When it comes to fats, there is one type of fat that is greatly valued for its umpteen health benefits is omega 3 fatty acids. The three types of omega 3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) abundant in fish and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), is widely available in plant sources. Not only does the body need these fatty acids to perform several functions, but also renders a ton of health benefits too. Also Read: Fat Can Be Good Too! Learn All About Omega 3
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Some of the powerful health benefits of adding omega -3 fatty acids in the diet include:
- Combat depression and anxiety
- Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improves vision and eye health
- Promote brain growth and development of infants
- Reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and fight inflammation
Several pieces of evidence strongly reveal that omega 3 fatty acids may help lower inflammation, reduce blood triglycerides and the risk of dementia. The most abundant source of omega 3 fatty acids are fish oil and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel which makes it difficult for vegetarians and vegans to meet their daily dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
Out of three types of omega 3 fatty acids, plant foods do contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), however, it is not active in the body and should be converted to the other two forms eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to suffice the health benefits. The body’s ability to naturally convert ALA is restricted and about 5% of ALA is only converted to EPA and less than 0.5% is converted to DHA. Hence it is pivotal to get a supplement with fish oil or eat a good lot of foods abundant in the plant-based source of ALA to meet the demands of omega 3 fatty acids.
Check out this infographic to get an overview of 5 plant-based sources of omega 3 fatty acids.