Omega 3 Fatty Acids
So, you wanna talk about mmothh… fish oils? Good, me too! ?
There are a tonne of benefits from ensuring omega 3 fish oils are part of your diet. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which are the magic makers behind all the great health and performance (yes, so to athletes reading this you should take notes) benefits of eating oily fish or by supplementing with fish oils.
Ok, so in what way are they good for us?
- Reduce inflammation in the body that may be induced by exercise or other environmental stressors
- Support immune function and joint health (a lot more evidence supporting fish oils compared to glucosamine for joint health FYI)
- Improves our thinking ability
- Compliments the benefits of strength training
- Reduces heart rate at sub-maximal exercise intensities
Another reason that Omega 3’s are important in our diets in this day and age is because the majority of the food we eat are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. This is associated with many health implications such as different cancers and cardiovascular diseases for example.
The beauty about fish oils is that you can get enough EPA and DHA from your diet but here’s the catch (forgive me, no pun intended), you need to eat 3-4 portions of oily fish per week.
I get that fish isn’t for everyone and that 3-4 portions/week mightn’t be achievable for us also, in that case you may want to consider a supplement? Fish oils are sold in most local supermarkets so if this is something you decide to do that’s a good place to look. When it comes to dosage, an intake of 2000mg, twice daily, each intake to be accompanied by a meal. It is important to note that the health and performance benefits mentioned above occur over a few weeks so don’t be disheartened if you’re not seeing immediate improvements.
Ok so the above is all grand but what about those of us that don’t ‘do’ fish or fish oils? Algae omega 3 oil is a great alternative for my vegan and vegetarian friends as it contains a great source of EPA and DHA too. Flaxseed oil has been recommended countless times because it contains a fatty acid called ALA (alpha linolenic acid) which our bodies convert to EPA and DHA. However, it turns out we aren’t actually very good at this hence why algae omega 3 oil is a better option for vegans and vegetarians alike. And you thought I was forgetting about you!
So hopefully from this piece you can identify that Omega 3 Fatty Acids have a very important role in our diets. I will always recommend food first but no harm done for those of us who need a helping hand every now and again!
FYI – Examples of the fish that are the oily ones:
- Tuna steak
Where I got some of the above info from (aka references):
- Doughman S.D, Krupanidhi S. and Sanjeevi C.B, 2007. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Nutrition and Medicine: Considering Microalgae Oil as a Vegetarian Source of EPA and DHA. Current Diabetes Reviews (3): 198-203.
- JW Alexander, 1998. Immunonutrition: The Role of Omega-3 fatty acids (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9684267)
- Simopoulos A.P, 2002. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential amino acids, Biomed Pharmacother (56): 365–379