Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids required in the diet. Found mainly in plants, omega 3s have a variety of health benefits: they help maintain a healthy heart, reduce blood fat levels, and decrease the tendency for clots to form in the legs. DHA, one type of omega 3, may be protective against Alzheimer's. And, in contrast to omega-6 fatty acids (found in meat, nuts, oils, and grains), omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and help reduce the levels of prostaglandins in the blood. Prostaglandins are important mediators of the pain response, so high levels should be avoided by reducing consumption of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids in favor of green leafy vegetables, berries, flax seeds and our personal favorite, chia seeds, a veritable gold mine when it comes to omega-3 content.
It is often difficult to introduce chia seeds into the diet. Often they are blended into a smoothie, but seeds don't combine well with fruit, with the result being gas, bloat, and other symptoms of GI upset. Our favorite way of including chia seeds is to have chia pudding for dessert. The recipe is simple:
Take 1/4 cup dry chia seeds, mix with 4 to 6 ounces of water. Add 1-2 tbsp of cocoa powder along with a dash or two of stevia (for sweetness) and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for 10 or more minutes, and voila, dessert is served.
Chia pudding contains 200 calories, 11 grams of fat, most of which (over 7 grams) is in the form of omega-3. Your daily requirement for this essential nutrient is around 3 grams, so chia pudding helps you stock up. Chia pudding is also high in protein (6 g), fiber (14g), as well as calcium (25% of daily value) and iron (courtesy of the cocoa powder).