Omega-3 is a group of fat molecules. The prominent members are EPA and DHA. Our bodies can’t synthesize these essential fatty acids, so we must obtain them from food. Adding fish, nuts (especially walnuts), flaxseed, or chia seeds to your diet makes it easy to get omega-3.
Boosts Brain Function
Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), for example, ASEA VIA, are vital for the brain’s development. They are essential for healthy cognitive functioning in infants and children and have been linked to higher IQ scores and improved mental processing speed.
In one randomized controlled trial (RCT), a three-month fish oil supplementation led to significantly improved working memory, immediate visual episodic memory, and delayed verbal episodic memory compared to the placebo group.
This result was even more significant for those with low baseline DHA levels, suggesting that the omega-3 fatty acid composition of the red blood cell membranes is essential to the improvement of these cognitive domains. According to an online study, people with more omega-3 in their blood have larger hippocampal volume and better performance in abstract reasoning tests. This suggests that Omega-3 could help prevent age-related cognitive decline by reducing neuroinflammation and oxidative damage to the brain.
Prevents Age-Related Memory Loss
Omega-3s are well known for their benefits to heart health, but they also reduce inflammation throughout the body and brain and have been shown to increase cognitive function. Omega fatty acids are the main building blocks of brain cell membranes, and they help with signaling between neurons.
In a large study, those with higher levels of EPA and DHA in their blood were 41% less likely to develop dementia. These participants had lower rates of vascular dementia in which the brain’s blood supply is limited due to plaque buildup. Other studies have found that people with the APOE e4 gene variant may benefit from DHA supplementation to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
In these people, consuming DHA can improve memory and delay cognitive decline but does not reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease once they have developed. Fish, especially cold-water oily fish, can provide a good source of DHA. Try salmon, sardines, and trout. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3, and so are chia seeds and flax seeds. You can also get omega-3 from fortified eggs, milk, yogurt, and seaweed snacks like wakame and kombu.
Lowers Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Studies show that people who eat more Omega-3 have better focus and memory and a lower risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological diseases. This is because Omega-3 reduces the inflammation that can cause these diseases and prevents them from progressing.
Another benefit of Omega-3 is that it improves blood circulation to the brain. This helps deliver essential nutrients for brain function and eliminates the harmful waste byproducts that accumulate during normal daily functions. A high intake of Omega-3 has also been shown to lower the ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes.
This ratio is a crucial indicator of inflammation, and a low ratio is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3 is also known to decrease the production of inflammatory molecules and inhibit the accumulation of amyloid plaques, the leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties that aid in preventing and treating various health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, depression, and ADHD. These acids work by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines while regulating biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein.
The most potent immunomodulatory effects come from long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in fish oil. For individuals who cannot consume fish due to allergies or those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, plant-based sources like flaxseed offer the benefits of omega-3s. Add ground or milled flaxseed to your breakfast cereal, smoothies, or juices. The recommended daily dose is two tablespoons per day.