seeds (2.605 g of ALA per 3-Tbsps)
- Flaxseeds (6.703 g of ALA per Tbsp)
- Walnuts (3.346 g of ALA per cup)
- Edamame (0.28 g of ALA per ½ cup)
- Kidney beans (0.10 g of ALA per ½ cup)
What to Look for in a Fish Oil Supplement
AlignLife chiropractors recommend Omega-3 Plus (capsules) and Omega Longevity (liquid) from Aceva. Both check all the boxes of a quality fish oil supplement. Another bonus is that they are formulated to be burp-free, which is one of the hang-ups many people have when they talk about taking fish oil supplements.
Another bonus of Omega-3 Plus and Omega Longevity is that these advanced triglyceride forms allow for up to 51% greater absorption over typical ethyl ester fish oils. They are also sustainably sourced and guaranteed to be free of toxins like mercury and lead.
Ready to fall in love with Omega-3?
Talk to your AlignLife chiropractor about how we can help and get you on track for a healthy heart, body, and mind.