Reduce Anxiety with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

By Sarah Webster

While many people suffer from anxiety on a daily basis, it is still one of the hardest disorders to understand. With about 20% of Americans suffering from this illness scientists and doctors are always searching for ways to reduce or eliminate that overall anxious feeling.  Research has shown that patients with high levels of anxiety and depression also have an increase in inflammation on the brain. This inflammation is not a painful inflammation but more of disruptions between cells in the brain or a disruption between nerves. This disruption or inflammation can be naturally reduced by including foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can actually cross the blood- brain barrier and aid in reducing the inflammation caused by other foods in your diet. Unlike other anti-inflammatory medications these fatty acids can actually reduce the inflammation in the brain. Scientists have seen an increase in inflammation with an increase of Omega 6 fatty acids. These are found in highly processed foods and foods high in carbohydrates.

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils and some plant oils. One of the most important Omega-3 fatty acids is DHA. DHA is one of the main components of the human brain. EPA and ALA are also two major Omega-3’s that are important for maintaining mental health.  The perfect combination of Omega 3 and Omega 6, a 1:1 ratio, is essential in maintaining and reducing anxiety or inflammation on the brain.  Modern diets, high in corn fed animals and vegetable oils increase the Omega-6 fatty acid causing inflammation on the brain. Certain medications try to reduce this inflammation, reducing anxiety and depression, but increasing Omega-3 fatty acids can do just the same.

Positive Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acid can help decrease your anxiety and depression. Consuming foods such as grass fed beef, salmon, herring, eggs, flax seed, and supplements including fish oil or krill oil can all aid in the mental healing process. Increasing Omega-3 fatty acids can also help with brain development in growing children, decrease cardiovascular disease, prevent dementia, decrease chances of breast cancer and even decrease symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. Incorporating these Omega-3’s into your diet can increase overall mental health while decreasing depression and anxiety.

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