Have you ever thought about how incorporating omega 3 in your diet could enhance your life?
Omega 3 fatty acids are being studied to identify the link between longevity (aging in better health) and cardiovascular health (1, 2).
What Is Omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of essential fat.
Essential fats are not made by the body but obtained through our diet.
This fatty acid is needed to perform many functions within our body. Such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in our brain (3).
A positive effect of this fatty acid is that it helps reduce inflammation.
“Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, help build and repair brain cells, and antioxidants reduce cellular stress and inflammation, which are linked to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease” (4).
There are three different types of omega 3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA is found in some vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and soy foods. While EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish, eggs, and organ meats.
You can incorporate an omega supplement; however, it is advised to incorporate a food-first approach when possible.
If you are incorporating a supplement, please work with your medical team to identify what will be best for you.
Weekly servings of omega-3 play a role in cardiovascular health and may be helpful with reducing cognitive impairment, age-related memory loss, and potentially reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s however more research is needed (5).
5 Top Food Sources for Omega 3s (Fatty Acids)
1. Fatty Fish
Types of fish include anchovies, herring, trout, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna.
With a variety of seafood options, you can incorporate a balanced diet while getting high levels of omega-3 which may assist in reducing memory problems and may increase cognitive function.
However, additional studies are needed with long-term clinical trials to identify a person’s chances of decreasing their dementia risk through dietary changes.
Can be eaten in the form of tofu as well.
Top choices include sesame seeds, ground flax seeds, and chia seeds.
Top choices of oils include canola oil and flaxseed oil.
Top choices of nuts include walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. Additional nuts that can be beneficial for overall health are cashews and almonds.
The good news is nuts can provide a healthy fat option that is quick and easy to add to your meal plan.
References for Omega 3s:
- “Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Increase Life Expectancy?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/omega-3-levels-in-the-blood-may-boost-lifespan.
- Rodriguez-Leyva, Delfin, et al. “The Cardiovascular Effects of Flaxseed and Its Omega-3 Fatty Acid, Alpha-Linolenic Acid.” The Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Pulsus Group Inc, Nov. 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989356/.
- “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.” The Nutrition Source, 22 May 2019, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/.
- Jibrin, Janis. “How Change in Diet Can Reduce Your Chronic Inflammation.” AARP, https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2019/diets-for-lowering-inflammation.html.
- “Omega-3 and Dementia.” Alzheimer’s Society, 30 July 2021, https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/omega-3-and-dementia.