The Real Deal On Omega-3

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There’s been a lot said in the media lately about good fats, bad fats, good carbs and bad carbs. Every week we hear we need to eat more X, Y, or Z, and we just sort of tune out when we’re asked as to why. To help make the world a simpler place, we took a closer look at one of the biggest buzzwords of today: Omega-3. What is it, what does it do, why do we need it and where does it come from?

 

Photo: Didriks/Flickr/Creative Commons


What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that comes in three forms of fat which the human body needs. However, it doesn’t produce much of it on its own, despite it being an essential part of the human growth process. The good news is that it’s fairly common in many foods, including some plants and fish. That means that you’re likely already eating it right now.

What does Omega-3 do, and why do we need it?
Omega-3 has been linked to many health benefits, from cancer prevention to bolstering overall cardiovascular health. Proven effects include reducing inflammation in the body, which can help reduce the time your muscles need to recover after a tough workout and decrease that chances of more unpleasant things, such as heart attacks. When consumed in roughly one to one ratio with Omega-6 fatty acids (pro-inflammatory fats found in many sources of saturated fat such as soybean oil), it can help rid your body of the latter. Omega-6 fatty acids are known to increase you chances of contracting a raft of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancer, asthma and low metabolism. This conversion is part of the principle behind Bulletproof Coffee.

Where can I get Omega-3?
Great sources of Omega-3s can be found in coldwater fish such as sardines, cod, salmon, halibut and flounder. These fish pack a ton of the fatty acid’s in them, and the body doesn’t actually need very much Omega-3 to pull off the aforementioned Omega-6 disappearing act. If you’re more a burger kind of guy, you can get a dose of Omega-3 from beef or milk from cows that have been grass fed, as opposed to fed with typical industrial feed. If you’ve gone veg, it also appears in flaxseed, lingonberry, kiwifruit and hemp. If you still feel like you need a boost, or you don’t have the time to plan your meals, fish oil capsules are the most convenient method of ensuring you consume a set amount of the stuff. However, these are rarely necessary if you eat a balanced diet.

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