Boosting your immunity to combat disease can be achieved by adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. You may have heard of these fatty acids in terms of fish oils and supplements, but it’s possible to add them into your diet through natural food sources too.
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3s are types of essential fatty acids which have a key role to play in the human body and which offer several health benefits. Since they cannot be produced by the body itself, they have to be derived from your daily diet.
There are three key types of Omega-3s. These are:
- ALA – Alpha Linolenic Acid
- DHA – Docosahexaenoic Acid
- EPA – Eicosapentaenoic Acid
While the first of these is primarily found in plant-based foods, EPA and DHA are mostly found in algae and animal products.
Some common foods that have a high level of Omega-3s include fish oils, fatty fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
Whenever you think of the word “inflammation” you’re probably thinking about pain, and, in many ways, this is the case. Inflammation’s purpose is primarily to protect the place where an injury or illness has occurred. It encourages the body’s immune system to heal and repair damaged tissues. However, when inflammation is allowed to continue unabated, it throws biological functions out of alignment.
Usually, chronic inflammation is a painless condition and is characterized by damage from free radicals. It isn’t linked to a specific tissue, so could trigger all types of condition from autoimmune diseases to allergic reactions.
Nutrition has a pivotal role when it comes to fighting and preventing inflammation. There are several foods that are known to promote inflammation, including fatty meats, white bread, processed cheese and vegetable oils, but eating more anti-inflammatory foods supports the body’s own defenses against the damage caused by free radicals.
There is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that the Omega-3s that are found in oily fish helps to combat inflammation inside the body. Eating two or three portions of mackerel, sardines, tuna or herring each week may help you to combat disease and boost your immunity.
Good Dietary Sources of Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found occurring naturally in certain foods and may also be added to fortified foods. It’s possible to get plenty of Omega-3 in your diet by including these foods in your regime:
- Fish and seafood, particularly salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring
- Seeds and nuts like walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed
- Plant oils like canola, soybean, and flaxseed oils
- Fortified food like certain brands of yogurt, eggs, milk, juice, and soy beverages.