5 Science-Backed Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies support benefits of these important fats. Here's what omega-3s do for you -- and the best ways to add them to your diet.
Thanks to their many benefits, omega-3 fatty acids have become a popular topic in nutritional health. These "healthy fats" are found in many food sources, and there are many popular omega-3 supplements on the market.
From lowering your risk for heart disease to helping with anxiety, it's easy to see why many people may want to boost their omega-3 intake. But are these benefits legitimate? And are there any downsides to omega-3s or their supplements? We'll look at the science to help you sort it out.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, are an essential part of the human diet. Unlike other fats that the body is capable of synthesizing (called non-essential fatty acids), omega-3s can't be made from scratch. They're vital for various bodily processes, such as making hormones for blood clotting, artery contraction and relaxation, and genetic functions. In other words, we need omega-3s, and we can only get them from food or supplements.