Featured Article: Why Should You Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids in your Diet

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most important dietary components. Research has shown that consuming these essential nutrients can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health, increasing your overall wellbeing.


Keep reading to find out why you should add omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.



What Are Omega-3 Fatty acids?


Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat known to be beneficial for human health. They are high concentrations in certain foods such as fish and algae. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of certain cancers, and improve cognitive function and mental health.


In addition, they may also help with eye health and normal growth and development. Moreover, Omega-3 fatty acids are essential and cannot be produced in your body from scratch. For these reasons, it is important to ensure that you get an adequate amount of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet from external sources.


What are Different Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?


Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat which have been linked to many health benefits. There are three main types of Omega-3 fatty acids:


  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA),
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).


ALA is found in plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. EPA and DHA can be found in both plant-based sources like microalgae, as well as animal sources such as fish, seafood and egg yolks. EPA is involved in processes related to inflammation while DHA plays an important role in brain development and function.


The body can convert ALA into both EPA and DHA, but the process is inefficient. Therefore, it is important to have a diet that includes all three types of Omega-3 fatty acids for optimal health benefits.



Why are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Important for Your Body?



Helps Prevent Cancer


Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lower cancer risk and better overall health. Studies suggest that omega-3s can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including breast, colon, and prostate [1-3]. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s may help slow tumor growth and prevent metastasis in certain types of cancer. Omega-3s also play a role in modulating cell signaling pathways involved in carcinogenesis.


Additionally, omega-3s are important for boosting immune system function and maintaining overall homeostasis in the body which could further contribute to decreased cancer risk [4].


Improves Bone and Joint Health


Recent research has shown that a diet with Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve bone and joint health. Studies suggest that these unsaturated fats can prevent the breakdown of cartilage in joints and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis.


Additionally, omega-3s play an important role in the formation of bones by aiding calcium absorption and improving bone mineral density [5]. This suggests that increased consumption of omega-3s could decrease the risk of osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases affecting bones and joints.


Reduces Inflammation


Omega-3 fatty acids have been extensively studied about their anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3s are known to reduce the production of inflammatory compounds in the body, which can help reduce symptoms associated with chronic inflammation [6].


This is beneficial for conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and other chronic conditions that cause systemic inflammation. Additionally, research suggests that omega-3s may help prevent some of the damage caused by prolonged periods of inflammation. By reducing levels of pro-inflammatory compounds and protecting tissues from oxidative damage, omega-3 fatty acids can play an important role in managing long term health complications related to inflammation.


Eye Health


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for eye health and play a role in preventing common eye diseases. Studies show that supplementing with omega-3s may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition leading to vision loss. Omega-3 also helps maintain healthy tears, which is important for comfortable vision [7].


The two main omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA plays an important role in overall eye health and development. At the same time, EPA supports the production of anti-inflammatory agents that can protect against AMD and other common ocular diseases.


Promotes Sleep


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients with numerous benefits. Studies have shown that they are important in regulating and promoting restful sleep [8].


It has been established that omega-3s are involved in the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone our bodies produce to regulate our natural sleep cycle. By helping to produce melatonin, omega-3s help to ensure we get better quality sleep when it’s time for bed.



Lowers the Risk of Age Related Diseases


Researchers have found that omega-3 fatty acids, essential for healthy bodily functions, may help reduce the risk of age-related diseases. Among these potential benefits are a lower risk for macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, and dementia [9].


Studies have demonstrated that individuals who consume higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids through diet or supplementation have a reduced chance of developing age related conditions compared to those with lower levels. Additionally, some research has indicated that omega-3s can help slow the progression of existing age-related diseases.


Which Foods are Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids?


As explained above, omega-3 fatty acids are essential, so external sources are its only source. Some of the foods rich in imega-3 fatty acids are:


Type of Seafood

Serving Size

Omega-3 Fatty Acids



2.0 oz


Catfish (farmed)

5.0 oz



3.0 oz


Cod (Atlantic)

6.3 oz



3.0 oz


Fish sticks (frozen)

3.2 oz



5.6 oz



3.0 oz


Mahi mahi

5.6 oz



3.0 oz



3.0 oz


Pollock (Alaskan)

2.1 oz


Salmon (wild)

6.0 oz


Salmon (farmed)

6.0 oz



2.0 oz



3.0 oz



3.0 oz



3.7 oz



2.2 oz


Tuna (albacore)**

3.0 oz


Tuna (light, skipjack)

3.0 oz


Table: Source: Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB. Fish Intake, Contaminants, and Human Health Evaluating the Risks and the Benefits. JAMA 2006;296:1885–99. 


Although, animal products are the main source of Omega-3 however, it can also be obtained from a vegetarian sources such as

Source (100 g edible portion, raw)

α-Linolenic acid
in grams

Nuts and seeds



Chia seeds (dried)


Butternuts (dried)


Flax seed


Soybean kernels (roasted or toasted)


Walnuts, black


Walnuts, English and Persian



Beans, navy, sprouted (cooked)


Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Spinach (raw)


Leeks (freeze-dried)




Radish seeds, sprouted (raw)


Soybeans, green (raw)


Soybeans, mature seeds, fruit


Avocado (raw, California)


Raspberry, Strawberry


Source: Amjad Khan W, Chun-Mei H, Khan N, Iqbal A, Lyu S-W, Shah F. Bioengineered Plants Can Be a Useful Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Biomed Res Int 2017;2017:7348919.




To conclude, omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient that should be included in your diet to maintain overall health. Omega-3s have been shown to have a host of positive effects on the body, including reducing inflammation, providing protection against cancer, improving bone and joint health, promoting better sleep, improving eye health and lowering the risk of age-related diseases. There are no major side effect if taken in moderation so why not give it a shot?




  1. Terry PD, Terry JB, Rohan TE. Long-chain (n-3) fatty acid intake and risk of cancers of the breast and the prostate: recent epidemiological studies, biological mechanisms, and directions for future research. J Nutr 2004;134:3412S-3420S.
  2. Theodoratou E, McNeill G, Cetnarskyj R, Farrington SM, Tenesa A, Barnetson R, et al. Dietary fatty acids and colorectal cancer: a case-control study. Am J Epidemiol 2007;166:181–95.
  3. Farrell SW, DeFina LF, Tintle NL, Leonard D, Cooper KH, Barlow CE, et al. Association of the Omega-3 Index with Incident Prostate Cancer with Updated Meta-Analysis: The Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Nutrients 2021;13:384.
  4. Gutiérrez S, Svahn SL, Johansson ME. Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells. Int J Mol Sci 2019;20:5028.
  5. Sharma T, Mandal CC. Omega-3 fatty acids in pathological calcification and bone health. J Food Biochem 2020;44:e13333.
  6. Pahwa R, Goyal A, Jialal I. Chronic Inflammation. StatPearls, Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023.
  7. Jiang H, Shi X, Fan Y, Wang D, Li B, Zhou J, et al. Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish intake and risk of age-related macular degeneration. Clin Nutr 2021;40:5662–73.
  8. Patan MJ, Kennedy DO, Husberg C, Hustvedt SO, Calder PC, Middleton B, et al. Differential Effects of DHA- and EPA-Rich Oils on Sleep in Healthy Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients 2021;13:248.
  9. Canhada S, Castro K, Perry IS, Luft VC. Omega-3 fatty acids’ supplementation in Alzheimer’s disease: A systematic review. Nutr Neurosci 2018;21:529–38.


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