Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that belong to the group of essential fatty acids. This means that our body can not only form them in sufficient quantities, and therefore we must enter them with food or in form of food supplements. Omega 3 fatty acids consists of three fatty acids, namely α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Given that omega 3 fatty acids are essential, they play a very important role in the growth and development of the organism. It is recommended to represent at least 1% of the whole day energy input.
Omega 3 fatty acids protect us against cardiovascular diseases.
The main sources of omega 3 fatty acids in food are oily fish, such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. Plant foods do not contain eicosapaensenic and docosahexaenoic acid, but contains α-linolenic acid, which is decomposed into the body in these two fatty acids. This one is found mainly in flax seeds, chia seeds, spinach, kiwi, cranberries and some other foods. For people who do not eat fish it is advisable to introduce as many foods rich in α-linolenic acid.
Omega 3 fatty acids have many positive functions for our body. Some of these are:
- enable the proper development of the brain and nervous system,
- they reduce the level of "bad" LDL cholesterol and hence the risk of developing cardiovascular disease,
- increase the fluidity of cell membranes and the transmission of intracellular signals,
- reduce the formation and elimination of inflammatory mediators,
- protect cells against damage caused by free radicals.