What exactly is an Omega-3? Why do we need them? How do I make sure that I am taking enough?
These are some of the basic questions that I get when I recommend Omega-3s to anyone. Let’s start with the basics. What is an Omega-3? Omega-3s are what is known as a fatty acid and are part of the polyunsaturated fat group. Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) is primarily found in plant-based foods. Flaxseed, Walnuts and Brussels Sprouts are excellent sources of ALA. Next is Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), this along with its counterpart Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) are found primarily in fatty fish. Sardines, Salmon, Shrimp, Cod and Tuna are all good sources of EPA and DHA.
So, why do we need them? While each one individually provides its own benefit, combined they are the foundation for living a healthy life. Most of the ALA that you consume is stored in your cells as energy. However, it serves a much greater purpose as it is the building block for EPA and DHA. In a way, ALA is not important as EPA and DHA, and in another, it is the most important. Your body relies on
Let’s talk about your body’s internal functions when it comes to Omega-3s. Your body relies on prostaglandins, or messaging molecules, to ensure proper function of our inflammatory system. Why is this important, well, prostaglandins are made from EPA, and foods that are rich in EPA have been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory effects. While EPA deals with our inflammatory systems, DHA deals with our nervous system, particularly it helps our brain function. According to the book, The World’s Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan (2nd Edition), “DHA actually accounts for 9-12% of our brains total weight.” A healthy level of Omega-3s have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, can help with stiffness and joint pain associated with Rheumatoid arthritis. They have also been shown to help with lowering depression, baby development, ADHD, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and have been shown in some studies, when paired with a diet and exercise, to drop body fat by 25%. WebMD has so good information on how Omega-3s help and what they have been used to assist in. Click this link to go to their website.
So how do you ensure that you are consuming enough Omega-3s a day? Well, I’m glad that you asked. There are two options. Option 1 is consuming 8 oz. of wild caught salmon a day or 6.4 oz. of sardines a day, or eat 16 pouches of Starkist Albacore Tuna a day. Easy enough right? You know, I love fish, but even I am not willing to eat this much a day. Not to mention that there is no way that I could afford to eat 8 oz. of wild caught salmon a day. So, what is option number two you ask? Take a high-quality Fish Oil. Simple, convenient and doesn’t taste like fish. The consensus is that you should be getting at least 2.4 grams (g) per day of Omega-3s. When you purchase a fish oil makes sure that it contains at least that much in Omega-3s, but also that it has at least 400-500 milligrams (mg) each of EPA and DHA. For your ALA, make sure that you are eating your vegetable and enjoy a handful of walnuts.
When it comes to my Omega-3 supplement, I take 1st Phorm Full-Mega. In each 2 soft gel serving, I get 2400mg(2.4g) of total Omega-3s. I get 720mg of EPA and 480mg of DHA. Click here to get your own bottle of Full-Mega. You will not find a better fish oil/Omega-3 supplement on the market.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, be sure to join our mailing list by clicking the sign up for newsletter button. The emails contain fitness and supplement information as well as healthy recipes and workout tips. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook as well for even more content. Keep killing it and make 2017 your best year yet.