What are omega3 fatty acids? There are several different types of fat in the foods that we eat. Some of them are essential to the diet and contribute to good health. Others cause disease.
According to the World Health Organization, some of the saturated fats, specifically myristic and palmitic acid, increase the risk of heart disease. A possible risk is associated with lauric acid. They may also play a role in cancer.
The CDC has said that Americans need to continue to work to reduce their intake of saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends that no more the 7% of your total daily caloric intake is from saturated fats. Some common sources of saturated fat include butter, ground beef and cow’s milk.
On the other end of the scale are omega 3 fats. These are good for your health. They are needed by the brain, the heart, the eyes, the joints, the skin and the nerves. It is recommended that we substitute omega 3s for saturated fat in the diet, in order to improve our health, our weight and reduce our risk of heart disease and cancer.
The best sources of omega-3 fats are fish. So, you might substitute fish for other meats that you usually eat. Of course, if you fry them, they aren’t that healthy.
Plant foods contain an omega-3 known as ALA. But, the body needs DHA. Low levels of DHA have been associated with a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s and ADHD. The body can convert ALA to DHA but the process is slow and inefficient. Most healthcare practitioners recommend a daily fish oil supplement that provides DHA, because most people don’t get enough in their diet.
A daily fish oil supplement helps reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering blood triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels. Omega3s are good for cholesterol. They carry bad cholesterol out of the bloodstream and back to the liver for disposal or reprocessing.
Are omega3 supplements all the same? There are hundreds of different brands on the market. The best choices are those that are molecularly distilled and sourced from small fish that are low on the food chain. They are least likely to contain contaminants.
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The only health concern with eating more fish is mercury and PCB contamination. Some of the best choices for eating are anchovies, Arctic char, mackerel, hoki and wild salmon. Hoki fish oil is a good choice for supplementation.
There are omega3 fats in flax seed oil, but they are only ALA. Research has shown that ALA supplementation does not increase blood levels of DHA. Check the labels. You want DHA and EPA in relatively large amounts in order to get the health benefits.