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      Let’s do a quick refresher, first: polyunsaturated fats are one type of “healthy” fat. And omega-3 fats are one class of polyunsaturated fats. (The other polys are omega-6 fats.) Then, within the group of omega-3s, there are three main fat types: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

      The health benefits of omega-3 fats

      There are a lot of touted benefits of omega-3 fats and having adequate levels in the diet and blood—from improving insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes to cancer prevention to warding off depression. The catch, though, is that much of the research is looking at eating omega-3s, not supplementing with omega-3 capsules or oil—and what exists is not clear cut, at least not yet. 

      The following benefits, however, are backed with the strongest scientific findings, per a 2018 review study published in the journal Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. 

      1. Promote Heart Health. Nearly all of the research suggests that regularly consuming omega-3s can help prevent death from cardiovascular disease. The other, more specific heart-health benefits listed below are supported by some science, but there are also other studies that didn’t show a positive association between omega-3s and these outcomes, so the verdict (and resulting benefit) isn’t as strong.
        1. Improve cholesterol (namely raise “good” HDL and lower triglycerides)
        2. Anti-inflammatory effect on arteries and veins (thus, helping to keep them more supple)
        3. Slow the build-up of plaque in arteries
      2. Improve Cancer Treatment. For people who are fighting cancer and undergoing treatment, boosting omega-3 intake via supplements could improve survival rate, and help maintain better health and quality of life during treatment. And also, consuming or taking omega-3s has been shown to lower risk of breast cancer and death from colon cancer.
      3. Improve Cognitive Decline. Studies of populations, or large groups of people, (called epidemiological studies) have found that those who have lower omega-3 intakes are at a higher risk of developing cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. And other research suggests that eating omega-3-rich foods and/or taking omega-3 supplements could head off cognitive decline, and even slow the impact of it later in life.
      4. Lower Depression Risk. The link between omega-3s and depression is also promising: there are studies showing that higher levels of omega-3s lowers your risk of developing depression. Experts believe omega-3s encourage the transport of the feel-good chemical serotonin and boosts another feel-good compound, dopamine. But a recent analysis of nearly 35 years of clinical trials concluded that more research is needed to truly say omega-3 fats could help a person that’s diagnosed with depression. 

      Foods That are Rich in Omega-3 Fats

      Eating a combination of omega-3-rich plants and fish is typically what’s recommended. Our bodies use EPA and DHA best, but ALA is the main omega-3 that we eat—and research shows adults typically meet their daily ALA needs. ALA is found in some plants and their oils, such as hempseed, flaxseed, soybean, and canola. DHA and EPA are in cold-water fish.

       

      Food/Ingredient

      Omega-3 amount (grams)

      PrimaryOmega-3

      Flaxseed oil

      7.26g per Tbsp.

      ALA

      Chia seeds

      5.06g per ounce

      ALA

      Flaxseed

      2.35g per Tbsp. 

      ALA

      Walnuts

      2.57g per ounce

      ALA 

      Atlantic Salmon, farmed

      1.83g per 3-ounces

      DHA

      Canola oil

      1.28g per Tbsp.

      ALA

      Mackerel

      1.02 per 3-ounces

      EPA

      Salmon (canned)

      0.95 per 3-ounces

      DHA

      Soybean oil

      0.92g per Tbsp.

      ALA

      Hemp seed (hulled)

      0.86g per Tbsp.

      ALA

      Rainbow Trout

      0.84g per 3-ounces

      DHA

      Oysters

      0.67g per 3-ounces

      EPA

      Light Tuna (canned)

      0.19g per 3-ounces

      DHA

      Edamame

      0.28g per ½ cup

      ALA

       

      ALA is the only omega-3 that absolutely has to come from the diet. That’s because your body can’t make it.

      Hemp is one of the few good sources of ALA. Our bodies can make EPA from ALA—and then make DHA from EPA. (But it’s still recommended that people get EPA and DHA from their diet, too.).

      Victory Hemp Foods innovative hemp seed-based ingredients enable food formulators to reap the health benefits of Omega 3 fats without the need for food masking chemicals. 

      You Can Learn More About Using Advanced Hemp Seed-Based Ingredients in Your Next Plant-Based Food Product Here.

       

      Sources: 

      https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

      https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-food-111317-095850?rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&journalCode=food

      Full Article by Aleah Rouse
      July 08, 2020