Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid. As unappealing as that might sound, fats are a very important part of our diet. There are some fats which our body is unable to make on its own, and these are known as essential fats. It can be hard to find two of these essential fats, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a plant-based diet, and a deficiency can cause several health-related issues. The third essential fatty acid is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can be found in foods like leafy greens, making that morning green juice even better for you!
Traditionally, Omega 3 is associated with fish oil, but there are plant-based options, including our very own Liquid Omega 3. Much better for the environment, and for the fish. To find out more about Omega 3 and all the science-y bits, or if you find yourself asking “What are Omega 3 fatty acids?”, our guide will answer all of your questions.
As well as being linked with reducing the risk of colon cancer, keeping your heart healthy and reducing fat in your liver, Omega 3 is excellent for your outsides too; including your skin, nails and hair. We’ll be looking at 8 of the biggest benefits Omega 3 can have on your health!
1. Brain Health
The brain seems like an excellent place to start, as it’s the centre of all the body’s functions. Did you know that Omega 3 promotes brain health from before you’re even born?!
In pregnancy, Omega 3 is needed for foetal brain development and growth, and this carries through into early infancy. Babies born with higher levels of Omega 3 have been shown to have higher levels of intelligence and a decreased risk of developmental delays. Omega 3 has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children.
Throughout adulthood, around 25% of people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Omega 3 has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, with people who suffer from depression tending to have lower levels of Omega 3. Omega 3 has also been shown to be useful in relieving the symptoms of less common mental health problems, such as relapses in schizophrenia, mood swings in bipolar disorder, and violent behaviour which has been linked to low levels of Omega 3.
Finally, as we age, our brain function can degrade, and there are many people who suffer with dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. Omega 3 can help to protect and promote our brain function, and fight against the onset of dementia.
2. Eye Health
Your retina, the part at the back of your eye which contains light sensitive cells and gives our optic nerve something to work with, is largely composed of DHA. This means that higher levels of DHA in Omega 3 can promote eye health and prevent the leading causes of blindness, such as macular degeneration.
3. Heart Health
From reducing high blood pressure to preventing plaque build-up in your arteries, Omega 3 is good for reducing risk factors involved in heart disease. This includes lowering your triglyceride levels and raising the levels of HDL cholesterol – that’s the good kind!
And what about your blood itself? Well, Omega 3 fatty acids can help to prevent your blood cells from clumping together, reducing the chance of developing blood clots. In fact, for overall heart health, Omega 3 should be your go to, with ground flaxseeds and leafy greens providing a great source of ALA. If you find you struggle to get these foods in your diet, consider a plant-based supplement like Vivo Life’s Liquid Omega 3 to boost your DHA and EPA levels (with a fresh lemon taste, I’d like to add!).
4. A Healthy Immune System
A sturdy immune system is a vital tool in protecting our bodies against infection and staving off disease. Omega 3 can help the immune system to function correctly and has been shown to aid in the prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.
It has also been shown to lower the symptoms associated with Metabolic Syndrome, a collection of risk factors which can increase your chances of heart disease and diabetes reduce the risk of chronic inflammation. The immune system uses inflammation as a tool to heal infections and illness. On occasion inflammation becomes present in the body with no infection to treat, and this can worsen over time into other serious illnesses. Omega 3 has been shown to reduce the body’s creation of substances which are responsible for inflammation.
5. Healthy Bones and Joints
Higher levels of Omega 3 have been shown to reduce joint pain and may increase the level of calcium in our bones, strengthening them against osteoporosis. Joint pain relating to arthritis can also be alleviated by Omega 3 and, with rheumatoid arthritis being an autoimmune condition, Omega 3 can also alleviate the other symptoms associated with the condition.
For those of us who enjoy high impact exercise, giving some extra protection to your bones and joints is a must to prevent early onset damage and ensure good recovery.
6. Reduce Menstrual Pain
Anyone who has ever had cramp can, hopefully, understand the abject misery that comes with days of cramping in the pit of your stomach. Thankfully, Omega 3 is here to relieve some of that pain for you, so a good intake of Omega 3 should reduce the pain symptoms and let you get on with your day!
7. Healthy Sleep
I love sleep. Not being able to fall asleep, however, can be horrible. Especially when you have something important to do the next day.
Aside from being annoying, poor sleep is also linked to other health problems, such as obesity and depression, so getting a good night’s sleep is really important. Low levels of DHA are associated with low levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps to regulate your sleep cycle. Improving your levels of Omega 3 can also improve melatonin levels meaning that you should fall asleep much more easily, and have a better night’s sleep.
8. Healthy Skin
Let’s talk about skin. It’s the biggest organ of the body, is prone to cuts, scrapes and bruises, and is affected by the environment around you. For these reasons, and many others, it is so important to look after your skin, especially as a bad skin day can have a real impact on your mood.
Omega 3 prevents premature ageing of the skin, manages oil production (because no one wants an oily t-zone!) and helps to prevent acne. It can also help in treating psoriasis, another autoimmune condition which can affect the skin and scalp, making it dry, flaky and sore.
In short, maintaining a higher intake of Omega 3 can not only help to improve your health, but it can also aid in keeping you healthy – alongside a good diet and exercise, of course!
7 Plant Sources of Omega 3: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-Omega 3 s
Omega 3: What every vegan should know: https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/vegan-diet/vegan-nutrition/Omega 3 -what-every-vegan-should-know/
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats: https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrients/Omega 3 -and-omega-6-fats
17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-Omega 3
Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids:
Quantity and quality of sleep and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19910503/
Dietary fatty acids and colorectal cancer: a case-control study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17493949/
Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21784145/