There’s been a lot of hype about omega-3 fatty acids and its ability to help with joints and heart health, among other health benefits.
But are omega-3 fatty acids really that important?
As a certified personal trainer who’s been working in the industry for the last 10 years, I’ve seen a lot of gimmicks. I’m not about to jump on some health craze-bandwagon just because someone said so.
So are omega-3 fatty acids really rich in “awesome health benefits,” or is it just a scam trying to get you hooked? (pun intended 😉 )
What’s the Deal with Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
First of all, what the heck are omega-3 fatty acids?
Well for starters, they’re made up of other fatty acids like DHA and EPA (these two, in particular, have been studied a lot for the many benefits they provide).
And even though the word “fat” has gotten a lot of flack in the past, one of the most important things you should know about omega-3 fatty acids is that they belong to the group of essential fatty acids that are in the “good fat” club.
When I say essential, I don’t mean essential as in “these are really nice to have,” I mean essential as in, “your body can’t make this type of fat.”
Some things your body needs but just can’t make itself.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of them. You HAVE to get omega-3 fatty acids from the food you eat or the supplements you take.
The Many Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
So our bodies don’t make omega-3, big deal right? Actually, it is a big deal considering all the way that our bodies need and use omega-3.
Omega-3 fatty acids benefit some of the most crucial areas of your health. Let’s go over some of them!
Stiff, achy joints are common concerns among some of my weight loss clients. This can for sure get in the way of achieving weight loss results and cause additional challenges along the way to feeling great.
Omega-3s have been studied and are known for their ability to help reduce joint inflammation in order to reduce joint pain. That doesn’t mean that your joints are going to be magically healed.
This does mean that you’ll be supporting your joint health. Certain studies have shown a reduction in joint pain and stiffness by supplementing with omega-3.
Omega-3s help to support joint health and reduce pain by reducing inflammation. But it’s not just specific to your joints. Omega-3 fatty acids are great at reducing inflammation in general which is important, here’s why:
Inflammation can be damaging to your body. It’s painful, tiring, and it’s bad for your weight. When you can reduce inflammation in your body you can improve your health.
When I say that omega-3 helps your cardiovascular system, I don’t just mean your heart. It really helps the whole system. The American Heart Association reports that omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. Who doesn’t want that!?
Another study from the American Heart Association shows that omega-3 helps reduce blood pressure as well. Which is a huge problem in America so I’d definitely call that a win. Improving your cardio health will help keep you active and burning more calories.
You might be asking yourself how fish oil will help your skin. It almost seems counterintuitive. Mom’s across America have been telling their teens for ages to lay off the oily foods if they want better skin. But remember fish oil is a healthy fat.
A double-blind trial found EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid) to significantly improve skin conditions. A separate clinical study observed reduced inflammation in 67% of acne patients. Research has connected the fatty acids in fish oil to healthy hair and skin.
Some experts say we NEED omega-3 fatty acids in order for our bodies and brains to function. For example, one study showed that brain injury improved when patients took an omega-3 supplement.
An ABC news article said that our brains are 60% fat, and the vast majority of that fat is an omega-3 called DHA.
How to Get Omega-3 Fatty Acids
With all of the research to back it up, it’s clear that omega-3 fatty acids are legit: fish oil isn’t fishy (again, pun intended!).
As I mentioned before, you can only get omega-3 fatty acids from the food you eat or a supplement. The World Health Organization recommends 200–500mg of EPA and DHA and chances are you’re not getting enough.
Which is why supplementing your omega-3 intake is a great option.
As far as supplements go, I recommend IdealOmega. It’s affordable and with 360mg EPA and 240mg DHA, IdealOmega will help you easily reach your daily omega-3 needs.
You should still aim to eat a high omega-3 diet so here are a few foods that are a great source!
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
Why an Omega-3 Supplement Could Be the Perfect Solution
Taking a fish oil supplement is an easy way to get a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids in pill or oil form, rather than via natural sources. Granted, omega-3-rich foods like the ones I mentioned above may stumble into our diet every now in then. But probably not every day.
A supplement like IdealOmega is more affordable, too, if we’re going for a daily dose as many health organizations suggest. And let’s be real. Many high-omega foods aren’t the cheapest.
Experts, including Mayo Clinic, even advocate supplements as good daily sources of omega-3s.
The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Wrap Up
At first glance, fish oil might seem a little fishy, but there are a lot of studies to back up the fact that omega-3 fatty acids make a big impact on our health. They benefit many of the areas of our health that are curial to weight loss.
I mean, if you don’t have a healthy heart or healthy joints getting more active to get in shape is pretty difficult. And while omega-3 fatty acids aren’t going to cure any diseases, there’s a strong correlation that they help to prevent certain health issues.
So what’s the verdict? I’m hooked! Omega-3s are a great supplement to add to your regimen to help improve your health in many areas.