• Photos of beautifully plated grilled salmon sprinkled with chia seeds and a side of herbed vegetables are doing the rounds of the internet nowadays. You think to yourself, this sinfully good-looking dish must be such a no-no for a calorie-conscious person! But the truth is, it really isn’t. In fact, it is an enriched source of omega-3-fatty acids, something that will keep your heart pumping, your brain functioning, your eyes working and lower your risk of heart diseases.

What Is Omega-3-Fatty Acid Really?

  • Omega-3-fatty acid is an essential fatty acid for your body. What we mean by essential is that your body needs it, but is unable to make it on its own. Therefore, you need to get all the omega-3-fatty acid from the food you eat.

How Can A “Fatty” Acid Be So Important, You Ask?

  • This fatty acid is an essential component some structures in the eyes, the nervous system, red blood cells and fighter immune cells of the body:
  • Omega-3-fatty acids form some structures in the eye that enable us to see.
  • It is known that people with low levels of omega-3-fatty acids in the body have problems with learning. (Ah! That’s where the connection between eating walnuts and learning comes in.)
  • Omega-3-fatty acids also act as essential messengers in the immune system. They help to regulate the communication between cells of the immune system during an inflammatory response.

Omega-3-fatty acids are also important in the prevention and management of many diseases:

  • Heart diseases and heart attacks are seen to reduce due to omega-3-fatty acids. Omega-3-fatty acid does not let plaques form in the blood vessels leading to the heart, thus keeping the heart function up to the mark.
  • Consumption of omega-3-fatty acids has also been linked to reduced levels of triglycerides in the blood, reduces hypertension and a decreased risk of thrombosis. Thus, it can prevent cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
  • Omega-3-fatty acids have shown benefits in individuals with psychological and behavioural problems too. They are seen to help children in the management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Research indicates that omega-3-fatty acids are useful in stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease as well. Further studies are being conducted to understand the effect of fatty acids on the brain of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Organisations like the American Diabetes Association recommend people affected with diabetes to make omega-3-fatty acids a part of their diet to help manage the disease.
  • Omega-3-fatty acids are moderately beneficial in the management of neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, depression, etc.
  • The benefits of omega-3-fatty acids are numerous. All in all, we can say they are an essential part of the human body and are useful in the functioning of nearly every organ, from the skin to the brain, and help manage many conditions, from heart diseases to joint pain.

So, Where Can I Get Omega-3-Fatty Acids?

  • Flaxseeds and walnuts are amongst the best sources of omega-3-fatty acids. So go ahead, sprinkle those little magical seeds on all your croissants and salmon! The oil extracted from walnuts or flaxseeds also works wonders. Other than these, dried chia seeds, canola oil, firm tofu, soya bean oil and mustard oil are also great vegan sources of omega-3-fatty acids.
  • If being vegan is not your thing, we still have some good news for you. Fishes are prime sources of omega-3-fatty acids. Fishes like salmon, mackerel and tuna have a high amount of omega-3-fatty acids. Some people even take fish oil supplements recommended by doctors, which work perfectly well too.

How Much of It Do I Need To Eat?

  • Adults typically should eat about 1.1-1.6 grams of omega-3-fatty acid per day. You can get this from less than 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil or chia seeds or just a few walnuts. If you prefer fish as your source of good fat, eat 100 grams of fish twice a week.
  • Now you know how to make that boring salad interesting! Crush up some tofu, drizzle some oil and decorate it with a sprinkle of mixed seeds! If the idea of a salad doesn’t seem appetising to you, maybe you can add a teaspoon of flaxseed oil on your peanut butter toast or mix it in your smoothie.

Can Too Much of A Good Thing Be A Problem?

  • Usually eating too much of omega-3-fatty acids is not a problem, but some cases of diarrhoea have been reported. Too much of fish in the diet can cause heartburn and nausea in a few people. Mercury in fish has also raised concerns in a few places worldwide, but we have other mercury-free sources of omega-3-fatty acids available too.
  • In conclusion, omega-3-fatty acids can do wonders for your body and help you lead a happy and healthy life. The next time you wish to make your dish fancy, sprinkle it with some chia seeds or add a dash of walnut oil to your smoothie! To know more about healthy fats in foods, talk to expert dieticians and nutritionists on www.healthassure.inYou can also talk to expert nutritionists on the HealthAssure app.

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  1. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids#pregnancy
  2. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/do-kids-need-omega-3-fats
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17290-omega-3-fatty-acids
  4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
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