Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary components of the cell’s building blocks. They are a family of essential fatty acids that play an important role in keeping your body and mind healthy and boosting immunity. As our bodies don’t produce these fatty acids, it is imperative that we get them from our diets.
The three important fatty acids are: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid). Fishes such as salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, trout, sardines, and herring are high in omega-3 fatty acids and should be consumed once a week. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are also present in food sources like nuts and oilseeds like Walnuts, Pistachio, Chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.
In COVID times, as an enhanced immunity is our only protection, including foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids has become extremely important. They give your body strength to ward off or stave off many diseases and keep you protected from COVID.
Lower Risk of Covid
People with higher omega-3 levels in their blood may have a reduced risk of death from Covid-19 infection; a new study suggested earlier this year. The findings, published in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, indicated that the relative risk of death was about four times higher in those with a lower omega-3 Index (O3I) compared to those with higher levels.
According to the researchers, an excessive inflammatory response referred to as a ‘cytokine storm’ is a fundamental mediator of severe Covid-19 illness.
Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) have potent anti-inflammatory activities, and this pilot study provides suggestive evidence that these fatty acids may dampen Covid-19’s cytokine storm, the researchers said.
Improve Post-Heart Attack Prognosis
Regularly consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, from both animal and vegetable origins, strengthens the heart’s membranes and helps improve the prognosis in the event of myocardial infarction, said a study published last year.
Published in the American College of Cardiology Journal, the research was conducted at Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Spain, using data from 950 patients.
The patients were monitored for three years after being discharged. The researchers observed that having high levels of omega-3 in the blood at the time of the infarction, which had been consumed in the weeks leading up to the heart attack, was associated with a lower risk of complications.
Omega-3 DHA is important for a healthy pregnancy
DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that is not synthesised by our body and must be obtained through a diet rich in seafood like salmon, tuna, and anchovies or through the intake of supplements. However, it is not typically derived from daily food intake in an adequate amount if you are following a vegetarian diet.
A human baby’s brain develops rapidly, especially during the third trimester in the mother’s womb till the first two years of the baby’s life. DHA is considered the building block of your baby’s brain as it amounts to 97 per cent of the omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain and 25 per cent of the brain’s total fat content. Because DHA is present in significant amounts in the brain and retina, it helps support the baby’s brain and eye development and the central nervous system.
In fact, DHA is not only necessary for babies but also for mothers. Optimal DHA levels during pregnancy support a full-term pregnancy as well as a healthy birth weight. DHA has also been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and support a mother’s healthy mood after childbirth.
Lack of Omega 3 in Diet May Trigger multiple sclerosis
A study has suggested that the abnormal immune system response that causes multiple sclerosis (MS) by attacking and damaging the Central Nervous System can be triggered by the lack of a specific fatty acid in tissues.
The finding, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggested that dietary change might help treat some people suffering the autoimmune disease.
In an article published by IANS, senior author David Hafler, Professor at Yale University, said, “We’ve known for a while that both genetics and environment play a role in the development of MS…This paper suggests that one of the environmental factors involved is diet."
Fat tissues in patients diagnosed with MS lack normal levels of ‘oleic acid’, a monounsaturated fatty acid found in high levels in cooking oils, meats (beef, chicken, and pork), cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, pasta, milk, olives, and avocados, according to the study.
(With Inputs From IANS)