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Articles  >>  Omega 3 protective Influence

The Protective Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid


Think of the Northern Sea. Deep water, freezing. There are fish living in the water, whales and other animals. How do they survive in such low temperatures. How is it that their blood doesn’t freeze?
The answer is simple - it’s thanks to their fat.
A layer of fact protects against the cold, but that isn’t the secret. The secret lies in the composition of the fact, which is unique to animals which live in very cold water - the Omega-3 type of fats.

The Omega-3 fats don’t freeze, and that is how these fish manage to exist in such cold water. A wonderful food chain … the fish eat seaweed, which turns into Omega-3, and we eat the fish, thus benefiting from these good and healthy fats.
Healthy?
For the heart, for the blood pressure, to prevent strokes, for fetal development during pregnancy and for mood boosting (there’s a reason why these fatty acids are called ‘the Prozac of the Deep’…)

Protection against heart disease
How is it that Eskimos eat meat which is rich in fat and cholesterol, but are not prone to heart and vascular diseases? Why is the incidence of heart diseases low in Japan? The reason is - because of the dietary habits of people living in these areas, primarily those that live near the North Sea, which is rich in fish. The effect that protects the fish from heart disease is attributed primarily to the content of Omega-3 fatty acids. In research based on data from a study that encompassed 2,738 healthy Finns, Dutch and Italians between the ages of 50 - 69, the protective effect against heart disease was attributed to fish oils, which are particularly rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
The effect of the Omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of heart disease has been documented in hundreds of studies. One of the largest studies (350,000 people were interviewed) took place in the U.S.A., and indicated an inverse relationship between the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids and all causes of death, mainly from heart disease. The preventative effect of Omega-3 fatty acids on mortality from heart disease is attributed to a number of mechanisms: the effect on blood lipid levels, lowering blood pressure, decrease in the clotting of blood, prevention of arrhythmias, anti-inflammatory action and relaxation of the blood vessel muscles.

A pronounced effect of Omega-3 fatty acids on fats in the blood is the decreased level of triglycerides in the blood. The level of triglycerides decreases significantly and consistently, with the most significant reduction being when the level of triglycerides is higher than normal. The decrease depends on the level, and can be achieved by means of nutrition, by eating fish.
The effect of Omega-3 fatty acids the on sudden drop in death from heart attack is attributed mainly to its impact on the reduction of arrhythmias.

Preventing and Treating Depression
It has long been known that the level of Omega-3 fatty acids is low amongst people suffering from depression. The connection between Omega-3 fatty acids and depression has been examined in dozens of studies, and in most of them it was found that the higher the level of Omega-3 fatty acids, the lower the prevalence of depression. Moreover, the addition of Omega-3 fatty acids to the diet is effective as a means of treatment.
A study that took place in Finland and was published in 2001 found that the likelihood of depression and suicidal thoughts amongst the general population was distinctly lower amongst people who frequently eat fish. Those who eat fish less than once a week were found to be 31% more prone to severe depression. The results of this study are consistent with those of a study reviewing 265,000 Japanese people, which covered a 17-year period and which also showed a decrease in the danger of suicide amongst people who consume fish daily, in comparison with those who ate fish much less often.

Improvement in Arthritis
Many studies have proven that Omega-3 fatty acids result in an improvement in the condition of people suffering with arthritis: lessening of pain in the joints and lowering the consumption of anti-inflammatory medicines.

Development of Fetus and Baby
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the development of the brain and lungs in the fetus. The baby gets the fatty acid from the placenta and from the blood stream of the mother, and for this reason it is important for Omega-3 to be part of the mother’s diet.

Advantages during Breast-feeding.
It is also important that women who are breastfeeding will have a diet that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, as the development of the brain and lungs evolve rapidly during the first year of the baby’s life. The World Health Organization has also called for milk-replacement formulas to be enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids. Most women in Israel eat relatively small quantities of fish, or refrain from eating fish altogether, due to their fear of contaminants in fish. For this reason it is important to avoid eating raw fish, and to eat only fish that come from safe sources, and which have been properly cooked.

Not all fish are rich in Omega-3. The fish that are richest are those from the North Sea: Salmon, Mackerel, Halibut, Cod, Sole, Tuna and Sardines. There are also a number of plants that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are not identical to the fats found in deep-sea fish, and their health benefits are not the same as those described in this article

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