At Empowered Fitness, we put a significant focus on nutrition education as it is such a huge part of successfully managing weight and enhancing overall health and fitness. So today we're going to take a look at Omega-3 Fatty Acids which research has shown to have almost miraculous effects on our health. In fact, it seems that hardly a week goes by without new information being released regarding the positive health benefits of regularly consuming omega-3 essential fatty acids.
First let's look at exactly what Omega-3 Fatty Acids are. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are fatty acids that are absolutely required for our bodies to function normally. And we can only get them through our diet. They are vital for such basic functions as energy production, cell membrane formation and proper hemoglobin manufacturing. This may not sound too meaningful at face value so a better way to look at it is that if you do not get enough of these fatty acids, you may experience fatigue, get sick more often, have gastrointestinal disorders, heart and circulatory problems, reduced growth rate and more. There is also research suggesting that a deficiency in these fatty acids plays an important role in the development of many common diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis and asthma. To put it plainly, these fatty acids are "essential" for our basic health!
So how do we get Omega-3s in our diet? If possible, the best way to get these acids in the recommended amounts is to eat cold water fish 2 or 3 times per week. Fish such as anchovies, bluefish, herring, mackerel, salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed), sardines, sturgeon, lake trout, and tuna have the highest amounts of Omega-3s. We have so many options here on the coast for getting fresh fish both in the store and at restaurants that I won't even bother listing specifics. However, one way to have a fun outing as well as get the freshest fish around is to go directly to the Pillar Point Harbor and buy them right off the boat! The fish are seasonal so be sure to call the fishfone (yes, it's really called that) at 650-726-8724 to see what's available.
There are also plant sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids such as walnuts, flax and flaxseed oil, canola oil, olive oil, and soybean oil. However, plant-based sources are a less accessible form of Omega-3s (i.e. it takes more work on our body's part to make plant based fatty acids usable). Also, you can see by the list of sources that they tend to be higher in calories and it can be easy to overindulge.
Not everyone is able to practically eat cold water fish 2 - 3 times per week. So another way to get these fatty acids are through fish oil supplements. This can be a great way to get the benefits of Omega-3s without needing to focus your diet so heavily on fish.
However, be sure that you get only the highest quality supplements as quality varies. In fact, Dr. Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz Show had ConsumerLab.com test 24 fish oil supplements for quality because of the vast differences in the market. Be sure you do your homework and only go with the best!
Whether you eat plenty of fish or take a supplement, please consider Omega-3 Fatty Acids a necessary part of your nutritional routine! It has been proven to have great beneficial effects on our bodies and is just another way to help you stay healthy and vibrant for a long time to come!
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