At my nutrition class for athletes a couple weeks ago we got talking about Omega-3’s and fish oil supplements. This week’s challenge is to
increase your omega-3 consumption!
This is different for everyone, so it is important to do some research for what is right for you. But I will say, no matter who you are, it is so important that you are getting enough. Especially athletes and people training – it does so much for your body! Here’s some information on Omega-3’s.
So…what are omega-3 fatty acids?
You can get lots of good information at this site, but I will summarize it for you.Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated, unlike saturated fats in butter and like fats. Monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, are liquid at room temperature, but harden when refrigerated. When eaten in appropriate amounts, each type of fat can contribute to health. However, the importance of omega-3 fatty acids can’t be emphasized enough! The three most nutritionally important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
These fatty acids have traditionally been classified as "essential" because the body is unable to manufacture them on its own and because they play a fundamental role in several physiological functions. As a result, we must be sure our diet contains sufficient amounts of both alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid.
So…what do they do?
Here is a simplified version! Our cell membranes control what goes in and out of our cells and what leaves our body. Without proper function and fluidity in the cell membrane, we can’t retain nutrients and our cells can’t communicate…which ultimately results in disease and health problems. You see, our cell membranes are made up of fat. The integrity and fluidity of our cell membranes is determined in large part by the type of fat we eat. Remember that saturated fats are solid at room temperature, while omega-3 fats are liquid at room temperature. Researchers believe that diets containing large amounts of saturated or hydrogenated fats produce cell membranes that are hard and lack fluidity. On the other hand, diets rich in omega-3 fats produce cell membranes with a high degree of fluidity.
This is only the beginning! But I don’t want to overwhelm you. And I don’t want to sit at my computer longer than I have to this week…so…more to come on Wednesday about where we can get these Omega’s-3s and other important info. There are some great foods out there, as well as supplements that can be taken.
Have a good Monday!
P.S. I finished spin instructor certification! Can’t wait to get teaching!!
~Do you take an Omega-3 supplement?
~Do you have any favorite spin songs or spin workouts? Tips would be great!