In recent years, the marketing industry has been constantly promoting certain products in the form of nutritional supplements. If you also follow the news in healthcare, you certainly haven't missed the hype called omega-3. This text aims to introduce you to these fatty acids and to highlight the most important about their intake and, above all, what are their benefits for women's health.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats that also include its "brothers" omega-6 and omega-9. Essential are the fatty acids that the body needs but cannot produce on its own. Omega-3 enjoys most popularity due to the fact that it is associated with the most benefits, such as its positive effect on the brain, eyes, cardiovascular system, skin, hair and nails. Omega-3 has also been shown to be anti-inflammatory and can be beneficial for arthritis and even depression. Quite often, when we hear the many benefits of a dietary supplement listed like that, it doesn't take us long to buy it without thinking that not every omega-3 on the market can deliver the promised benefits.
This is so for several reasons:
- The dosage contained in the products. It is quite common to find products on the market that contain less than 1000 mg of omega-3. Such quantity is not enough to ensure the benefits of taking the product.
The solution: make sure the product you are taking contains at least 1000-1200 mg of omega-3, as DHA should not be less than 500-600 mg, and EPA not less than 300-400 mg, in order to ensure the benefits of the intake.
- When should we take omega-3? Omega-3 does not like its opposite fatty acids /omega-6/. That is why, in order to optimize our body’s ability to absorb the received omega-3, we must take food supplement that is rich in omega-3 and poor in its opposite acids.
- The solution: take omega-3 with main meal that includes fish, walnuts, flaxseed, etc. Avoid taking it during meals with dairy products or with products that rich in trans fats.
- Don't forget to also eat foods rich in omega-3. The idea that we can get everything we need is quite tempting, and people often assume that as long as we take certain nutritional supplement, that is enough for the body. It is important to give up this idea and to remember that nature gives us everything we need through the food, especially foods which are not isolated nutrients, but such that in combination with others ensure the optimal functions of the body. Therefore it is important to regularly consume foods rich in omega-3 and especially those that are sources of sufficient EPA and DHA.
- The solution: regular consumption of the following omega-3 sources:
- Salmon - 90 g contains 1.8 g of EPA/DHA
- Herring - 90 g contains 1.0 g of EPA/DHA
- Sardines - 90g. contain 0.9 g of EPA/DHA
- Omega-3 fortified milk - 250 ml. contains 0.01 g of EPA/DHA
- Omega-3 eggs - 1 egg contains 0.1 g of omega-3
Once again, remember that the recommended daily intake of omega-3 is 1.1 g for women and 1.6 g for men, and keep in mind the importance of the optimal proportion of the opposite omega-6, the quality of the product and the way we take it.
Author: Neli Pavlova - clinical food therapist and psychologist