Omega-3’s are a family of fatty acids found abundantly in certain nuts, seeds, vegetables and seafood. Our modern diets have resulted in dramatically lower intakes of omega-3’s over the past 150 years and scientific research shows that increasing omega-3 intake, especially from fish, improves health and prevents disease.
Fatty acids themselves are the basic building blocks of all fats found in food, just like bricks make up the building blocks of a brick wall. If these food fats are made up of saturated fats, they’ll be solid at room temperature. Alternatively, if they’re made up of unsaturated fats, these food fats will be liquid at room temperature.
These unsaturated fats are the healthy fats, or good fats, and are categorized into three types:
All three types of unsaturated fatty acids have health-promoting properties--with omega-3’s having the most research-documented benefits of the three.
Plant sources of omega-3’s contain the parent omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) while marine sources of omega-3’s contain the more potent omega-3’s eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Research confirms their impressive health-enhancing effects and, as a result, omega-3‘s are now added to many different kinds of foods (called Functional Foods) or found in omega-3 supplements (fish oils, algae oils, flax oil).