Omega-3s: A Powerful Nutrient
Smart dietary choices are integral to staying healthy. Along with focusing on a diet rich in produce and low in fats and sugars, making sure that certain essential nutrients are consumed regularly is critical. Found in a plethora of foods and available as a supplement, omega-3s are a vital component of a balanced diet, critical for ensuring that the body functions properly.
Where to find omega-3 fatty acids
Oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3s. For vegetarians and vegans, legumes, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans are a great source of the nutrient. Alternatively, if dietary choices don’t provide adequate omega-3s, people can supplement by purchasing a high-potency vitamin.
Omega-3s and heart health
Most people are aware that omega-3 fatty acids are critical for supporting heart health. Specifically, research has shown that people who regularly consume enough of the nutrient have a reduced risk of developing heart disease. Omega-3s are fantastic at reducing triglyceride levels, raising good (HDL) cholesterol levels, preventing blood clots from forming, and controlling the body’s inflammatory response.
Mental health benefits
While the heart health benefits are well documented and widely known even in popular culture, not all people know that omega-3s can also benefit brain health and overall mood. For people with clinically diagnosed depression, the powerhouse supplement also improves mood. Additionally, people with anxiety may also benefit by seeing an improvement in symptoms.
Improved brain function
Pregnant women are often encouraged to get enough omega-3s. The critical building block is essential for fetal development. Research has shown that when pregnant women consume enough of the nutrient, babies have better cognitive development, enhanced communication and social skills, fewer behavioral issues, and a reduced risk of developmental delays.
Lower ADHD risks
Research suggests omega-3 consumption can decrease the risk of an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. Various older studies also found that even in people with an ADHD diagnosis, taking omega-3 supplements can reduce symptoms by improving focus and lowering hyperactivity, impulsiveness, aggression, and even restlessness.
Eat up for better health
Omega-3 fatty acids are a critical nutrient that regulates a variety of bodily functions, from heart health to brain function and mood regulation. While multiple supplements often promote functional benefits, omega-3 fatty acids are a well-researched option with claims backed by science. Still, before adding a supplement to a daily routine, consider speaking with a physician or pharmacist who can offer individualized guidance.