Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Omega-3 fatty acids
are crucial for the development and function of the brain, eyes and nerves. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet promotes heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. They have also be shown to
: reduce blood clotting in the arteries and protect from hardening of the arteries; reduce inflammation and stiff joints in those with arthritis; improve symptoms of depression
; improve blood sugar levels in those with diabetes
; and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases like cancer
Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart and circulation problems and depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not only found in fish, nuts, seeds and oils. Fruits and vegetables that are good sources of omega-3s include: kidney beans, navy beans, tofu, winter and summer squash, certain berries such as raspberries and strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, romaine lettuce, and collard greens. Wheat germ and free-range beef and poultry (along with their eggs) are also good sources of omega-3s.
If foods rich in ALA are the only dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to limit saturated and trans fats in the diet as both can interfere with the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA.
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