Omega-3 fatty acids have received a great deal of attention due to their outstanding health benefits. Research has revealed just how spectacular omega 3’s are at reducing inflammation throughout the body. Already thought to help with such things as depression and rheumatoid arthritis; omega-3s may also be able to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, according to two studies.
An American study and a study conducted in Singapore both found that adults who had higher levels of omega-3’s in their body were least likely to develop diabetes. One study involved 43,000 adults in Singapore, and the other involved more than 3000 adults from the U.S. Researchers involved with the Singapore study noticed that those people with the highest levels of the omega 3 ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, had a lower risk of diabetes. Similarly, the U.S. study found that those with omega-3’s eicospentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were nearly 33% less likely to develop diabetes than those with lower levels.
Researchers feel that the connection between omega-3s and reduced diabetes risk may be due to the fact that those participants with higher levels of omega-3s lead healthier lifestyles and made better food choices than those lacking omega-3s.
The researchers also made another observation. Although cold water fish, such as salmon, are an excellent source of omega 3, the study did not find a link between fish consumption and reduced diabetes risk. Researchers speculate that fish consumption may not have the positive impact due to how the food is prepared. If the fish is cooked or prepared in an unhealthful way, such as being deep-fried or served with fries, the benefits that the omega-3s provide could essentially be wiped out.
While supplements can help (if derived from a high-quality source), it is better for overall health to focus on eating whole foods for omega-3s than it is to isolate single nutrients. Not all omega-3s are created equal, and some contain harmful ingredients and fillers. What’s more, you can rest knowing that nature has provided all of the other essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals, etc. to accompany the omega-3s in the whole food, just as nature intended.