The omega-3 are fats essential to our health. They must come from the diet, as our bodies are unable to produce them in sufficient quantities.
Our current eating habits (modern Western diet) are low in omega-3 and rich in omega 6which creates a ratio imbalance Omega-3/Omega-6.
This imbalance is harmful to our health. It must therefore be corrected by increasing our intake of omega-3mainly through diet.
Discover in this article the health benefits of Omega 3 as well as food that contain large quantities!
What is Omega 3?
Visit omega 3formerly known as "vitamin Fare polyunsaturated fatty acids (good fats) which are essential for the proper functioning of our body, particularly for the cardiovascular healthcardiovascular vision and mental health.
What makes omega-3s so special compared to other fatty acids is their chemical configuration.
Omega-3s are made up of several carbon atoms linked together not only by single bonds, but also by double bonds. double bonds.
The term "omega 3 simply means that the first double bond of the fatty acid in question is located on the 3thcarbon atom.
The three main omega-3s of interest to our bodies are:
- Octadecatrienoic acid or "alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): made up of 18 carbon atoms and 3 double bonds;
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)or "timnodonicconsisting of 20 carbon atoms and 5 double bonds;
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or "cervonicmade up of 22 carbon atoms and 6 double bonds.
L'alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) represents the precursor of the omega-3 family. From it, our body is able to synthesize the other two omega-3s (EPA and DHA).
Nevertheless, our body's production of EPA and DHA omega 3 from ALA is very low. That's why it's essential to supply them through the diet.
What are the effects of a diet low in omega-3?
Recommended daily allowance (RDA) for ALA: approx. 2 g for women and 2,5 g for men. Unfortunately, the foods naturally high in ALA are not widely available. According to several consumer surveys, our daily intake of ALA would be 2 to 10 times than the recommended daily intake!
For intake EPA and DHA, intakes vary greatly according to individual dietary habits, and in some cases may be higher than the average. virtually nil.
A diet low in omega-3s does not necessarily lead to symptoms symptoms.
However, it is not uncommon to observe these effects:
- Physical symptoms Physical symptoms: excessive thirst, frequent trips to the toilet to urinate, rough or even dry and bumpy skin texture, dry, dull or dying hair, dandruff and softened or brittle nails.
- Allergies eczema, hay fever and asthma
- Eye symptoms Poor low-light vision, sensitivity to strong light or blurred vision when reading.
- Attention problems distraction, poor memory and difficulty concentrating.
- Mood swings depression, anxiety.
- Sleep problems Insomnia or difficulty waking up.
If any of the above symptoms apply to you, it may be linked to a diet low in omega-3. Consult your therapist to find out whether a supplemental intake of omega-3 can reduce or eliminate these symptoms.
What are the health benefits of omega-3?
Visit omega-3 are involved in numerous bodily functions, so their health benefits are manifold. Here are just a few of them:
Omega 6s, which are present in large quantities in our diet, generate inflammation in our bodies. Eating foods rich in omega-3s will help to rebalance the Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio ratio and reduce inflammation.
In fact, the omega-3s we consume can be transformed by our bodies into a variety of molecules with different properties. powerful anti-inflammatory properties such as resolvinsresolvents maresines and protectines.
It's important to remember that inflammation is a physiological process which, among other things, serves to repair tissue damage after injury and fight various infections. It is when it is too intense or persistent that it becomes problematic, altering the body's functioning and favoring various pathologies.
Thanks to their power natural anti-inflammatory propertiesthe omega 3 help keep the body's inflammatory phenomena at acceptable levels, thus helping to:
- Reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack).
- Slow brain ageing and prevent cognitive decline.
- Fight obesity.
- Alleviate depression.
- Reduce allergic symptoms.
Protects the heart and blood vessels
A omega-3-rich diet helps improve the functioning of the heart and vessels blood vessels and significantly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
In fact, a low rate of cardiovascular disease has been observed in Mediterranean regions. of heart attacks infarctions (fewer heart attacks) and accidents strokes). Scientific studies have attributed this benefit to the Mediterranean diet, which includes a number of sources omega-3 fatty acids ALA, EPA and DHA.
Subsequently, it was demonstrated that this protection of omega 3 against cardiovascular disease had several mechanisms:
- Lower blood pressure: Arterial hypertension is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Omega 3s are capable of inducing a slight drop in blood pressure, which is beneficial for the health of the heart and blood vessels.
- Increased levels of HDL cholesterol: Omega-3s help balance blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. They therefore help combat the formation of atheromatous plaques in the arteries (clogged arteries), which are the starting point for most cardiovascular diseases.
- Increased blood fluidity: Omega-3s reduce platelet aggregability, i.e. they make blood more fluid and less likely to form clots that can obstruct an artery in the heart (myocardial infarction), brain (ischemic stroke), lung (pulmonary embolism) or limb (limb ischemia).
It has also been demonstrated that omega-3s have the capacity to slightly reduce heart rate. They could therefore contribute to post-myocardial infarction treatment as a complement to beta-blockers (drugs that slow down the heart).
It's important to remember that the prevention of cardiovascular disease depends above all on adopting a healthy lifestyle. healthy lifestylecombining a balanced and diversified diet with regular exercise. physical activity.
Contributes to healthy brain function
As well as being good for the heart and blood vessels, omega-3s are essential for brain function. In fact, our brain is made up of several tens of billions of nerve cells called "neurons. Like all our body's cells, neurons have cell membranes composed mainly of phospholipids including the DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid).
The DHA present in neuronal membranes plays a key role in the transmission of nerve impulses through the release of neurotransmitters.
Accelerated transmission of nerve impulses to the brain enables improved cerebral capacity such as concentration and memory.
Moreover, recent scientific data suggests that regular consumption of omega-3-rich foods (particularly oily fish) protects against certain neurodegenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease
Maintaining good vision
Visit Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are major constituents of the nerve cells of the retinathe part of the eye responsible for transforming light rays into nerve impulses that can be interpreted by the brain. They must therefore be supplied to our bodies in sufficient quantities on a daily basis to preserve our health. ocular health.
It has also been shown that a diet rich in DHA and EPA offers significant protection against age-related macular degeneration or "AMD (a chronic disease affecting the central part of the retina, which appears around the age of 50 and manifests itself as limited blindness - a black spot in the center of the visual field).
Improved skin health
Omega-3s have antioxidant properties properties for fight radicals free radicals (oxidative stress) responsible for premature skin aging.
They are also capable of improving certain dermatological pathologies such as psoriasis, acne and reactions reactions reactions.
In addition, by forming part of the skin's cell membranes, omega 3 helps to nourish the skinand maintain its health and protect it from external aggression (UV solar rays, pollution...).
Where can I find Omega 3?
For a middle-aged adult, the daily omega-3 requirements are as follows:
- 2.25g ALA (alpha-linolenic acid);
- 250mg EPA (timnodonic acid);
- 250mg DHA (cervonic acid).
Our current diet is far from meeting these daily requirements, so we recommend increasing our intake of omega-3-rich foods. The aim is to obtain a good balance between omega 3 and 6a ratio of 1/5 (approximately 1molecule of omega-3 for 4 to 5molecules of omega-6).
In order to meet these recommended daily doses of omega-3s, here's an example of how to achieve a good balance. list of foods that are particularly rich in them to include in your daily diet:
Oily fish are one of the richest dietary sources of omega 3! Here are just a few examples:
- Salmon: a 100g portion provides approximately 240mg ALA, 530mg EPA and 840mg DHA.
- Mackerel: a 100g portion provides approx. 200mg ALA, 1020mg EPA and 1940mg DHA.
- Sardines: a 100g portion provides approx. 570mg ALA, 1250mg EPA and 1790mg DHA.
- Tuna: a 100g portion provides approx. 215mg EPA and 293mg DHA.
- Swordfish: a 100g portion provides approx. 770mg EPA (no ALA or DHA).
- Sea bream: a 100g portion provides approximately 19.6mg ALA, 470mg EPA and 390mg DHA.
Overall, to fill up on omega-3s, nutritionists recommend eat oily fish twice a week (preferably fresh wild fish, richer in omega 3 than farmed or frozen fish).
As an added bonus, oily fish is an excellent source of proteins and vitamin D!
Nuts and seeds
Regular consumption of the foods on this list is recommended to increase your daily intake of omega-3s:
- Nuts: a small handful of walnuts (around 30g) provides between 2000 and 2500mg of omega 3enough to meet all recommended daily requirements.
- Hazelnuts: a 100g portion provides 50-60mg of omega 3.
- Pistachios: a 100g portion provides 435mg ALA.
- Chia seeds: a 100g serving provides 17.8g ALA.
- Flax seeds: a 100g serving provides 18.1g ALA.
Here too, it is recommended to consume a small handful of nuts two or three times a week to boost your omega-3 intake.
Seeds and nuts are also rich in vitamins (A, B, E) in minerals (iron, potassium, magnesium...) and trace elements (zinc, copper, manganese...).
Visit seafoodin addition to being an excellent source of vitamin B12, minerals and trace elements, are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Here are just a few examples:
- Scallops: a 100g portion provides 11mg ALA, 180mg EPA and 125mg DHA.
- Mussels: a 100g portion provides 30mg ALA, 10mg EPA and 340mg DHA.
- Oysters: a 100g portion provides 11,8mg of ALA, 300mg EPA and 200mg DHA.
Vegetable oils are particularly rich in omega-3s:
- Rapeseed oil: 7.5g ALA for every 100g of oil.
- Flaxseed oil: 53.3g ALA for every 100g of oil.
- Soybean oil: 7.3g APA for every 100g of oil.
Beware: even if these vegetable oils are rich in good fatty acids, consuming them excessively can lead to cardiovascular disease. It is therefore preferable to use them only as a seasoning, with a maximum of 2 to 4 tablespoons a day.
Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is certainly one of the best sources of fatty acids omega-3. It is also considered a dietary supplement.
Just one teaspoon of cod liver oilabout 5ml, provides the body with 1200mg of omega 3, including 400mg EPA and 600mg DHA! Enough to cover 100% of daily requirements of these two essential fatty acids.
What's more, this oil is very rich in vitamin D (it covers 200% of the daily requirement of this precious vitamin).
Other foods we consume on a daily basis are also important sources ofomega 3:
- Wheat germ;
- Whole milk;
Eating fish or cod-liver oil is not a habit for some people, so consuming food supplements is a must. food supplements omega-3 supplements are a serious alternative.
Capsules containing omega-3-enriched fish oils make it easier to consume these essential fatty acids.
As a complement to a varied and balanced diet, the Omega 3 supplement from the ABBGen is ideal. This supplement, based on Wild Alaskan Pollock oil, provides 2 capsules daily, 600mg EPA, 400mg DHA.
It therefore more than meets our daily requirements for the eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids so important to our bodies.