There is often articles in the press about the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, it is widely known that it can help to lower the risk of heart disease and heart attacks and decrease the likely hood of getting dementia in the elderly. However a new study has shown further benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, proving that it can help young adults to improve their cognitive ability and memory.
Improving Cognitive Ability with Omega-3
The research was done by a team at The University of Pittsburgh who took a group of healthy 18-25 years old and gave them a six month supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids.
The participants had PET scans and blood tests and were then given a numerical working memory test known as an 'n-back test' which assessed how well they could recall the sequences of numbers given to them. The conductors of the research found that numerical abilities were linked to plasma omega-3 levels before supplementation.
This suggests that the amount of Omega-3, the people doing the tests were getting from their diet correlated positively with their working memory.
Once the six month supplementation period was completed, blood samples were done and again the participants were asked to sit the numerical working tests at which point their performance ability increased.
Suggesting that Omega-3 has the ability to aid people in boosting their memory and cognitive abilities.
Other benefits of Omega-3 Fats include; helping to decrease the risk of blood clots due to their ability to aid vascular elasticity, ensuring our metabolisms work efficiently and are believed to help in reducing inflammation which can lead to diseases such as cancer, arthritis and as all ready mentioned, heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids has also been linked to helping ease conditions of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
How Do We Increase Our Intake of Omega-3?
With so many benefits how can we increase our intake of Omega-3? Most people recommend increasing the amount of wild-fish you eat, and many people take a fish oil supplement. Although if you are a vegetarian you may prefer to supplement your diet with Spirulina as this is an algae which contains essential omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA & DHA and in fact, is the very source that fish, krill and other animals obtain their omega 3's from.
There are also certain nuts and certain seeds such as pumpkin seeds and walnuts which are also rich in omega-3. Another food which is abundant in nutrients and contains omega 3 linolenic acid , is maca powder it contains over 20 beneficial fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, so can aid us in ensuring we get all our essential fatty acids.
However it is also important to note that getting the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is highly important , as most people on your standard diet in America (and no- doubt New Zealand) get far too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3. There is one food that has the perfect ratio of both and that is Chia seeds. These seeds are not only incredible versatile but they are easy to store too, so they keep fresh and give you an instant boost of omega-3 as well as a boost of energy.
Finally be sure to be getting plenty of good fats in your diet, and eating a variety of quality foods that are rich in nutrients to ensure well-being and even improve your memory!!
Research for this article has been cited from: