Omega-3 Improves Insulin and Weight Loss

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are some of nature’s best work as far as fats go. These “healthy” fats, also known as Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs), have many health benefits including improving cognitive (memory and performance) functions in the brain, lowering high blood pressure, reducing high cholesterol and preventing heart disease.

Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition to these wonderful health benefits, recent research has found that omega-3 fatty acids consumed in the diet may be capable of improving insulin levels, particularly in people with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are both health conditions typically associated with obesity and can greatly influence the body’s ability to lose weight. Both these conditions, which are considered to be precursors to Type 2 Diabetes, are related to a decline in the body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin and a corresponding increase in the amount of insulin produced. Higher insulin production results in a decline in your body’s ability to use stored fat for energy, combined with an increase in the amount of fat your body makes. For this reason, people suffering from insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are prone to weight gain and have an abnormally difficult time losing body fat even with dieting.

Researches with the Landspitali-University Hospital & Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition in Iceland recently published their findings regarding the influence of omega-3 fatty acids on insulin resistance in a group of overweight and obese European young adults (Diabetologia. 2008 Jul;51(7):1261-8. Epub 2008 May 20). What they found was that when omega-3 fatty acids were consumed in the form of either lean fish or fish oil as part of a calorie-restricted diet, there was a statistical improvement in insulin resistance among the test group.

The weight loss benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids is not only limited to the treatment of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. New research suggests that consuming a meal rich in omega-3 fatty acids may also help to promote the feeling of satiety (fullness), naturally reducing the amount of calories consumed (Appetite. 2008 Nov;51(3):676-80. Epub 2008 Jun 14).

It is apparent that omega-3 fatty acids offer a range of health benefits, including weight loss and it is worthwhile to supplement your diet with this healthy fat. Since your body is unable to produce omega-3 fatty acids, you must make sure to eat foods that contain it. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, flax seeds and walnuts. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include scallops, halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna, soyabeans, tofu, kale, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves and mustard seeds.

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