No discussion of the world’s healthiest foods would be complete without talking about Omega 3 fatty acids. Nor would any diet be complete without Omega 3 fatty acids. These specific types of molecules play a vital role in our health and development throughout our entire life. Let’s take a closer look at these odd sounding nutrients to find out why they are so important.
First, let’s try to understand a bit of brain science. The brain is made up of about sixty percent fat. This fat is found mainly within the membranes that surround the brain’s nerve cells. The composition and chemistry of these membranes has a direct effect on chemical reactions in the brain. These chemical reactions are the brain’s signals. The influence that more Omega 3 in the fat has on these signals has been studied extensively. It is believed that Omega 3 fatty acids promote better and faster transfer of signals in the brain. Okay. I guess that means Omega 3 fatty acids are good for you. Let’s see how.
When your brain signals are working well, your whole body benefits. Besides brain health itself, other health benefits related to Omega 3s include inhibiting cancer cell growth, reducing inflammation throughout the body, prohibiting excess clotting in the blood, and reducing the risk of obesity by stimulating a hormone called leptin, which helps regulate metabolism and body weight.
While there is some speculation about the true power of Omega 3s in treating or improving things like mental disorders, heart disease, and cancer, many researchers still claim there are significant benefits to consuming foods that contain these vital fats.
If you live in Alaska, Taiwan, or Japan you may already be eating enough foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. The reason is that these populations routinely consume fish that is fatty, in a good way. Diets that contain fatty fish are continuing to show better results with respect to less inflammatory ailments and less obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
But, if you don’t live in one of those areas, you can still find plenty of the Omega 3s you need. These fatty acids are most prevalent in seafoods, with salmon, tuna, scallops, sardines, and trout being particularly rich. Other sources of Omega 3s are algae, krill, shrimp, and tofu, as well as certain nuts and seeds, like walnuts and flaxseeds.
Other vegetables and spices like cloves, mustard seeds, cauliflower, collard greens, and cabbage are good sources for Omega 3s. Even certain berries, like strawberries and raspberries, provide at least some of the same healthy benefits.
Generally speaking, eating a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables, lean meats, seafood, as well as nuts and berries, contributes to better health. This general guide just happens to include many foods that are naturally rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. That could be one of the simplest ways to supplement your good health, and it’s all right on your dinner plate!
Image: flickr user Common Pixels, licensed by Creative Commons
How to get more Omega 3 Fatty Acids: