We want to give our kids the best. The very best. So we do our best as parents. From the educational toys to the most nutritious foods, we try to give them the best we can.However, when it comes to their nutritional needs , we tend to fall short at times. But there’s one way we can always get it right- and it comes in the form of Omega 3.
First, let’s go back to basics- what is Omega 3? Some fats are important, and the king amongst them is Omega 3. It’s a combination of fatty acids that you need to extract from your daily diet and comes in 3 main types: ALA, EPA and DHA.
ALA- Alpha-linolenic Acid: This is the most commonly found element in your diet as it’s plant-based and is converted into energy.
Found in chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, flaxseed oil, soybeans, kale, spinach etc.
EPA- Eicosapentaenoic Acid: This form is found mainly in animal-based products and carries out several functions.
Found in fish oil and types of fatty fish.
DHA- Docosahexaenoic acid: this one’s the most important. It’s a critical component of lipid structures found in the brain, the retina of your eyes and other body parts.
Found in fish oil, types of fatty fish, meat, eggs and dairy from grass-fed animals.
Our body can convert some ALA into EPA and then to DHA, but only in very small amounts. Therefore, getting EPA and DHA from food or dietary supplements is the only practical way to increase levels of these omega-3 fatty acids in your body.
That’s the end of our science class. Sometimes breaking it down and learning about the key components makes it easier to understand the significance of the whole thing. And so we’ve established that Omega 3 is important and what it’s made of. Now let’s find out what it does.
It’s vital fuel for your brain and eyes plus it has anti-inflammatory effects; therefore, this makes it an absolute necessity in the diets of pregnant, breastfeeding women, and growing kids . It has a direct impact on the health and intelligence of the baby. These are good fats that our body needs but cannot produce on its own. If you’re still unconvinced, here are the multiple benefits of Omega 3 and fish oil for your kids.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
According to reports, children with low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids have shown to be more prone to ADHD. Fish oil supplements have proven to reduce hyperactivity, help in socializing better and control emotions as well as boost attention.
As you know, Omega 3 is linked with the brain performance and therefore plays a role in memory functioning,
Studies show that kids who are well-nourished with Omega 3 rich foods have better attention spans, social skills, hand-eye coordination and do visibly better in intelligence tests.
Drive Depression Away
Inconclusive studies show that children affected by depression display more improvement after consuming fish oil or Omega 3 supplements.
As Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory, it has the ability to reduce inflammation in the airways and aid with asthma.
Improve Reading Ability
School-age children who are underperforming in reading may find positive benefits in taking Omega 3 supplements particularly with high concentration of DHA. Researchers found out that children who take daily supplementation of DHA, improved their reading skills.
Now that you know the benefits, there’s surely no turning back. We know kids are generally fussy with their food- so here’s a list you can choose from through which you can give you child the nutrition he/she deserves.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (US),
• 0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day
• 1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day
• 4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day
• 9 to 13 years (boys): 1.2 grams/day
• 9 to 13 years (girls): 1.0 grams/day
• 14 to 18 years (boys): 1.6 grams/day
• 14 to 18 years (girls): 1.1 grams/day
Where to Find It
EPA and DHA are found in mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, black cod, anchovies and albacore tuna. Cod liver oil contains large amounts of EPA and DHA. Fish oil supplements typically contain 18% EPA and 12% DHA, though more purified (i.e., higher in EPA and DHA) fish oil supplements are sometimes available. In addition, DHA is available in a supplement that does not contain significant amounts of EPA.
So-called “primitive” diets have much higher levels of EPA and DHA than modern diets. As a result, some researchers and doctors believe that most people who eat a typical western diet are likely to be consuming less-than-optimal amounts of EPA and DHA. To a very limited extent, omega-3 fatty acids from vegetable sources, such as linseed oil, can be converted in the body to EPA.
Omega 3 supplements are available as well- ideal for children who don’t have enough in their daily diets. Here are some of the common ones:
• Fish Oil
• Cod Liver Oil
• Krill Oil
• Algae Oil
• ALA Supplements
These are just a few of the options. Each supplement varies from one to another and some even contain gelatin therefore, it’s always advisable to check the label or even check with your general physician.
To make things easier, check out NaturesWisdom website for an extensive list to cover all your Omega 3 needs. Omega 3 is a treasure trove of benefits, available in many forms. Even if your child is fussy, prone to allergies or vegetarian there are Omega 3 options to cater to every need. This is truly one superhero your child can finally rely on.