Benefits of Omega-3 for Children
A healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to support a healthy inflammation response, healthy heart, and healthy brain function. New research suggests that it may have benefits for attention, focus, and mood, and may even make a difference with some childhood behavioral problems.
Omega-3s and Behavior
As more children are diagnosed with ADHD, high functioning autism, and ODD, parents are turning to natural medicine for answers. Although a supplement may not be able to cure behavioral issues, it certainly may help. The right nutrional support can help a child's body and brain to function at its natural best.
Researching the Issue
When researchers examined the neurology behind aggressive behavior, they found that omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in helping to regulate neurotransmitters in the brain and protect neurons from oxidative damage. To test this effect, they designed a randomized control study of 290 11- and 12-year-olds with a history of behavioral problems1: The first group received omega-3s in the form of juice, as well as multivitamins and calcium for three months. A second group participated in cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which included meeting weekly for an hour, with time split between the child, the parent, and both together. By the end of the study, the researchers felt confident that there was a link between omega-3 supplementation and better behavior.
Additional Benefits of Omega-3
Here are some of the other ways that omega-3s can make a difference in your child's health:
1. Increase Attentiveness
Does your child have a hard time paying attention? In several small-scale studies, researchers found that omega-3 supplements increased the attention of children under 12-years-old.
2. Improve Asthma Symptoms
Omega-3s are known to help regulate inflammation in the body. As a result, they can make it easier for patients with asthma to breathe. A study of children with asthma showed that participants who took fish oil had fewer symptoms of asthma than children who didn’t.
4. Support Heart Health
Omega-3s have been well researched for their heart health benefits. Even if your child isn’t at risk for heart problems, omega-3s can be a preventative measure. In one study, researchers noted that people who ate fatty fish two times a week had decreased risk of heart health problems.
Giving Your Kids More Omega-3
To make sure your child gets enough omega-3s in their diet, you should give them foods like salmon, seeds, and avocados. Make sure to get creative with your recipes, as children may dislike these ingredients.