If I were to tell you that there’s a food that boosts heart health, improves vision, enhances memory and learning, and controls inflammation, wouldn’t you want to eat it every day? Omega-3 fatty acid-containing foods do all this and so much more.
However, there is a catch. These super molecules cannot be made by the body by itself. They can only be got from omega-rich foods such as fish and nuts.
Let’s understand what omega-3 is, what are does and how you can fit omega-3 sources into your diet. We can then explore how this fits into your thyroid treatment plan.
What is an omega-3 fatty acid?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that your body requires to perform various functions. Because your body cannot produce them, they are labeled as “essential”.
If you don't supply your body with omega-rich foods, it can cause various health issues like Alzheimer's disease, hypertension, heart disease, etc. These acids are essential to maintain optimal health for anyone.
Types of Omega 3 fatty acids
There are mainly three types of Omega 3 fatty acids:
ALA stands for Alpha-linolenic acid. Omega-3 sources with ALA include plants like kale, spinach, walnuts, soybeans, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, leafy vegetables, and some animal fat (specifically grass-fed animals).
DHA, and EPA
You can get EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) mainly from fish. These are also derived from ALA. They are called marine omega-3 fatty acids.
What do omega-3 fatty acid foods do?
Omega-rich foods have myriad health benefits that you may not have heard of. Let's have a look:
Combat depression and anxiety
Feeling low and tired occasionally may be normal. But when these changes last for a long time, they may indicate something more serious. Numerous studies suggest fulfilling the daily body need for omega-3 fatty acids to combat depression and anxiety symptoms.
Good sleep is the foundation of perfect health. Many diseases, like diabetes, obesity, and depression, are linked to a lack of sleep. Low levels of omega-3 can cause sleeping problems in children and obstructive sleep apnea in adults. So always check omega 3 fatty acids intake to improve your sleep quality.
Combat autoimmune diseases
In autoimmune diseases, your immune system attacks the cells of your own body. Omega-3 helps control inflammation in the body and hence, help control thyroid disorders as well. Taking enough Omega-3s reduces the risk of several autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and multiple sclerosis. It also helps treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis.
Protects you against the risk of Alzheimer's disease
The risk of Alzheimer's increases with age. To improve brain function, don't miss your omega-3 supplements daily dose.
Reduces period cramps
Most women suffer from abdominal pain and cramps during menstruation. Regularly consuming omega-rich foods helps relieve the pain caused due to menstruation.
Good for your heart health
Omega-3s are good for your heart health and even protect against stroke. Doctors claim that even 1g of DHA and EPA every day can help protect your heart. If you have high triglyceride levels, higher doses of up to 4g may be necessary. If you don't want to ingest supplements, fatty fish is the best alternative for omega-3 fatty acids. Which are some omega-3 sources that I can eat daily? I’m sure you are ready to include some healthy omega-3 fatty acid-containing foods in your diet. One of the most common misconceptions is that fish is one of the only rich omega-3 containing foods. So let’s start with some of the common vegetarian omega-3 sources:
- Flaxseeds, chia seeds
- Green beans, turnips
- Green leafy vegetables
Most of these are easy to include in your daily diet. Flax seeds and chia seeds can be added to salads and smoothies. Nuts can be eaten as an evening snack or before you exercise. Vegetables for a part of most major meals. Just make sure that you cool veggies such as cauliflower well.
Fish and fish oils are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Here are some options:
- Tuna fish
- krill oil and fish oil
Although omega 3 is essential for your health, consuming too much of it can increase the amount of fat in your body, leading to weight gain. After all, it is a form of fat. Too much omega-3 can cause high blood sugar, low blood pressure, bleeding, acid reflux, diarrhea, etc. especially if you are consuming fish oil supplements.
How to find a the best omega-3 supplement?
A few grams of omega-3 may not sound like a lot. But just think about it. You may just occasionally use half a spoon of seeds or consume a few nuts. Vegetables also contain omega-3 fatty acids in very small amounts. Is that sufficient to meet your daily requirement?
To make up for the difference, omega-3 fatty acid supplements are recommended. The medical advice is to start taking high-quality plant-based omega 3 like flaxseed oil, algal oil, and perilla seed oil along with essential vitamins and minerals to maintain overall health. Fish oil supplement is also a good alternative to provide high-quality omega 3 to your body.
Always pick a reputed brand to make sure you are not exposing your body to unnecessary toxins such as heavy metals or pesticides.
The bottom line
Omega-3 fatty acids have multiple health benefits. Omega-rich foods are especially beneficial with you have autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Grave’s disease. Apart from including these foods, you may also need omega-3 supplements. Your doctor is the only person who you should rely on to know how to take supplements correctly. There are many aspects to thyroid treatment including your diet. Thyroid experts can also help you get a deeper understanding of your dietary requirements at this time.
"Never put your health in the backseat. It is the motorist of your life."