the incredible benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

the incredible benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

I’m not one to brag, but lately I’ve been really feeling good about my looks. My hair has become silkier, my nails are strong and grow quickly, and my skin is more even and has dramatically less breakouts. Have I started juicing every morning? No. Do I go to a spa for a facial once a month? No, the budget won’t allow it. Am I using horse shampoo? Not even close.

My secret? Omega-3’s. It’s a rare day that you’ll get me popping pills, but after reading a bit about omega-3 fatty acids, I decided to test out their strength. My long hair had been breaking a lot and my skin was temperamental, so I was game to try something that might fix those problems. After about a month of taking one fish oil supplement per day, I’m sold on the benefits.

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Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids that the human body cannot create itself. This means that we, as humans, must ingest omega-3’s through food sources or a supplement. These fatty acids come in three types: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These words are a bit confusing, but the basic thing to know is that ALA converts into EPA and DHA, but it is not as effective as just ingesting EPA and DHA itself. If you are already taking a supplement, the label on your bottle will probably indicate that the fatty acids are EPA and DHA.

You are probably muttering “Enough with the science talk!” so I’ll move on. There are tons of benefits that come along with including omega-3’s in your diet, so get ready for your mind to be blown. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body which can translate into lowering your risk for heart disease and arthritis, as well as easing the pain of asthma. Omega-3’s help sharpen your thinking skills and overall brain function. They may help lower triglycerides and raise your HDL (happy cholesterol) levels, lubricate your joints (great for all those creaky knees out there), help with the body’s calcium levels and rate of bone loss, and reduce pesky menstruation pains. One of my favorite (yet vain) benefits is the effect on the skin, helping to soothe acne and even psoriasis (we’re talking to you, Kim Kardashian!).

So what foods contain these precious fatty acids? Make sure to add walnuts, halibut, omega-3 enriched eggs, or cold-water fish such as salmon to your diet. Flaxseed is a good source as well, but make sure to eat ground versions of it as whole flaxseed might just get flushed out of the body. Flaxseed can be used in tons of recipes, and I know people that put it in their smoothies and yogurt. The stock in my refrigerator fluctuates every day, so in order to ensure I got enough omega-3’s, I decided to take a fish oil supplement.

While it’s always important to consult with your doctor before taking a supplement, I suggest you get going on it if you want to reap these benefits. I bought my supplement at Target and it was really inexpensive. Here’s to clearer skin and less inflammation!

source: Sparkpeople