The benefits of omega 3 fatty acids are many, and they are well documented. Over the years, researchers have found that omega-3s can help with everything from heart health to preventing depression. While the news that it can help prevent mental health issues is not new, researchers are now finding out more about the brain mechanism whereby dietary choices affect your mental condition.
“We have observed that, in mice subjected to a diet low in omega 3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids, they have lower AGPO-3 brain levels, and this fact is associated with an alteration in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system,” says Doctor Susana Mato, one of the researchers at the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology of the University of the Basque Country.
For the layperson, the endocannabinoid system is involved in various physiological processes, such as appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
“Thanks to the results of this research, new possibilities are opened up for undertaking deeper research, such as how diet modifies the functioning of the brain in general and the endocannabinoid system in particular, and how this is linked to mental disorders,” says researcher Dr. Rodríguez-Puertas.
There is a lot of technical jargon surrounding the research, but you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out how to work in more omega 3 fatty acids into your diet. Cold water fish are the most common way people work omega-3s into their diet.
“The recommendation [for omega 3s] is two servings of fish a week,” says Laurie Tansman, MS, RD, CDN, a nutritionist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
The fish with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
If you want to get your omega 3s from something other than fish, flaxseed is the undisputed champion. While it’s available in many supermarkets, you may have to go to a store that specializes in health food, such as Whole Foods, or even a workout supplement store.
Put an ounce of walnuts on your dinner salad and you will get about 2.5 grams of omega 3s.
(via: Medical News Today)
February 9th, 2011