You may know in a general way that omega-3 fatty acids are important for health, but have you ever wondered how it specifically helps? Here are seven amazing things they can do for you:

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for growing babies and children

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development of the in utero and growing child. Higher IQs in children have been linked to higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids consumed during their mother’s pregnancy. A high amount of omega-6 fatty acids during pregnancy has been linked to higher rates of breast cancer in subsequent generations in animal studies. This suggests that a good balance of omega-3s to omega-6s is especially important during pregnancy. Plus, a study of 500 children found that those low in omega-3 fatty acids had more trouble reading

Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent cardiovascular problems

Omega-3s have long been linked to better heart health. In fact, some scientists believe there is compelling evidence that doctors should use omega-3 fatty acid therapy for preventing both primary and secondary cardiovascular diseases. This is exciting and important news, considering that more people die every year from heart disease than cancer. 

Omega-3 fatty acids, dementia and brain health

There is also some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids could help prevent dementia. Whether that’s because dementia is linked to cardiovascular health, or a more direct link isn’t know for sure, but there is evidence that it could help both the heart and the brain. In fact, omega-3s are linked to bigger, healthier brains that bode well for the aging body. 

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish may help prevent breast cancer

Eating omega-3 rich fish could also help prevent breast cancer. Research in Asian countries where seafood is commonly eaten shows reduced breast cancer rates, for example. Scientists who work specifically in the field of breast cancer have long recommended the addition of omega-3s, although not all studies show the same positive results.

It’s the one supplement found to be especially helpful for bipolar depression

In a review of different supplemental therapies for bipolar depression, omega-3 fatty acid was the one that showed the highest promise for making a difference. There have been many studies done on depression in general with omega-3 fatty acids, but there have been inconclusive results. 

Teens feel more anxious when low in omega-3’s

An interesting study that does link omega-3s to how you feel is one that shows that teens low in this important nutrient are more likely to feel anxious. Considering that the teen years are already full enough of normal fears and anxiety, making sure they have adequate omega-3s in their diet can help prevent excessive anxiety. 

Pregnant women suffer less anxiety when eating fish

Similarly, expectant mothers who consumed more fish also experience less anxiety. Vegetarian mothers, with their lack of animal protein, struggled with anxiety in higher numbers. The authors of the study felt that it was because of the lack of omega-3s in their diet.

As always, eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help your body be healthy in many ways. Including foods rich in omega-3s can definitely give your body a boost in preventative care. 

You can also find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. I'd love to see you there! 

Related on MNN: 

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.