Known for its ability to improve eye health, Omega 3 is also an essential nutrient for brain function and keeping it healthy. In fact, it is crucially needed as it is a part of the process of building new brain cells, which is the key to developing the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, helping the body to absorb nutrients as we eat.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids also help in keeping the psychological and behavioral conditions of oneself stable as well. It is known to help tone down the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or “ADHD” for short, which includes emotional distress and anti-social behavior.
Various studies have also revealed that children lacking omega 3 have poorer reading abilities. Thus, taking omega-3 supplements is essential to help improve memory function of children. Further study shows that the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 can treat conditions such as obesity (if weight loss is your concern), asthma, and other respiratory-related health issues.
The Three Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Both EPA and DHA are mainly found in fish, chicken, and beef. Animals that are grass-fed are said to have higher amounts of omega-3, and the milk and eggs they produce are also rich in omega-3 fats as well. Meanwhile, ALA is found in plant-based food sources such as chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts.
The Importance of Food Before Supplements
Before you let your child take omega-3 supplements, it’s best to let them consume a variety of omega-3-rich food sources first before anything else. If your kid is picky and treats fish like the black sheep of the meat family, then serve fish in a creative and child-friendly way that can make your kids say “YES” to everything about fish. Salmon cakes and baked fish nuggets are off to a good start.
Want to get more creative? Flaxseed oil is an omega 3-rich oil that you can put on smoothies or mix it up on toast and sandwiches. But it doesn’t end there; you can also add these flaxseeds to muffins, soups, casseroles, and even on bread crumbs on chicken breading.
Here are more food sources of omega-3 fatty
acids for your kids:
- Chia seeds
- Soy Beans
- Fresh Tuna
Listed below is the recommended omega 3 consumption for kids:
- 0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day
- 1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day
- 4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day
- 9 to 13 years (boys): 1.2 grams/day
- 9 to 13 years (girls): 1.0 grams/day
- 14 to 18 years (boys): 1.6 grams/day
- 14 to 18 years (girls): 1.1 grams/day