Kids need all the nutrition that they can get as this is the time that their bodies are developing. Omega 3 acids are known to help in the prevention of heart attacks but what child ever gets a heart attack? Well, the reason why they are still needed for kids is that they are a superfood that helps other parts of the body develop such as the brain.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are fatty acids that are essential for human health as they help in keeping ailments like heart disease at bay. Nicknamed the “good” fatty acids, they not only help to optimise brain function but have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids that are involved in human physiology. They are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is commonly found in plant sources such as walnuts, hemp oil, flaxseed oil, algal oil and edible seeds. EPA and DHA are primarily found only in certain fish like salmon, tuna, halibut and fish oils.
How do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Work?
Omega-3 Acids, while essential to human growth and development are not produced by the human body and need to be obtained from other sources. These acids aid normal metabolism and help the body and brain function normally. Omega-3 fatty acids are also said to protect the body against heart diseases, cancer, and various other health problems.
What are the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Kids?
The presence of Omega 3 for children is required as they are in their growing phase. This means that they require Omega-3 fatty for their physical as well as mental development. A few of the many benefits are as follows:
- Cognitive development: DHA aids in the development of a child’s brain. According to studies, low levels of DHA increases the risk of developing memory problems and reading disabilities.
- Proper development of eyes: The body utilises DHA to help produce cells that are essential to make up the retina of the eye. The absence of DHA has shown to increase the risk of vision problems in children.
- Healthy heart: DHA is a healthy fat that helps red blood cells move through the blood capillaries more easily making it ideal for heart health. Omega-3 also helps in keeping blood pressure levels low to decrease the chance of hypertension.
- Prevention of diabetes: Diabetes is often a sign of people with low HDL levels. Omega-3 helps in increasing HDL levels in children that in turn, reduces the chances of diabetes at a later stage in life.
- Improve behaviour: According to a study conducted by Oxford University, Omega-3 increases the ability of a child to learn and helps them academically.
- Improves concentration: Studies have proved that children with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood have higher levels of concentration.
- Aids memory function: Fatty acids are said to be most concentrated in the brain region, and Omega-3 is associated with increasing the memory functioning of the brain.
- Reduces mood swings: Omega-3 supplements help children with bipolar disorder by reducing their mood swings and lowers the chances of a relapse.
- Reduces chances of asthma: Omega-3 reduces inflammation in the airways which benefits children that have asthma by clear any inflammation in their air pipes.
- Stabilises emotions: Omega-3 fatty acids help in stabilising and settling emotions in children if taken at an early stage, or from a young age itself.
Best Sources Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids For Your child
Fish oil for kids is a great supplement of Omega 3 fatty acids as it is not produced in the body. The various types of fish oil that are good sources include:
- Cod Liver Oil
However, there are other forms of food as well that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Amongst them, the most common are:
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Brussel’s sprouts
How Much Omega-3 Does a Kid Need?
Is it Okay for Children to Take Omega-3 Supplements?
Ideally, Omega-3 fatty acids should be prevalent in the daily diet of children. However, doctors have recommended certain supplements that children can take. These Omega 3 supplements for kids do not harm the children or have any side effects if taken in limited quantity. They are available in various forms such as oils, soft chews and capsules being perfectly safe for kids. Some of these supplements are also flavoured to remove the fishy taste and smell so that children find them appealing.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and ADHD
Studies have found that children that have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have a lower level of Omega-3 fatty acids in their bodies. It has been proved that taking supplements in the form of fish oil supplements improves behaviour, boost attention span and reduces the hyperactivity in children. While only improving Omega-3 fatty acid levels are not the sole treatment option for ADHD, it can be used to complement other treatment methods such as behaviour therapy
Omega-3 fatty acids are indispensable for a child’s growth. They aid in proper growth and development of the child, and their benefits are not something to be understated.