Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in your overall health. Everybody knows that, right? Well, considering many people’s dietary habits, we’re not so sure about that.
Of course, for the past few years, we’ve all been paying much more attention to our diets. We’ve turned our attention to organic foods and noticed that some dietary habits might have a negative impact on our health.
One of the most significant beneficiaries of that change has become omega-3 fatty acids. Every year, more and more people involve them in their diets, especially for the winter season.
But if you don’t know what omega-3s are and whether you should implement them in your diet this winter, you’ve come to the right place. In the following article, we’ll answer all your questions regarding omega-3 fatty acids and show you why it’s a good idea to increase their intake.
What Are Omega-3 Acids
Let’s start with the basics. You might’ve come across the name omega-3s, as more and more supplement providers advertise their products containing the acid. A good example is the hundred percent natural Primal Harvest Omega-3.
But do you know what exactly omega-3s are?
In short, they are a family of essential fatty acids that play crucial roles in your body and can provide you with many significant health benefits. Unfortunately, your body can’t produce them on its own.
The only way to get them is by implementing specific foods to your diet. You can find omega-3s mostly in fish oils, chia, or flax seeds, and walnuts.
The three main types of omega-3 acids are ALA, EPA, and DHA. More on them below.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is the first type of omega-3. Its primary source is fish, such as tuna, mackerel, or herring. However, you can also find it in microalgae.
Over the years, EPA has shown to be a fantastic solution in preventing and treating heart-related diseases. It’s also proven to reduce triglyceride levels.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most significant omega-3 acid. It plays a crucial role as a structural component in your brain, eyes’ retina, and several other body parts.
Just as with EPA, its primary source is fish oil, such as salmon or anchovies. The key thing to know is that your body can only make a small amount of DHA from other fatty acids. That’s why you should consume it directly from food and supplements.
It may not be as important as DHA, but alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) also plays a crucial role in the omega-3 diet. In fact, it’s the most common acid among other omega-3s.
Our bodies use it mostly for energy, but ALA can also be converted into DHA or EPA. However, the conversion process produces a relatively small percentage of DHA’s and the EPA’s active forms, making it inefficient.
Health Benefits of Omega-3s
Omega-3 acids come with many health benefits, both for your mental and physical well-being. And while some of them can come in handy, especially during the winter months, you shouldn’t limit their intake to just one season.
As various studies have proven, omega-3s can:
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve risk factors of heart and cardiovascular disease
- Reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome
- Fight autoimmune diseases
- Help prevent cancer
- Enhance bone and joint health
- Benefit your skin
- Improve mental health
- Fight age-related mental decline or Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the list doesn’t end there, and omega-3s come with many more positive effects on your overall health. Moreover, high omega-3 intake is probably one of the easiest and cheapest ways to effectively improve your health.
Why Increase Omega-3 Intake During Winter
As you can see, omega-3s help your body function properly, significantly improving your health. However, many experts believe that it’s best to increase omega-3 intake during the winter months. Why? Let’s find out.
Omega-3s Fight Anxiety and Depression
We all tend to feel down when the weather is cold and gloomy. It drives many people into anxiety and stress, which can often lead to depression. Interestingly, one of the best ways to fight such disorders is increased omega-3 intake.
There’s even a study that found EPA to be as effective as most regular antidepressants. And it’s the EPA that seems to be most effective among other omega-3s when it comes to fighting depression, anxiety, and other mental problems.
They Improve the Immune System
Keeping your immune system strong and healthy is crucial, especially during the winter season. And while omega-3s are mostly known for their anti-inflammatory properties, studies prove they can also boost your overall immune system.
Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Okay, you know the basics and the benefits. Now it’s time to learn where you can find omega-3s. Fortunately, it’s not very complicated, as there are many sources to choose from, even if you’re vegan.
The list of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Fish, especially salmon, herring, sardines, or mackerel
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
And what if you don’t want to consume fish, walnuts, or soybeans every day (or simply don’t like them)? Well, if that’s the case, then it’s best to consider taking omega-3 fish oil supplements.
Over the last few years, people have become much more aware of their eating habits. We’ve started counting calories, reading labels, and including more nutrients in our diets, including omega-3 acids.
In fact, they’ve become one of the most popular nutrients, and considering their many benefits; it’s easy to see why. Omega-3s come with many significant health benefits, both when it comes to mental and physical well-being. And if you’re looking for a way to boost your immunity during the winter season, increasing your omega-3 intake is one of the best ways to do that. Go to the nearest pharmacy, purchase an omega-3 fish oil supplement, and see for yourself.