Omega-3s, also called polyunsaturated fatty acids, are absolutely vital to your health – they boost your metabolism, help the body fight inflammation, reduce stiffness and joint pain, and also help lower your risk of heart disease.

Omega-3 is one of the few compounds that your body doesn’t produce. So it is important to find this “good fat” from food sources. Fish is the most common source of omega-3s, but for those of you who don’t like fish or are a die-hard vegetarian, here are a few other options: chia seeds, soybeans, tofu, cauliflower, and flax seeds.

Omega-3 is just as important for adults as it is for children. Here are some ways it can benefit children:

1. Increases a child’s reading skills and also his memory.

2. It is important for children’s cognitive development. Children of mothers who took omega-3 supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding perform better than others on cognitive tests.

3. It has been shown to promote eye health, especially children’s vision development, by supporting retinal function.

4. It has been shown to be useful for children and teenagers suffering from asthma, attention deficit disorders and depression.

Why omega-3 is good for adults:

1. Omega-3 is beneficial for the heart and can greatly reduce the risk of stroke or heart failure. It also reduces the risk of irregular heartbeat (abnormal heartbeat), which can lead to sudden death.

2. It can reduce the chance of developing certain types of cancer.

3. It is good for memory and benefits people who suffer from depression or dementia.

4. Societies rich in omega-3 fatty acids have a much lower incidence of depression.

5. Omega-3 is effective in lowering cholesterol. It regulates the amount of bad fat (triglycerides) that circulate in the blood, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

6. It improves blood circulation and oxygen uptake.

7. It helps reduce stiffness and joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

8. It curbs nicotine cravings.

9. Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

With inputs from PTI

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