Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy growth and development, and also for general day-to-day functioning, but unfortunately, many of us suffer from an omega-3 deficiency. The reason for this is that the body is unable to produce omega-3 by itself, which means we need to ensure we’re getting all we need either from our food, or by taking omega-3 supplements.
Benefits of Omega-3
Back in the 1970’s, Danish researchers Hans Olaf Bang and Jorn Dyerberg surmised that the reason for low rates of heart disease among Eskimo populations was due to their diet, which consisted mainly of animal-derived fats required for living in cold environments. While the fat itself was beneficial for building energy and boosting warmth, the fatty acids in the fish seemed to be protecting overall health.
Here in the UK today, the official word – as published by the Government in conjunction with the Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition – is that a ‘large body of evidence suggests that fish consumption, particularly of oily fish, reduces cardiovascular disease risk’. However, there are more benefits of omega-3. It may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and help to ward off dementia, too.
Foods High in Omega-3
What foods contain omega-3? Some manufacturers are starting to add omega-3 to their produce, and you may now find it in foods such as peanut butter and bread, but the best source of omega-3 is oily fish, like salmon and tuna. These fish contain EPA and DHA fatty acids which are considered to be the two ‘crucial’ fatty acids for health, and the NHS advises that we should all be consuming two portions of oily fish per week. However, omega-3 supplements are much more convenient for a lot of people.