Did you know that omega-3s are vital unsaturated fatty acids that our bodies need to function efficiently and perform functions such as building cell membranes in the brain, controlling blood clots, and maintaining good eye health? The most important benefit is that they reduce the inflammatory processes in the body, thus making it easier to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease. The food sources for omega-3 fatty acids can be divided into two main categories: animal and vegetable. Oily fish is the best known source, but it is also found in vegetable and nut oils, walnuts, flaxseeds, algae oils, nutritional supplements, and fortified foods like milk and yogurt.
What researchers say
A study conducted by Professor Adrian Raine, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in neurocriminology, found that omega-3s improve children’s behavior. The researchers gave a group of children a drink high in omega-3 fatty acids every day for six months. Another six months after the study, the researchers found that the omega-3 fatty acid-rich diet not only improved children’s behavior, but also improved their social skills and made their parents happier.
Other studies have shown that children of mothers who took omega-3 supplements during pregnancy and the first few months of breastfeeding scored higher on cognitive tests by the age of four than those whose mothers did not take supplements. However, nutritionists caution parents that omega-3s don’t guarantee smarter kids when they were four years old. The results suggested that pregnant women on a diet rich in omega-3s did not necessarily have smarter children. Research by scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has shown that omega-3 and omega-6 supplements can help some children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Omega-3 Benefits for Babies
Here are some of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for babies:
- They improve the development of the nervous system and the immune system.
- Can prevent the development of emotional disorders, learning disorders, and immune system disorders.
- Contain a powerhouse of nutrients to ensure a baby is developing properly and reaching its maximum potential.
- The nutrients found in omega-3 fatty acids help protect babies from brain injury, profound developmental delays, and possibly ADHD.
- Sufficient levels optimize brain growth in babies, especially in the third trimester.
- Reduce the risk of preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure), which can be linked to an omega-3 deficiency.
- Can prevent premature delivery.
- Important for visual and neurological development.
Good to know: Experts continue to advise pregnant women to include omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. When children refuse to eat fish, parents should ensure that they consume plenty of fortified foods and that they consume omega-3 children’s supplements in moderation.