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Life & Style
May 2 2012 9:34AM
 
The friendly good fat
THE GOOD STUFF: Oily fish like mackerel are high in omega-3. Picture: Gallo Images
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Clayton Swanepoel

When it comes to alternative medicine and mainstream medicine, it’s often tricky to get them to agree on a lot of things. One thing they do agree on, however, is that omega-3 oil’s fatty acids are essential for long-term health.

There are three different kinds of omega-3s; namely ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Despite their tongue twisting names omega-3s are vital for human health and wellness.

Research has shown that omega-3s help maintain and build a strong functioning body and help ward off a whole host of ailments.

The long list of benefits includes the reduction of inflammation, which helps prevent heart disease and arthritis.

Omega-3s improve the health of our arteries by reducing plaque build-up and clots, as well as playing a crucial role in the fight against high cholesterol as they assist in the reduction of bad cholesterol.

An important benefit of omega-3s for all ages and in particular young children and the elderly, is that it improves mental health by helping insulate nerve cells housed in the brain.

This helps the nerve cells communicate with one another better, thus improving and preventing a number of ailments like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and ADHD.

Few people know that omega-3s even have an impact on our bones. These fatty acids have a positive impact on our calcium levels and thus reduce the loss of bone density.

Those looking for a clear and healthy skin should check what their omega-3 levels are like, because these magical oils can improve acne, psoriasis and other skin disorders.

They also promote lung health, regular bowel function, menstrual health and can even help prevent certain types of cancer.

So where can you find these essential oils? They are widely available in a variety of supplements, but it is always best to get them straight from food.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed, canola oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, linseeds, walnut, seafood, cold water fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, herring, mackerel and halibut.

claytons@thenewage.co.za
twitter @clayton_js

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