5 Reasons you should get more omega-3s, starting now

Aug 11, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. ET
Image: Arx0nt/Moment/Getty Images

You've likely heard that omega-3 fatty acids are a vital component of a healthy diet, but do you know why?

I caught up with Senior Research Nutritionist Dr. Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, at Nature Made® to find out how omega-3s can support a healthy lifestyle, and why you should start consuming more of this amazing nutrient, starting today.

1. They're great for your heart

The three types of omega-3s — which are called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) — have most famously grabbed headlines for supporting heart health. "Decades of clinical research on all three omega-3s, but particularly on the EPA and DHA in fish, has demonstrated their important role in heart health," says Ferira. The evidence that omega-3s support a healthy heart is so overwhelming that both the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority have approved claims that link omega-3s to heart health.

2. They support cellular communication

The state of the trillions of cells in your body and their complex communication pathways can either support or diminish your overall health. Omega-3s work at the cellular level by improving the structure of your cell membranes. "These omega-3 fatty acids provide membrane fluidity, which is important for a variety of cellular communications and functions," explains Ferira.

3. Pregnant or breastfeeding? They're good for baby

If you've gone through a pregnancy in recent years, you likely remember your doctor asking you to supplement your diet with DHA. According to Ferira, this is because omega-3s, particularly DHA, are involved in the normal brain and eye development of the fetus and infant.

4. Science suggests they support many areas of health

The jury is still out, but it's likely that omega-3 consumption is linked with many aspects of your health. Ferira shared that many decades of clinical research have clarified the important role that omega-3s play in heart health, but scientists are still investigating and bringing together the results of studies in other promising health areas. "Ongoing research on omega-3s is examining their role in a variety of other areas, such as skin, joint, cognitive, mood and eye health," she says. Since these healthy fats are so important in cellular health and communication, it only makes sense that they would be involved in supporting total body health.

5. Guess what? You're probably not eating enough

Here's the kicker — even though omega-3s are wonderful for your body, you're probably not consuming enough. Ferira explains national research data demonstrates that most American women are eating enoughof the plant based omega-3 ALA, but we are not eating the recommended daily 250-500 mg of EPA and DHA. "In fact, 99 percent of Americans fail to consume two servings of oily fish per week," Ferira says, which contain more than enough EPA and DHA to meet scientific recommendations. Oily or "fatty" fish examples include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.

If you want to start consuming more omega-3s, Ferira suggests you consume 1-2 servings of oily fish per week. "Alternatively, consider addressing your omega-3 nutrient gap with a daily fish oil or algae oil supplement," she says. If fish simply isn't your thing or to help fill the nutrient gaps in your diet, try supplementing with a daily multivitamin, like Nature Made Multi for Her plus Omega-3s Adult Gummies.

This post was brought to you by Nature Made®.

More about healthy diet

6 Foods to cut from your diet for significantly better health
Food and nutrients you should be eating, A-Z
8 Surprising foods that help you stress less