The Importance Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 

 

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About 15 years ago, I was bitten by a Deer tick and developed the tell-tale bulls-eye rash around the area. My first blood work done showed a positive result for Lyme’s disease. I had some joint swelling and pain in a couple of areas and was given a medication called Vioxx (which was taken off the market several months later because they found that long-term use of 18 months or more caused irreversible heart damage and death). The Vioxx was to fight inflammation and dull the pain.

Fortunately, I had an allergic reaction of face swelling when the doctor increased my dosage a few months into the treatment, and I took myself off of it. Less than a year later, Vioxx was pulled off the market. (I did not have any damage from it beyond an allergic reaction.)

I had been researching alternative treatments for joint swelling and started taking two Herbalife products called Joint Support (which has glucosamine and other herbs that work synergistically) and Herbalifeline (which contains Omega 3 fatty acids). Within 2-3 weeks my “discomfort” was completely gone, along with the swelling. A subsequent blood test showed a result of “borderline”, which was considered a negative result by the medical testing facility. My C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels had returned to normal. High CRP in the blood indicate inflammation–and my results in my first test showed very high levels.

Due to stringent FDA regulations, I am not able to claim that Omega 3’s and glucosamine actually healed my issues–but I can tell you my personal story. My results reinforced my belief in the power of good nutrition, vitamins/herbs, and spiritual care to balance our bodies so that they can repair themselves.

Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acids are important for brain health, cardiovascular health, and can help with with skin, joints, eyes, and all-around healthy aging. In addition, these fatty acids play an important role in fetal brain, nervous system, and retinal development. Adequate intake by the pregnant mother also helps to ensure a full-term pregnancy.

Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy has been associated with numerous benefits for the child, including (22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27):

  • Higher intelligence.
  • Better communication and social skills.
  • Less behavioral problems.
  • Decreased risk of developmental delay.
  • Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy. 

– Science-Based Benefits of Omega 3’s

 

Omega 3’s help with blood clotting, build cell membranes within the brain, help to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and they act as a natural anti-inflammatory.

good-bad_fats

Two crucial omega 3’s are EPA and DHA, and they are primarily found in the following fish:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Sturgeon
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

 

*Farm-raised fish may have a higher level of contaminants, so choose the wild-fish option whenever possible (such as wild salmon or wild trout). Eating 1-2 servings a week (no more than 7-8 oz. total per week) is optimal.

The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats). These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food. Foods high in Omega-3 include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.

What makes omega-3 fats special? They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.  – Harvard School of Public Health

 

ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts, flaxseeds, and dark green leafy vegetables. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but the body uses it in the production of energy.

 

 

Recipes for a delicious way to get your omega-3s:

Try Pan Roasted Salmon with Minty Snap Peas:

recipe-salmon (CuminSalmon.jpg)

 

Wild Salmon Salad:

Grilled salmon on plate

 

Herbed Salmon with Broccoli Bulgur Pilaf

Herbed Salmon with Broccoli Bulgur Pilaf

 

Spicy Grilled Tofu with Szechuan Vegetables

Spicy Grilled Tofu with Szechuan Vegetables

 

A commonly known superfood, acai berry fruit is actually richer in Omega 3′s than some types of fish per ounce (choose the raw, unprocessed version or the frozen. This fruit is also a great source of antioxidants known as anthocyanins that have been shown to prevent heart disease. Blueberries also contain these same antioxidants, but acai berries are the only berry to contain measurable amounts of Omega 3′s.

Blueberry Acai Super Smoothie

Blueberry-Acai-Smoothie-926x800 (1)

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