Some people say that Omega-3 is among the most important nutrients. Among the elderly, a lack of certain Omega-3 fatty acids is connected to impaired mental functioning and an increase in the risk of death.
For the rest of the population, Omega-3 is believed to support heart health. In fact, patients who survived a heart attack are advised to supplement their diets with Omega-3 rich fish oil to dramatically reduce their chances of having another heart attack or stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a fat that is stored in your blood cells and high triglycerides contribute to increased risk of heart disease.
The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful in preventing or improving the symptoms of a range of diseases, including heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, breast, colon and prostate cancer, Crohn’s, Parkinson’s and lupus.
With such a contribution to health, how can you ensure that you are getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet? There are animal based sources and plant based sources of Omega-3s.
The main animal-based sources are fish (especially tuna and salmon), fish oil supplements and krill oil. The main plant based sources of Omega-3s are chia seeds and flax seeds, including flaxseed oil.
Chia seeds are small seeds that range in color from white to black. They have little taste and add a crunchy texture to smoothies. They can also be used in simple chia seed pudding recipes like this one.
It’s important to note that unground flax seeds cannot be digested, so they need to be ground before eating. Once ground, flax seeds can be added to bread doughs, soups, quiches and other dense foods without changing the taste. Flax seeds can also be made into gluten-free crackers, using recipes like this one. You can add vegetables, spices and sauces to give your flax crackers a taste you’ll enjoy.
A final note. Many people confuse Omega-3 with Omega-6. Both are necessary for optimum health, but many people already get too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3 in their diets.
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at email@example.com.