Last updated on January 25th, 2019 at 11:32 pm

These days, Omega-3 can be seen anywhere from eggs to Kraft Dinner. But what is Omega-3? And why should we include it in our diet?

Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid necessary for proper bodily function. Perhaps you remember the days when mom would make you take that foul cod liver oil. That was her way of getting Omega-3 into your diet. However nasty it might have been, the benefits of Omega-3 beat the bad taste in your mouth.

Omega-3 fatty acids provide two essential functions in humans. First, they regulate cell membranes, allowing cells to receive the proper nutrition and perform efficiently. A strand of Omega-3, known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), is believed to increase brain health by allowing nutrients into the brain cells more efficiently. Second, Omega-3 is converted into prostaglandins which are lipids necessary in the regulation of swelling, inflammation and pain, among other important functions. If Omega-3 intake is inadequate, cells become less effective or dysfunctional, leading to cell starvation and chronic illness.

Omega-3 is a necessary component to our proper functioning. But the body doesn’t make these fatty acids on its own. We must obtain these essential acids through our diet or supplements. Flax seeds are a great source of Omega-3s. And some types of fish are high in Omega-3, such as tuna and wild salmon. Other products are enriched with Omega-3.

How are products enhanced with Omega-3 fatty acids? In eggs, for example, hens are fed ground flax seeds along with their regular diet. Flax seeds contain the Omega-3 fatty acids, causing hens to lay eggs containing higher levels of Omega-3. Other products that are enriched with Omega-3 often include fish oils, soybean oils or flax seeds.

According to research, eating foods that contain Omega-3 or taking Omega-3 supplements is an excellent way to keep your health in check by increasing organ efficiency, reducing joint and muscle pain and preventing common illnesses. Some people even claim that it improves their mood!

Common foods and supplements containing Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Flax seeds, flax seed oil
  • Fish oil
  • Dried chia seeds
  • Seal oil
  • Caviar
  • Sardines
  • Walnuts
  • Fresh Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Ground cloves
  • Salmon
  • Arctic char
  • Broccoli
  • Anchovies
  • Spinach

photo courtesy KeRmo @SXC.hu