You may have heard a lot about Omega-3 fatty acids. This article will help you understand what it is and the health benefits of Omega 3 for seniors.
You need to be very selective regarding the nutrients and supplements you take with old age. As a person ages, he begins to look for food supplements that can ensure wellness in his body. You may try tons of expensive medications. Still, nothing will seem to work if you do not correct the nutritional value of your food.
Today, we will explain the benefits of one such food supplement that can prove to be a game-changer. Omega-3 is something that your body cannot make on its own, but it has tremendous benefits for the body. You should include the food sources in your diet in which you can find omega-3 in ample quantities.
If you read through this article, you will understand what wonders can omega 3 do for you. We will also list the food sources and possible side effects of omega-3 for you. We will help you make an informed decision about the dosage and body requirements. Now, let us begin by first understanding what exactly omega-3 is?
What is Omega-3 Fatty Acid?
Omega-3 is the essential fatty acid that gives many benefits to the body. The peculiar thing about this fatty acid is that your body cannot produce it independently. You have to take omega-3 through various food items. These fatty acids are most important for the wellness of the heart and other vital organs.
But why has omega-3 got so much importance in the human body? It is because omega-3 is part of the cell membranes of the human body. Omega-3 provides the hormones you need in blood clotting, inflammation, and artery walls. These fatty acids can also bind to receptors to regulate genetic function.
There are mainly three types of Omega-3.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
ALA is the most common type of Omega-3 that you require. The primary use of ALA is in producing energy for your bodily functions. But, the most fantastic thing about this fatty acid is it transforms into other fatty acids. The fatty acid conversion process is inefficient as only a small percentage gets converted.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
You can find EPA in animal and dairy products. This fatty acid is essential for heart maintenance. EPA reduces triglyceride levels in the blood and is also an anti-depressant. Doctors claim that it also reduces the chemotherapy-related side effects, but there is no solid evidence. This fatty acid also reduces blood clotting.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
DHA is the most important type of omega-3 fatty acid. It is the main component of your retina, brain, and other vital organs. You can find DHA in animal and dairy products like EPA fatty acids. DHA is essential for maintaining the normal function of the adult brain. DHA deficiency can cause severe health-related problems like Cystic Fibrosis, ADHD, and other disorders.
Now that you know what omega-3 fatty acids are and their types. We will now tell you how vital omega-3 is for seniors.
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Benefits Of Omega-3 For Seniors
We will now list down the essential benefits of omega-3 for seniors. At the end of this excerpt, you will understand why you should include omega 3 in your diet.
Improves Respiratory System
Omega-3 is essential for seniors with respiratory problems like asthma or COPD. This fatty acid can release the airways, which get constricted due to medical conditions. Omega-3 is also important in breathing recovery after some mild exercises.
Research in 2020 justified the importance of omega-3 for the lungs. It would be best to put omega-3 in your diet to keep your respiratory system healthy. According to some studies, the benefits of omega-3 go as far as preventing lung cancer. Omega-3 will also make your body immune to the most deadly respiratory problems.
Enhances Mental Health
As the person ages, he gets caught by several mental health issues that may become permanent. Dementia is one such mental disorder that can deal a lot of damage to the wellness of an older individual.
Though Omega-3 will not cure cognitive diseases completely, it will delay the effects. Omega-3 also balances your body’s hormonal structure, which gets shaken with age. If you keep consuming ample quantities of omega-3, your hormonal balance will be good.
You are less likely to catch depression, insomnia, or nervous breakdown. Omega-3 also improves your memory, which gets worst affected by aging.
Strengthen Bones and Joints
The omega-3 derived from fish oil is beneficial in strengthening bones and joints. This fatty acid reduces the stiffness of the joints and relieves the pain. Omega-3 helps fight rheumatoid arthritis.
Those who consume more fatty acids have less stiffness of the joints. Omega-3 is a cheap solution for the permanent maintenance of bones and joints. You have to consume seafood and liver oil tablets in ample quantities.
It would be great if you also aimed at exercise and improving your diet to get good flexibility regularly. Consumption of Omega-3 without a balanced diet will not produce any visible results. Use omega-3 as a diet supplement, not as a whole diet.
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Many studies have confirmed that omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties. This fatty acid reduces the muscle inflammation that comes naturally with aging. You may have sore muscles in your old age that can reduce your mobility.
Doctors advise using omega-3 supplements to ease inflammation and enhance your mobility. Omega-3 has an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), producing prostaglandin hormones that reduce inflammation.
The application of COX in disrupting the COX-2 signaling is similar to the action of aspirin. The PUFAs present in omega-3 can also modulate inflammation and hypertension.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Omega-3 fatty acids like unsaturated fats are suitable for cardiovascular health. The inflammation-modulating behavior of omega-3 helps in maintaining the blood vessels. When blood vessels are kept healthy, the risk of heart-related problems also diminishes.
Omega-3 keeps blood pressure in check and reduces hypertension. This fatty acid also reduces the triglycerides in the blood. Many studies found that the coastal population that consumes more seafood is less likely to suffer from cardiac problems. Fishes are the number one carrier of omega-3. Salmon, sardine, cod are the few fishes rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
High triglycerides in the blood are becoming common nowadays—levels of triglycerides increase due to high blood sugar and insulin resistance. When they accumulate in the arteries, triglycerides cause heart strokes and cardiac arrests.
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce triglyceride levels by up to 20-30% in the blood. There are two types of medication to reduce the triglyceride levels in the blood, one with EPA and DHA and one with only EPA.
Omega-3 fatty acids control both types of cholesterol, HDL and LDL. If you consume omega-3 daily as a diet supplement, you will have a healthy and energetic heart.
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Studies have proven that if you include omega-3 in your diet, you will have a lesser risk of getting cancer. Mainly, omega-3 fights colorectal, lung, liver, and prostate cancer. Some studies also indicate that omega-3 can restrict the growth of cancer cells and make them self-destruct.
But these studies have no consistency in the results; the outcomes varied from group to group. However, one thing is confirmed; if you consume regular omega-3. If you start to take omega-3 later in age, you may not reap its total rewards. But it is never late to include a healthy dietary supplement.
Omega-3 has a profound impact on the immunity system of an individual. Omega-3 boosts the white blood cell known as the B cell, a critical part of the human immunity system. Naturally, with age, the body’s immune system starts to get weak, and you need supplements to keep it rejuvenated.
Omega-3 plays the role of an immunity booster very well. Omega-3 also impacts other bodily cells such as cytokines, macrophages, T cells, and dendritic cells. Regular intake of omega-3 makes sure that all the cells keep forming quickly in your body. Many doctors advise using DHA supplements for an individual with immunity disorders.
Rejuvenates Skin and Hair
Omega-3 can reduce the aging of the skin with excellent efficiency. They can regulate the oil production in the skin and ensure balanced hydration. Omega-3 can also ease up the rough skin and other skin-related problems common with senior ages.
This fatty acid also keeps your hair shiny and fabulous. White hairs in older ages cause itchiness in the skull; you can also prevent this by regular consumption of omega-3. You can also cure the condition of psoriasis by ample consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.
Dosage Requirements For Seniors
There is no official set dosage limit for omega-3 intake for seniors. However, the doctors have specific recommendations on how to decide the dose. Daily EPA and DHA consumption advice range from 250 to 500 mg.
But these numbers are also age-dependent. If you are in your 70s or 80s, you should stick to the lower spectrum of the number. Doctors do not advise seniors to take a very high amount of omega in the first place. The maximum recommendation is 250 mg.
In certain medical conditions like high triglycerides and high blood pressure, doctors may advise taking up to 15 gm of omega-3. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, doctors recommend you consume up to 10 gm of omega-3.
Can Omega-3 Have Ill Effects?
Most people have this doubt in their minds before switching to omega-3 supplements. Yes, there are a few side effects of using omega-3 supplements, but they are nothing compared to its benefits.
The few ill effects of omega-3 supplements may include
- Upset stomach.
- Fishy breath.
- Loose motions.
- It leaves a lasting bad taste in the mouth.
A maximum of these ill-effects result from poor diet and dosage management. Seniors already have poor digestion, and if you start taking the wrong dosage, these ill effects may worsen. Do not start taking omega-3 supplements on your own; consult a medical practitioner.
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Food Sources Rich in Omega-3
There are omega-3 supplements available in the market for consumption. But, here, we will talk about how you can find omega-3 in natural sources. We will list down naturally rich sources of omega-3 so you can have this fatty acid more organically.
ALA fatty acids are available in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola. You can include these oils in your food preparation and make your diet omega-3 rich.
You should also add blueberries to your diet as they have 0.25 gm of omega-3 per 100g servings.
Consume fishes like sardines, cod, herring, lake trout, etc., for your omega-3 requirements. Even the fish oil capsules available are made from these fishes. You can consume these fish to have omega-3 more organically.
Chia seeds, brussels sprouts, and walnuts are exceptional sources of omega-3 for vegetarians. Apart from omega-3, these food items also provide a good amount of fibers, protein, and minerals to the body. You can add them to your diet to fill all your nutrition requirements.
Omega-3 has fantastic benefits for seniors. This fatty acid is necessary for the wellness of the older body. There are tons of applications of omega-3 in the human body. It reduces the triglyceride level in the blood and prevents cardiac arrest. Omega-3 also works as an anti-inflammatory agent and improves the body’s vascular system.
Healthy veins lessen the risk of heart attacks in seniors. Omega-3 also has a positive impact on the mental health of senior individuals. This fatty acid reduces depression and promotes mental rejuvenation in seniors. Omega-3 also boosts the cognitive system of the body and lessens the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Omega-3 also impacts bones and joints positively. It releases stiff joints and improves mobility. For seniors who have rheumatoid arthritis, omega-3 can prove to be a game-changer. You can feel visible changes in your joints after regular consumption of omega-3. You can also put omega-3 in your diet by consuming blueberries, vegetable oils, and seafood.