Omega 3 Oils Health Benefits

A diet rich in omega 3 oils helps prevent a wide range of medical problems, indicated by a growing number of scientific studies. These conditions include (but are not limited to) cardiovascular disease, depression, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. That's a wide range of problems you can avoid just by adding the oil to your diet regularly.

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Omega 3 oils first caught researchers' attention in the early 1980’s. The study focused on the Inuit Indians (AKA Eskimos). Researchers noted that they had lower rates of heart disease despite their diet, which was rich in fat from the fish and other similar type of oils they consumed. They concluded that the omega 3 rich foods they consumed daily was most likely the reason they remained so darn healthy.

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Health Benefits of Omega 3 Oils

Omega 3 oils:
  • Are polyunsaturated fatty acids. A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help lower triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol), and increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).

  • Are anticoagulants, which prevent blood from clotting. Several studies also suggest that fatty acids may help lower high blood pressure.

  • Protect against the accumulation of a protein in the brain linked to Alzheimer's disease. This was according to the results of an animal study published in the March 2005 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. This study specifically investigated one particular kind of omega 3 fatty acids – Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and the results were encouraging.

  • Can normalize abnormal heart rhythms, decrease blood clots, and improve the overall condition of arteries. Taking fish oil regularly can greatly reduce chances of heart attacks.

  • Protect the nervous system, which lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

  • Have been linked in studies to lower risks of breast and prostate cancer to regular consumption of fish oil.

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    Sources of Omega 3 Oils

  • All fish contain omega 3 fats, but they are more concentrated in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and herring.
  • Many commercial food products, such as bread, baked goods, yogurt and infant formula are now fortified with omega 3's.
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Soy and tofu
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, and flax seed
  • Cooking oils such as flax seed oil, canola oil, and olive oil
  • Some eggs, like Eggland’s Best, are omega-3 enhanced eggs

    Which Type of Omega 3 Oils are Best for You?

    The three most nutritionally important omega 3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

    Alpha-linolenic acid is one of two fatty acids omega 3 oils that are traditionally classified as ‘essential.’ The other fatty acid traditionally viewed as essential is an omega 6 fat called linoleic acid. Fatty acids have traditionally been called essential because your body is unable to manufacture them on its own and because they play a key role in many physiological functions. You must be sure that your diet contains sufficient amounts of both alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. However, with the present imbalance in most typical American diets, it is clear that most people today are getting far more omega 6's than omega 3's.

    With the increasing popularity of vegetarian diets and mounting fears about mercury and PCBs in seafood, people often wonder whether flax oil is a viable replacement for fish oils. Flax oil contains ALA (alpha-linolenic acids), which is a different type of fatty acid.

    Your body converts ALA into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are the beneficial elements of omega 3’s. However, the conversion process is much slower in comparison to fish oils. In addition, too high a concentration of ALA (as present in flax oil) has been linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer in men. Until more is known about it, it might be safer for men to choose fish oil instead of flax oil.

    Health Considerations

    Omega 3 oils may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • High blood pressure
  • Huntington's disease
  • Lupus
  • Migraine headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Omega 3 Oils Food Chart

    Sources of the World's Healthiest Foods
    Rich in Omega 3 Oils
    Foods Rating
    Flaxseeds2 tbs95.33.51146.327.6excellent
    Cloves, dried, ground2 tsp14.20.208.310.6very good
    Walnuts0.25 cup163.52.2794.610.4excellent
    Oregano, dried, ground2 tsp9. good
    Salmon, chinook, baked/broiled4 oz-wt261.92.0987.16.0excellent
    Cauliflower, boiled1 cup28. good
    Mustard seeds2 tsp35. good
    Cabbage, shredded, boiled1 cup33. good
    Romaine lettuce2 cup15.
    Broccoli, steamed1 cup43. good
    Brussel sprouts, boiled1 cup60.80.2610.83.2good
    Winter squash, baked, cubes1 cup80.00.3414.23.2good
    Tofu, raw4 oz-wt86.20.3615.03.1good
    Summer squash, cooked, slices1 cup36.
    Halibut, baked/broiled4 oz-wt158.80.6225.82.9good
    Collard greens, boiled1 cup49.
    Spinach, boiled1 cup41.
    Kale, boiled1 cup36.
    Soybeans, cooked1 cup297.61.0342.92.6good
    Shrimp, steamed/boiled4 oz-wt112.30.3715.42.5good
    Turnip greens, cooked1 cup28.
    Cod, baked/broiled4 oz-wt119.10.3213.32.0good
    Strawberries1 cup43.
    Green beans, boiled1 cup43.
    Snapper, baked/broiled4 oz-wt145.20.3615.01.9good
    Scallops, baked/broiled4 oz-wt151.70.3514.61.7good
    Tuna, yellowfin, baked/broiled4 oz-wt157.60.3313.81.6good
    Raspberries1 cup60.
    Miso1 oz70.
    World's Healthiest
    Foods Rating
    very goodDV>=50%ORDensity>=3.4ANDDV>=5%

    Omega 3 Oils Contraindications

  • Cod liver oil is not the best way to get omega 3 oils. It may cause toxicity if taken in excess amounts due to its high levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

  • Men are advised to avoid flax oil supplements until more is known about flax's potential link with prostate cancer. However, flax is safe for women who don't have underlying medical conditions. For the most benefits, use high lignan flax oil.

    How to Avoid Fish Burps from Omega 3 Oils

    Many people complain that taking fish oil supplements, gives them the ‘fish burps’ later on. The best way to avoid them is by:

  • Taking them along with your other supplements
  • Taking them with your meals
  • Keeping your fish oil in the freezer or refrigerator
  • Take your supplements 3 times a day instead of all at once

    Any of these suggestions will work but you can also just go the easy route and take enteric coated fish oil supplements. You can take these supplements whenever you like and not worry about getting fish burps ever!

    Other Advantages of Omega 3 Oils

  • Seratonin, the brain chemical that regulates mood and prevents depression, can only be made from essential fatty acids. There are additional beliefs that a diet rich in salmon and fish oil supplements can also boost the natural levels of serotonin.

    In a recent study, one large group was divided into two smaller groups. One group was given a traditional SSRI (Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitor) like Prozac and Paxil, and the other group was given salmon every day or fish oil supplements or both instead.

    And the end of 8 weeks, those people in the group eating salmon or taking fish oil capsules had a better response to their depression than the group who took antidepressants. So rather than taking an antidepressant, a more natural way to eliminate depression may be to eat more fish or take supplements.

  • Melatonin, the chemical in the limbic system of your brain that regulates your internal clock, can only be made from essential fatty acids. If you don't have melatonin, your body will not repair itself during sleep.

  • In addition, your immune system, your ability to repair your cells, and many other vital systems like your circulatory system and your nervous system, cannot function without omega’s. Your body cannot produce them by itself.

  • Omega 3 oils may also prevent wrinkling and sagging skin.

    The mounting evidence seems clear cut. Consuming more omega 3 oils is not only beneficial, it is essential. The Inuit and the people who follow the Mediterranean diet plan are considered to be some of the healthiest people on the planet!

    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.

    Related Pages on This Site

    Saturated Fats are Good or Bad for Health? You Decide!

    The Benefits of Norwegian Cod Liver Oil

    Eating a Balanced Diet Decreases Weight and Increases Energy

    Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

    Acid and Alkaline Forming Foods and Your Health

    The Acid Alkaline Food Chart

    Have a Heart – A Healthy Heart!

    Reduce the Risk of Cancer through Nutrition


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