omega 3 benefits

Today, I want to talk to you about something super important for our overall health – omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits. These little powerhouses play a huge role in keeping us feeling our best, but they’re not always easy to get enough of through our regular diet. That’s where omega-3 supplements come in handy, especially if we’re not getting at least three servings of omega-rich foods each week.

It’s all about balancing omega 3s and omega 6s.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this omega-3 and omega-6 ratio thing. It’s all about finding the right balance between these essential fatty acids. Our bodies can’t produce them, so we have to get them from the foods we eat. Back in the day, our ancestors had a pretty balanced ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, usually around 1:1 or 1:2. But modern diets have messed with that balance, and now we’re getting way more omega-6s than we need, causing inflammation in our bodies.

So, here’s the deal – try to avoid cooking with or consuming too much sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, and canola oil. They’re hiding in many restaurant dishes and packaged foods, so it’s good to be mindful of these sneaky culprits.

On the flip side, we should be upping our intake of omega-3s from sources like fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. These little wonders are anti-inflammatory and work wonders for our health.

Experts recommend aiming for a ratio between 1:1 and 1:4 of omega-3 to omega-6 for the best results. But remember, it’s not just about the ratio – the absolute amounts of both fatty acids matter too. So, try to cut down on those unhealthy omega-6s from processed foods and opt for more omega-3-rich whole foods instead.

But what are the benefits of omega-3s, you ask? 

Well, for starters, they’re fantastic for our brain function. DHA, one of the omega-3s, is like a brain booster. It helps with cognitive performance, memory, and learning – super crucial during pregnancy and infancy when our brains are doing some serious growing.

Omega-3s also do wonders for our eye health and have anti-inflammatory properties that keep our bodies in check. They even help improve joint health and might have positive effects on mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

The benefits don’t stop there! Omega-3s are fantastic for our skin, keeping it healthy and radiant. During pregnancy, these little wonders are vital for fetal development, especially for the baby’s brain and eyes. Plus, they’re like superheroes for our hearts, reducing the risk of heart disease and related complications.

Now, how can you tell if you’re not getting enough omega-3s?

Watch out for signs like dry and irritated skin, brittle hair, joint pain or stiffness, brain fog, depression, dry eyes, and fatigue.

Remember, there are two main types of omega-3s – EPA and DHA. EPA is excellent for whole-body support, while DHA is crucial for brain health. So, aim for a mix of both if you can.

A food-first approach is always the best way to go.

Try to include sustainably sourced and wild-caught fish in your diet. It’s essential to know where your fish comes from to avoid ingesting harmful substances like mercury and plastics.

Unfortunately, most fish are full of heavy metals, like mercury, and contain high-levels of plastics, and “forever chemicals” like PFAS. I recommend using this tool as a guide for finding the best sources of seafood.

Non-fish sources of omega-3s include:

  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Kidney Beans
  • Soybeans
  • Walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, don’t worry – you can still get your omega-3 fix from algae oil. And if you’re considering fish oil supplements, choose a reputable brand like Metagenics and Nordic Naturals. I have recommendations on my Fullscript page so feel free to check that out!

How much omega 3 should I take to see benefits?

The NIH’s recommended daily intake for total omega-3s is 1600 mg for adult males and 1100 mg for adult female adults. The recommendation is higher for pregnancy and lactation.

Some studies suggest omega 3 benefits in 1000 mg or higher taken twice daily. And some research even shows that 2000 mg twice a day can improve mood and brain health. You’ll have to do your own research and consult with your primary care provider to figure out what’s best for your unique needs.

Occasionally, someone may experience a case of the fish burps. You can keep your fish oil in the refrigerator or freezer to help prevent this!

So, let’s make sure we’re giving our bodies the omega-3 love they deserve. Whether it’s through a balanced diet or a little supplement support, our health will thank us for it!

As a functional medicine nurse consultant, I help my clients determine if they might find benefits from omega-3 supplementation. I dive deep into their health history, current health situation, and we create a customized plan to help you achieve optimal wellness.

If you are ready to investigate the root cause of your health problems and start your healing journey, sign up for my weekly newsletter which is full of practical tips for improving your health.

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Abby (1)

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I'm Abby— a Registered Nurse and Functional Health Consultant. I assist clients in identifying the root cause of their health problems, begin healing, and attain optimal wellness. Book a free consult to learn more about my services!

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