Research Shows that Omega 3 Fatty Acids Are Important Element in Menopausal Women's Diets

Dorian Martin Health Guide
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    On my most recent trip to the grocery store, I started perusing the meat aisles. Lots of choices, but I ended up primarily focusing on the seafood section, where I picked up salmon, flounder, and frozen mahi-mahi. Turns out these (especially the first two) are good choices not only for taste, but also for health. As women go through the menopausal change, it becomes critically important for women to really review their diet. One key addition that you need to consider is increasing your intake of Omega-3 fats, which help you physically, mentally, and emotionally.


    There are many sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, including many types of seafood. According to the American Heart Association, the top 10 fish and shellfish consumed in the United States are canned tuna (0.17-0.24 grams of Omega-3), shrimp (0.29 grams), pollock (0.45 grams),  fresh or frozen salmon (1.1-1.9 grams), cod (0.15-0.24 grams), catfish (0.22-0.3 grams), clams (0.25 grams), flounder or sole (0.48 grams), crabs (0.27-0.40 grams), and scallops (0.18-0.34 grams). Other common types of seafood that we eat include lobster (0.07-0.46 grams), grouper (0.23 grams), halibut (0.60-1.12 grams), oysters (0.37-1.14 grams), mahi mahi (0.13 grams), and herring (1.9-2.0 grams). Other sources of Omega 3 fatty acids include flaxseed oil and seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, Omega 3 enriched cereals, and some spices such as basil, dried oregano, and ground cloves, according to Self NutritionData.com. You also can take daily fish oil pill which has both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA).

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    Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids also are especially important in combatting depression in older women. A small study in Italy followed 46 women, ages 66-95, who were depressed. Half of the study participants were included in the intervention group, which received an omega-3 supplement. After eight weeks, the intervention group’s depression had significantly improved, based on the Geriatric Depression Scale.


    Eating 1-2 servings of fish that are high in omega-3 fats a week can reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by at least a third. This is important for menopausal women since the chances of having a heart attack increase as we go through menopause, due to the drop in estrogen. “Fish contain unsaturated fatty acids, which, when substituted for saturated fatty acids such as those in meat, may lower your cholesterol,” the Mayo Clinic staff reported. “But the main beneficial nutrient appears to be omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that's thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease.”


    The University of Maryland’s Medical Center website reported that research shows that omedga-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of cancer, arthritis, and heart disease, as well as help maintain brain performance. The staff recommends a diet that balances omega-3 and omega-6 since many omega 6 fatty acids can promote inflammation. “The typical American diet tends to contain 14-25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids,” the website noted. “The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet does not include much meat (which is high in omega-6 fatty acids) and emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.”

Published On: April 22, 2011