When you think of healthy foods, what springs to mind? Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fats as part of a balanced diet. These fats cannot be produced by the body and need to be obtained through food sources. Some foods that are high in omega-3s include fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, nuts & oils. Omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits for our health — including lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels. They also help to support a healthy heart and brain. Here’s a closer look at the hidden health benefits of Omega-3s:
Lowering Blood Pressure
One of the most well-known benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is that they can lower blood pressure. A healthy diet can help to lower blood pressure, along with other lifestyle changes such as reducing stress. People with high blood pressure may find that increasing their intake of omega-3s can help to lower their blood pressure. The best sources of omega-3s for lowering blood pressure are fish oil and flaxseed oil. People with diabetes who are at high risk of having high blood pressure should also be mindful of their omega-3 intake. Omega-3s can lower blood pressure in people with diabetes, but they may also cause low blood sugar. People with diabetes should consult a dietitian such as an endocrinologist (who specializes in diabetes) to discuss their omega-3 intake.
Supporting a Healthy Heart
Omega-3s have been shown to help support heart health. They can reduce the risk of heart disease and help to prevent a second heart attack in people who have already suffered from one. Omega-3s can also act as an anti-inflammatory, which may help to reduce the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries. There isn’t an exact amount of omega-3s that can be considered “healthy.” Instead, researchers and dietitians recommend a balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Western diets tend to be very high in omega-6s, with a ratio of 10:1. A balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 would be a ratio closer to 1:1.
Omega 3 and Depression
Some researchers believe that a high omega-6 intake may increase the risk of depression. Because omega-3s and omega-6s compete for conversion in the body, high amounts of omega-3s may be able to reduce the risk of depression. In a Harvard study, people who ate foods high in omega-3s were less likely to experience depression compared to people who consumed a low amount of omega-3s. Omega-3s may also be beneficial for people who already suffer from depression, but are taking antidepressants. Because omega-3s can increase serotonin levels in the body, they may help to combat side effects of antidepressants such as anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.
Protecting Your Brain
Omega-3s can also help to protect your brain from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. As you age, your brain naturally loses some of its ability to function. Studies show that eating foods high in omega-3s may help to slow this process. Researchers aren’t entirely sure how omega-3s help to protect your brain, but they believe that they may help to reduce inflammation and promote blood flow to the brain. People who have existing neurological disorders, such as Epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, should talk to their doctor before increasing their intake of omega-3s. Some studies have shown that omega-3s can increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy.
Omega 3 and Breathing Problems
In addition to promoting good heart health and a healthy brain, omega-3s may also help to protect against asthma and COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These are both caused by excessive inflammation in the airways, so eating foods high in omega-3s can help to protect against their development. Taking ByHerbs omega-3 fish oil daily may reduce the risk of developing asthma. Omega-3s can help to reduce inflammation in the lungs. However, they also have the potential to cause an allergic reaction in some people. For this reason, people who have a history of asthma or allergic rhinitis (including hay fever) should consult a doctor before increasing their omega-3 intake.
We’ve explored some of the hidden health benefits of omega-3s. Although the idea of consuming omega-3 fats may sound intimidating, it’s important to remember that they are an important part of a healthy diet. Omega-3s are one of the most common types of fat in our bodies and help to regulate our bodies’ processes and the production of hormones. The best sources of omega-3s include fish, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Research suggests that taking 2–3 grams of omega-3s every day helps to prevent heart disease, reduce inflammation, and promote a healthy brain. Omega-3s can also help to protect against asthma and COPD, making them a good choice for anyone interested in boosting their health. The most important thing is to vary your sources of omega-3s so that you derive the most benefit from them.
If you want to consume even more omega-3s, consider taking a vitamin supplement. You can also purchase ByHerbs omega-3 capsules to consume throughout the day. Next time you take ByHerbs omega-3 fish oil, remember that you’re also helping to protect your heart and brain!