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Diving Into Omega-3 Health

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A recent getaway to a warmer climate brought more than a respite from the winter doldrums – it provided an overall feeling of rejuvenation and frankly, a glow attributed to something other than the sun.

Upon returning I put some serious thought into why my body felt so refreshed, and being a food-obsessed creature, immediately turned to my diet for some answers.

Realizing the vacation menu consisted mainly of fresh fish and vegetables, it struck me just how beneficial my regimen high in omega-3 essential fatty acids was.  I was aware of a handful of positive attributes of omega-3’s like good skin, hair, nails and joints, but after further research, I found these acids are much more complex and beneficial than I had previously thought.

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered “essential” because our bodies cannot synthesize them alone, yet they are vital to the stimulation of good health. Originally found in algae, these invisible power acids come in three forms: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahedenoic acid (DHA).

The first strand is found only in plants, but once consumed, the acids are converted into EPA and DHA in the body where they are utilized in a number of beneficial ways: reduction of inflammation and blood clotting; regulation of weight and metabolism via insulin; and, most importantly, the maintenance of the fatty acid surrounding every cell necessary for holding water and nutrients in the human body. Both EPA and DHA are found naturally in fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines due to their diets of algae and plankton.

Fresh fish can be less of a necessity and more of a luxury in many people’s busy lives, but supplemental oils from salmon, flax seed and hemp — among other sources — can provide the desired effects. A personal favorite is Pure Wild’s Alaskan Salmon oil, as it also provides vitamins A, D, and E. Used with some citrus and herbs, this blend transports me back to my sun-soaked vacation, yet with time to do the dishes.

[Photo credit: Peter Rosbjerg]

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