Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid)

It's been weeks now that I keep talking about fish, seafood and a pescetarian diet.
Many fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines etc are high in the essential fatty acid omega-3. but Omega-3 fats can be found in other foods as well. (See below)
Most Americans are deficient in omega-3 due to the high consumption of over processed food! Consequently, their health is more likely to miss the benefits of those superb fatty acids while other nations with a diet high in Omega-3, clearly reap some remarkable benefits!

I read somewhere recently that in the 1970s a study was done on the Inuit ( Eskimos) of Greenland and scientist discovered that they were the healthiest people in the world. They attributed their great health to their diet that's very high in fat from eating whale,salmon and seal. They also had fewer health problem than other Europeans. So the scientists' conclusion was that Omega-3 was the determining factor in the Inuit people's superior health.  They barely suffered from coronary heart disease, arthritis, diabetes etc.

 I also read that people in Iceland were reported ( in the 1970s), to have the longest life expectancy, the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. In addition to that they have fewer problems with heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.  All those benefits thanks to Omega 3- fish oils.

Since I personally believe that nature offers us the best prevention and the best medicines from sickness and disease, I have disciplined myself in the past years to take advantage of nature's gifts.
As those studies cited above show,  Omega-3 fats are the good fats our body need and they have the incredible power to prevent us from many illnesses and keep us in great health.
Below, I am sharing a list of benefits from consuming Omega 3 fats and then sharing ways to add more to your diet. It's easy to do. Just increasing your intake to at least twice a week should allow you to take advantage of this natural gift to you.

First of all there are conditions that show a deficiency in Omega-3 fats. So you need more Omega-3 facts if you suffer from:
  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Joint pain
Omega-3 fats are benefiting to our health because they help promote:
  • Joints health and mobility
  • Healthier Skin and complexion
  • A stronger Immune system
  • Visual function
  • The ability to breathe
  • Positive Behavior in children
  • Function of the nervous system
  • Spatial function and spatial memory
  • Cellular communication
  • Weight maintenance as they reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body's ability to respond to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin. Leptin is an hormone that helps regulate food intake, body weight and metabolism. 
Omega -3 fats also help :
  • Reduce inflammation throughout your body
  • Keep your blood from clotting excessively
  • Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes
  • Lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream.
Well, I think this is enough for some of the benefits of Omega 3 fats, we could go on and on and be very technical but it will be well beyond the scope of this post.

Now that I mentioned how those good fats benefit you, here are ways to add it to your diet. Some of you probably do it with full awareness of those benefits, some of you might not know that some of the food you have been consuming have been so good to your body and some of you might be having a wake up call!
 So as you go grocery shopping here are some things to look for:

  •  Salmon
Rainbow trout!

  • Bluefin tuna mackerel, herring, and rainbow trout 

  • Anchovies and sardines. Little warning as they tend to be hingh in sodium  

  • Crustaceans such as Shrimp, mollusks, and Alaskan king crab are also excellent sources Oils. Like flaxseed oil  and olive oil.
  • Nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and flaxseed
  • Flaxseed oil is reported to have the highest content of linolenic acid
  • Winter squash
  • Beans. Some beans are better than others so look for pinto, kidney and mungo beans.
  • Papaya. Probably the only fruit  with more omega 3 than omega 6.
  • And last but no least spinach, broccoli and cauliflower
My top  favorite ways of adding omega 3 fats to my diet is with flaxseed and of course salmon.
I add flaxseed daily to my diet by adding some to my plain vanilla yogurt or to every one of my homemade smoothies!

If you are familiar with my previous posts you must know by now that my favorite way to add Omega 3 fats to my diet is dining in my favorite restaurants  J. Alexander's restaurant and F2O.  This past Sunday  I decided to do an 'autopsy' on my salmon sandwich because I was curious to know what made it so good, beyond the obvious.

Showing you what's left of this delicious sandwich before it disappeared in my hungry tummy

                                Now, doesn't it look yummy?! It's not just yummy, it's healthy!

So this is my favorite way of adding omega-3 to my diet! What about you? What's your favorite source of Omega-3? Do you see ways you could add more to your diet? Have you ever suffered from a deficiency of omega-3 fats? Which one of the conditions listed above (of deficiency) were more apparent in your life?


  1. This was a very informative post!! I take fish oil and it truly does make my skin look more hydrated. It is so important to eat healthy and since most of us have a busy lifestyle and don't take eat enough healthy foods, we really need to take supplements.

    I forgot about sardines and love them!! Salmon is a favorite fish of mine but fish can be expensive and unfortunately, eating healthy can cost more than many can afford.

  2. HI N'na - this was extrememly helpful. I have just taken a liking to fish even though my entire family loves it. I also take my muti- vitamins regularly - but do little otherwise. Time to change - Thank you very much for your post. My latest one is at http://kriti-howaboutthis.blogspot.com/2011/03/dads-diary-9-hitchhike.html

  3. Great and informative blog! I resonate with your writing. nancyinnerwisdom.blogspot.com

  4. @Kriti & Dede I am very glad you gained something from this post!
    @Nancy Thanks for the kind words I am a new fan of your blog you are right you resonate with me on a lot of things