Foods rich in omega 3: description, benefits and properties

Foods rich in omega 3: description, benefits and properties


I foods rich in omega 3, such as walnuts, flax seeds and seaweed, help to reach the daily requirement of this essential fatty acid and are useful for vascular diseases, for the nervous system, for sight and against free radicals. Let's see how important their presence in food is and where to find them to benefit from their precious virtues.


What are Omega 3?

Omega 3 or essential fatty acids (essential because the body is unable to synthesize them) must necessarily be introduced with the diet and must therefore never be lacking on our table. These "special" fatty acids act as precursors of substances that regulate various organic functions.

A good daily intake of these nutrients is able over time to significantly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and improve circulation. Many studies have found that omega-3 intake can help keep the body of postmenopausal women healthy.

In general, omega3s boast positive actions on the following body areas:

  • With regard to the view they control and decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration.
  • For obese subjects, omega3s they modulate LDL cholesterol levels in favor of HDL cholesterol.
  • In pregnancy, it is possible to naturally integrate omega 3s in the diet, facilitating and improving it development of cognitive skills and vision in the newborn and protecting the mother's health and boosting the immune system.

From specific researches it has emerged that the consumption of omega3 in a constant way in the daily diet has surprising effects on the cognitive development of children, on the fluidity of cell membranes and on the improvement of degenerative brain conditions in the elderly. Basically there is a mnemonic improvement, fluency and speed of language, ease of learning and ability in spatio-temporal orientation. These characteristics are mainly observed in children who have been fed omega3.

The amazing result is that the consumption of these acids weakens the predisposition to suffer from depression, dyslexia and some forms of mental disorders (schizophrenia).

Omega 3 are also used in the aesthetic field for what concerns the prevention of hair loss and for preserve youth of the skin by the action of free radicals (wrinkles and dry skin).


The foods richest in omega 3

The top foods in which we can find these precious essential fatty acids, or omega3, are fortunately just of vegetable derivation.

So carnivores and vegans can both find excellent sources of omega3 by staying true to their preferred food channels. Omega-3s are found in some types of fish especially in the "blue" one (cod, sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna). In addition, these fish are tasty and can be cooked obtaining pleasant results in a short time. So green light to the blue fish that must never be missing on our table and that replaces the classic less healthy steak.

For the consumption of omega 3 directly from the fish we must ensure that it is fresh and that the origin of provenance is controlled (risk of pollution). Unfortunately, most of the fish on the market is farmed. This is a significant fact because it contains decidedly lower amounts of omega3. Furthermore, in order to cover the daily ration we must plan our diet by increasing the consumption not only of fish but also of other foods where the omega 3 content is quantitatively optimal. This choice turns out to be the best because it makes us more aware of the quality and type of nutrition we should adopt to be healthy

Vegans and vegetarians (those who also exclude fish in their diet) can still benefit from it by safeguarding their health and strengthening the immune system by choosing sources of omega 3 from plants. A deficit in the daily omega-3 quota can in fact predispose to some pathologies linked to their deficiency. So let's see what the other sources are.

Linseed oil, linseed and tree nuts. Walnuts and flax seeds abound in omega3 essential fatty acids. Then we find the almonds and hazelnuts. The kernel of the walnut (which is the edible part inside the shell), resembles that of our brain in shape and is rich in alpha linoleic acid (an acid belonging to the omega3) whose benefits on the functionality of the brain are well known. An intellectually active brain fed with omega3 has a good chance of not suffering from memory deficiencies such as Alzheimer's.

To introduce at least six nuts every day in our diet it helps to increase the intake of omega3 and all the beneficial effects related to them. In addition, walnuts are rich in vitamins and minerals that complement any deficiencies in other nutrients. By eating these small fruits we will fill up with amino acids, B vitamins and folic acid (a nutrient that is friendly to women and essential for the formation of the unborn child). A good place to start is add them to breakfast in yogurt or as a fasting breaker in the mid-morning or afternoon snack and again to enrich salads, sauces to dress first courses and sauces to flavor appetizers.

Flax seeds are among the most nutrient-rich and omega-3 seeds. However, they are very delicate, so they should be consumed immediately because they oxidize easily when exposed to sunlight and heat. So they require the same storage caution as is reserved for flaxseed oil. How can these precious seeds be consumed? Flax seeds can be used exclusively by exploiting their healing properties if left to soak in water overnight, obtaining a liquid (properly drained and separated from the seeds) with refreshing and laxative properties for the intestine. Another way to eat them is to mix them with the dough of bread and focaccia but also desserts, biscuits and homemade muesli. If you love tasty cuisine they will be appreciated toasted and used instead of the classic "breading" on meats, fish and vegetables.


Foods rich in omega 3 among anti-inflammatory foods: discover the others

Algae. Algae are a rich source of minerals in general but also of omega3 in varying quantities depending on the type of algae chosen. It is quite easy to include algae in your daily diet. There are in fact algae that are well suited for consumption in salads, in soups or to make delicious appetizers or main courses. Their nutritional properties in general are excellent replacements for meat and fish. The particular consistency makes them versatile also for use in the kitchen as food jellies or "glues" to create desserts, puddings and semifreddo.

Vegetables and legumes. Green leafy vegetables contain good sources of vitamins and mineralsi but also variable traces of omega3. For this and other reasons it is necessary that their consumption is daily in order to optimize the quantities of those substances such as omega3 which are present in more modest quantities. Also a good way to cook vegetables is to combine them with fish in the same meal or in salads with walnuts, almonds and other seeds. The soy bean is a legume and contains omega3. The bean it is the most recommended form if you want to acquire a good share of essential fatty acids. In fact, its by-products (soy milk, tofu, yogurt) contain much lower percentages.

Wheat muscle is also rich in alpha linoleic acid, a precursor to omega 3.

To fill up on these nutrients, if the diet is lacking, it is possible to integrate with specific products even if they are a double-edged sword.


You can learn more about the properties of linseed oil, rich in omega 3


Omega 3 supplements

The omega3 they are not chemically stable. This means that they are sensitive to light and heat (degradation of the acids themselves), reasons why the storage and transport methods of natural omega 3 supplements and the richness of excipients and preservatives could affect their quality and integrity.

It is also not easy to check the quality of the oils used in these supplements. To have the guarantee to buy a good product it is advisable to ascertain the geographical traceability of the fish from which the oil is obtained in order to exclude the possibility that there are residual toxic substances (dioxins).

For the most part, the manufacturers reserve a too low standard quantity of active ingredient per capsule for supplements belonging to this category. In fact, the cost per gram of omega 3 is in itself too high to fully satisfy the requisites required by physiological needs.

Un good product must contain at least 60% purified EPHA which guarantees their consumption without health risks by eliminating or greatly reducing the potential carcinogenic substances that could be contained in fish due to environmental pollution.

The alternative to supplements and foods rich in omega3 are oils that contain them naturally or are enriched with them. The latter belong to the category of supplements and the suffix "enriched with omega3" is not always symptomatic of a good product or that the quantity of fatty acids contained are within the ranges required by the body and established by studies and research on the matter.

The use of oil is a good choice but some must be observed extra precautions for its optimal conservation thus avoiding that it oxidizes and goes rancid (oxidation makes the use of omega 3 harmful to our body).

The oil bottle (strictly glass) must be properly stored in the dark and in a cool place. Once opened, the bottle is kept in the refrigerator always closed with the cap and consumed in a short time (about thirty days).


Daily requirement

It is recommended to take omega3 in the amount of two to three grams per day for an adult subject whose caloric intake is around 1.800 daily calories. Children are often deficient in omega3 as they tend to exclude fish and vegetables (foods rich in essential fatty acids) from their diet.

A good tip for introducing fish or vegetables into their meals is to use culinary strategies to mask their original taste or shape by abounding with spices, aromas or combining them with the tastiest and most appreciated potatoes.

How can we achieve this quota of omega 3?

Contrary to popular belief, it is not just the intake of supplements that guarantees it. If we learn a select and add the foods that contain them to daily nutrition we can safely reach our daily omega3 requirement.

Pills or tablets on the other hand, especially if taken long-term, can strain the liver for the content of excipients and preservatives they contain. If we choose omega 3 through nutrition, the advantage is double: the foods that contain essential fatty acids are in fact also rich in other precious substances for the health of the whole organism and useful against neuralgia and inflammation.


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