Omega-3 fatty acids are important for our overall health as the body cannot manufacture them on its own. We need to eat foods which contain Omega-3 fatty acids, and balance this with our intake of other fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent the proliferation of some cancers, including breast and prostate cancers, and they improve our cognitive functions. This means that they may be able to help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer‘s and Parkinson’s and they can improve concentration levels. They also help to prevent the thickening of our arteries, and keep the cell membranes more fluid and flexible, In doing so they help to reduce inflammation throughout our bodies and so can help in the management of rheumatism and arthritis as well as other inflammatory diseases.
While helping the arteries they also increase the activity of endothelium-derived nitric oxide, which causes arteries to dilate and relax, and they improve blood circulation while reducing the amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. They also help to stop excessive blood clotting and so generally keep our heart healthy.
You may think that you have a problem with your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids if you hate fish, but this isn’t so. Omega-3 is found in flax seeds, and they have more of it than an equivalent amount of fresh salmon, which is usually thought to have a lot of these substances in it. Flax seed oil is good too and you can add a couple of spoons of flax seeds to your daily breakfast cereal, or nibble on them during the day to get your daily dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. Walnut with their skin intact also contain a lot of these fatty acids, and you can crush these and put them into pies to add flavor if you don’t particularly enjoy eating the skin.
Scientists in Norway ran a study which showed that people who took and Omega-3 supplement actually absorbed less of the substance than those who were given fresh salmon, which seems to suggest that it is better for our health to eat foods that contain Omega-3 rather than simply taking a dietary supplement.
So if you don’t like fish, what can you eat that has a good supple of Omega-3 fatty acids? Nut oils are good and walnut oil is excellent on salads, especially those which contain Kos or Romaine lettuce, which also has these good fats in it. Flax seeds and walnuts come top of the list, but steamed broccoli is useful and Brussel sprouts, kale, collard greens, cauliflower, dark green cabbage, soybeans, tofu, soy oil, sunflower, safflower and canola oils, summer squashes including the ash gourd, and raspberries.
It might come as no surprise to discover that the Mediterranean diet is rich in Omega-3 oils with its emphasis on whole grains and pulses, fresh fruit and vegetables and not much red meat. Leaves from the grapevine contain Omega-3 so you could make dolmades, or stuffed vine leaves with a walnut or flax seed and rice stuffing for a heart healthy meal. There are many foods which contain Omega-3 fatty acids, but they may not be the ones you would usually eat. However if you want to be healthy, perhaps you should think about ways of changing your diet so that it includes some of thee foods which will help you live a healthier life.
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