Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Excerpt from University of Maryland Medical Center
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. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease…
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
It is important to have a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
Beneficial Uses of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (which are found in Flax Seeds)
Clinical evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but omega-3 fatty acids may also be used for:
High cholesterol, High blood pressure, Heart disease, Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Osteoporosis, Depression, Bipolar disorder, Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Schizophrenia, Skin disorders, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Macular Degeneration, Asthma, Menstrual pain, Colon cancer, Breast cancer, Prostate cancer
Both EPA and DHA can be taken in the form of fish oil capsules. Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, fish and krill oils should be kept refrigerated. Whole flaxseeds must be ground within 24 hours of use, so the ingredients stay active. Flaxseeds are also available in ground form in a special mylar package so that the components in the flaxseeds stay active.
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