Omega 3 – The Essentials

Omega 3 - The Essentials

Need some motivation to include Omega 3 into your diet? This should do the trick!

What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a collection of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), found in fish, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plants. Unlike the saturated fats in foods like butter and meat, which can raise levels of unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol, polyunsaturated fats are healthier because they help lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

EPA and DHA are called essential fatty acids because the body doesn’t produce them. That’s why it’s important to get omega-3 fatty acids from food or from supplements. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in many different sources, including flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts and soybeans, but fatty cold water fish like salmon, herring and tuna seem to be the best ones [source: Mayo Clinic]. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it on large fish like shark, tilefish and tuna, which tend to be high in mercury. Pregnant women should definitely avoid fish with high mercury levels.

What does the research say about Omega 3?

Swedish researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial of a high DHA supplement in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease, providing a total of 2300mg of omega 3 fatty acids per day for 6 months. At the end of the study, those receiving the supplement had higher levels of DHA in their cerebrospinal fluid, along with reduced tau proteins and reduced inflammation.

This study proves that DHA supplementation in humans crosses the blood brain barrier and directly influences the metabolic problems of Alzeimer’s disease in a positive way. The study is relevant to any person wishing to preserve better cognitive function during aging.

What are (some!) of the benefits of Omega 3 supplementation?

  • Omega 3 helps to lower levels of cholesterol — the fatty, waxy substance that can build up in your arteries and form plaques that increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
  • They reduce levels of unhealthy fats called triglycerides in the blood by as much as 30 percent. High levels of triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • They decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats, or arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden death.
  • Omega 3 might help prevent blood clots from forming. Clots that break off and block a coronary artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. Clots that block the flow of blood to the brain can lead to a stroke.
  • They can slightly lower blood pressure, which is another risk factor for heart disease
  • Omega 3 reduces inflammation in the body, which helps prevent the arteries from becoming blocked.
  • They prevent the re-narrowing (restenosis) of coronary arteries after angioplasty surgery

Top Tip:

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