Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why Consuming Omega 3 Helps Depression

Did you know that getting sufficient Omega 3 helps depression? Yes, we need those Omega-3 fatty acids for a wide array of health benefits, but one of those that many people don't think of is relief from, and prevention of, depression.

Somehow, in the course of the last 150 years modern Western diets have dramatically changed from what most human beings were mostly eating up to that point. There were many reasons for these changes, but they have brought us a mixed box of good and bad results. Among the bad consequences of our changed diets is that the ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids to other types of fats has gone way down.

It used to be that human beings typically were eating about as much in the way of fish, nuts, and seeds rich with Omega 3, as they ate of foods rich with other fats. Today, however, the typical Westernized diet feeds the average person 10 times (or more!) other fats as it does Omega 3 fats. It's not a coincidence that modern times have seen dramatic rises in what were previously rather unusual health problems and diseases like heart disease, cancer, and, yes, depression.

How Eating More Omega 3 Helps Depression

One of the most rampant of depressive disorders inflicting us these days is SAD, seasonal affective disorder. SAD is brought on by the weather turning colder and days getting shorter as night-time and hours of darkness grow longer. Research has demonstrated that in nations where SAD should be rampant, but where the people eat a high concentration of fish in their diets, the people suffer from amazingly low levels of incidence of this type of depression. These nations include Iceland and Japan.

Oily, cold water fish are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids (essential because we need them but our bodies can't make them, and so we have to ingest them), and are especially high in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is the "most essential" of the three forms of Omega-3 that we need.

Another rampant form of depression in our world these days is "bipolar disorder", which used to be much better known as manic depression. Someone suffering from manic depression goes, often quite rapidly, from moods of incredible energy and "high" feelings to dark, dreary, angry, and depressive feelings which may get so deep that healthy or normal social interaction and functioning become impossible while the depressive mood lasts.

While millions of people suffer from this type of depression, it remains a mysterious and difficult to diagnose disease. (It's also often misdiagnosed in people who simply have healthy but volatile and passionate personalities.) Research has proven that, as a supplement to pharmaceutical treatments, Omega 3 helps depression of this nature when taken in supplemental form, most notably through fish oils.

Fish: Brain Food

Other clinical observations have concluded that people who are eating much closer to the "old-time" ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids (1:1 to 1:4) have a far smaller chance of becoming depressed or remaining depressed than their fellow citizens who don't have such a diet. Most of these healthy-eating people get a lot of fish in their diets.

It seems that the way Omega 3 helps depression is by strengthening and keeping elastic the cellular walls of the brain's neurons. These cellular walls are predominantly made up of fats, and the essential fatty acids therefore need to be consumed to keep the brain functioning in a healthy way (hence the old adage that "fish is brain food"). Unlike other fats, however, Omega-3 fatty acids also help to keep the blood from becoming too sticky and clotting, and the brain also needs healthy blood flow to function properly.

Now you have an understanding of why eating more foods rich with Omega 3 helps depression.

To learn more about how Omega 3 helps depression, and bestows many other health benefits, just follow the link below.

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