Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids) are considered essential fatty acids; they are necessary for the body to function normally but the body can’t produce fatty acids. You can get these fatty acids through eating foods like fish and other seafood such as algae and krill, some vegetables, and nut oils. There are several types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA are found in certain fish including salmon, sardines, tuna and halibut, and ALA is found in flax seeds and vegetables like kale and collard greens.
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and are essential to maintain normal cognitive and behavioral functions. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in preventing or lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer and prostate cancer, among others.
Studies show that nearly 99 percent of Americans do not eat enough omega-3 fatty acids. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, dry skin, joint pain, heart problems, poor circulation, and mood swings or depression. For optimal health, nutritionists advise people to eat a Mediterranean diet that includes fish, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, garlic, and moderate wine consumption.