2013-08-02 / Sports

Jen’s Fitness Forum

By Jen Font de Bon

I believe that optimum health and happiness is rooted in maintaining a well-rounded balanced lifestyle. Living consciously, finding moderation, staying active, and maintaining a diet rich in whole nutritious foods helps us feel our best, and if we as individuals are good, everything around us will be better because of it.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the many health benefits of Omega-3s. But do you include them in your diet? Do you know how to get them from foods? And do you really understand why they’re so important?

Omega-3 is a collection of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that help the body function correctly. They are recommended for people of all ages, as well as pregnant women. The following are some of the nutritional benefits you can reap by including Omega-3s as part of your balanced diet:  Omega-3s, especially those found in fish, are essential for brain health and growth.

They encourage cognitive and intellectual development, while improving memory, learning, and concentration. Children who consume Omega-3s tend to perform better in school and have less behavioral issues than those who do not.  Omega-3s support cardiovascular health by slightly lowering blood pressure. Also, they may even prevent blood clots from forming.  Omega-3s decrease the level of triglycerides (unhealthy fats) in the blood by as much as thirty percent. Elevated levels of triglycerides have been associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.  Where the fats found in foods such as butter and red meat can raise levels of unhealthy cholesterol, polyunsaturated fats help lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the body.  Omega-3s reduce the risk of arrhythmias, or abnormal heartbeats, which can lead to sudden death.  People who suffer from arteriosclerosis or arthritis can benefit from daily doses of

Omega-3s, as the fatty acids fight inflammation of joints and reduce stiffness.

Studies show that taking Omega-3 supplements can improve symptoms of arthritis after just a few months.  Omega-3s are important for optimum skin and hair health. Keep your locks luscious and skin hydrated with these essential fatty acids. (You can use them on your cats and dogs too!)  The polyunsaturated fatty acids help protect vision and reduce the risk of developing age-related eye conditions.  Omega-3s lower the risk of respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Studies show that adults suffering from exercise-induced asthma who begin to take Omega-3 supplements experience a substantial improvement in lung function after only a few weeks.

It’s extremely important to make sure you’re getting Omega-3 fatty acids through foods and supplements because the body is unable to produce them on its own. Also, Omega-6 fatty acids, which are abundant in modern diets, must be in balance with Omega-3s to maintain optimum health. The following are some good food sources of Omega-3 fatty acids:

 Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Herring, Anchovies, Shellfish)
 Egg Yolk
 Rabbit
 Canola Oil
 Flaxseed
 Almonds
 Walnuts
 Soybeans
 Edamame
 Beans
 Squash
 Green Leafy Vegetables
 Wild rice
 Avocados
 Strawberries
 Raspberries

*Always consult with your doctor before introducing new supplements into your diet.

Questions, comments? E-mail: jennifer. fontdebon@gmail.com

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