The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You might have heard of ‘good fats’ or ‘healthy fats’ and often we hear about omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids but what do they do, exactly?
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Fatty Acid Basics
Fatty acids, at their most fundamental level, are a type of healthy fats that aren’t made by the body but is very important for the body for a lot of reasons including:
- Training Recovery
- Weight Loss
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduced triglycerides levels
- Reduced Rheumatoid Arthritis pain
- Potential to protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia
There are two types of fatty acids: Omega-3 and Omega-6. They are both polyunsaturated fats but omega-6 is easier to get through eggs, chicken and nuts while omega-3s are mostly present in fish, which not everyone eats, or eats enough of.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
There are three omega-3s. EPA, DHA and ALA—these are just the abbreviations for really long words that go along with it.
DHA and EPA are found in fish and ALA is present in walnuts and seeds/plants.
Your body converts ALA to EPA and DHA, but it takes a lot of it to get enough of EPA and DHA.
How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Benefit the Body in Training
While omega-3 fatty acids come with a host of benefits mentioned above, the top two for athletes or active people are training recovery and weight loss.
Recovering from your workout is crucial to your success. If you don’t recover quickly you can miss your goals, a workout and more. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after working out so you can stay on schedule.
Weight Loss—The Delicate Balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6
Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to suppress fat cell growth and inflammation associated with weight gain and aids in weight loss.
More importantly—high omega-6 fatty acids and low omega-3 is shown to cause weight gain.
A balance between the two is shown to induce weight loss.
So while you might be getting enough omega-6s, you might be hurting yourself, because if you aren’t getting enough omega-3s, you don’t have a balance between the two, studies show that imbalance causes weight gain.
What Are Good Food Sources for Omega-3?
Fish. Fish. Fish. Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines are all great sources. 1.5 pounds a week will get you there.
Leafy greens, seeds, and some nuts like walnuts are good sources. But, you need to eat A LOT to get the levels you need.
Grass-fed beef can also be a source, but watch your red meat intake.
Omega-3 Recommended Daily Intake
If you’re not a fish fan, 3 grams per day is recommended.
Some supplements claim to reduce the ‘fish burp’ side effect you might experience from supplementing with fish oil. We recommend trying those. Otherwise you might experience fishy belching and upset stomach.
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