Health benefits of omega-3

Omega-3 is an essential nutrient that not only protects us from heart disease but is important for our overall health. Here's why you need sufficient omega-3 in your diet to help your body perform at its best.

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What is Omega-3?

Omega-3 is a fatty acid, found in oily fish and foods such as flaxseed and chia seeds. The consumption of omega-3s has reached an all-time high in the health world, and the importance of including fresh fish and nuts and seeds in your diet has seen many people changing their habits for the benefits.

Omega 3 have a wide range of health benefits, including: 

  • Protecting against heart disease
  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Proper neurological function
  • Cell membrane maintenance
  • Mood regulation
  • Hormone production

They may also have a positive impact on:

  • cancer
  • depression
  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Historically, we’ve seen that populations that consume the most omega-3 rich foods, like people in Okinawa, Japan, live longer and healthier lives than people who eat a standard Western diet, low in omega-3s.

If that wasn’t enough, studies show that “omega 3 fatty acids are essential in growth and development throughout the life cycle, they should be included in the diets of all humans. Omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids are not interconvertible in the human body and are important components of practically all cell membranes.”

So, even though omega-3 is essential, our bodies fail to produce enough of it, if any at all, and this is why we need to alter our eating habits to include foods that contain omega-3s. If there was any reason for you to start eating salmon sushi, this is it right now!

Supplementation is also an effective way of getting enough omega-3 in your diet, especially if your need is raised in your nutrition report. At DNAFit we always promote a “food first approach” but taking a daily omega-3 supplement is fine, as long as you are still eating healthily throughout the rest of the day.

The best sources of Omega-3

Omega-3 can be broken up into two groups: foods containing ALA and foods containing DHA and EPA. Below, we’ll take you through the foods that contain the most omega-3s per serving. 

Source (in grams)

Best sources for ALA 

  • Eel (0.42)
  • Salmon (0.26)
  • Pecan nuts (0.29) 
  • Walnuts (0.85)
  • Canola Oil (0.42) 
  • Radish seeds (0.42)
  • Chia Seeds (1.9)
  • Flaxseed Oil (2.43)

 Best for DHA and EPA

  • Caviar (1.96) 
  • Mackerel (3.43)
  • Cod (0.79)
  • Salmon (1.61)
  • Canned sardines (1.05)
  • Fish oils (0.48 – 1.44)

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