Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid (PUFA) found throughout the body. DHA is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants. It is a major structural fat found in the brain and eye accounting for up to 97% of the total omega-3 fats in the brain and up to 93% of the omega-3 fats in a specific part of the eye, called the retina. It is also a key component of the heart. Omega 3 plays an essential role in the body right from conception till old age.
DHA, the essential Fat is an important source of omega 3 fatty acid that has to be supplemented through diet because the body lacks the ability to produce it by itself. These fats help in building cells, regulate the nervous system, strengthen the cardiovascular system, builds and boosts immunity and support the body to absorb vital nutrients.
DHA for CHILDREN
We all hear a lot about DHA fortified foods. Now the question is, what is DHA and is it really important for our kids? Yes, it is. DHA plays an important role in growth and development in during early childhood years. Right from birth till 5 years of age, the growth of the human brain is maximum. During this period, it is important to provide a sufficient amount of DHA in the diet to support the rapid growth and development. DHA supports adequate cognitive development, brain growth, intellectual skills and overall growth in children. Special attention should be given to the diets of children to see that they get their adequate supply of DHA daily.
DHA for MOTHERS
Maternal nutrition plays an important role before conception, during and after pregnancy. It plays an important role in fetal and infant development as well. Throughout the pregnancy, DHA is required for optimal infant brain and nervous system development. Mothers also store DHA in breast milk so that she can deliver a good amount of it to their babies during the lactation phase. DHA is also very important for maternal health post-delivery.
DHA for ELDERLY
DHA continues to support brain and eye health throughout the life. In adults and elderly, DHA plays an important role in maintaining normal blood pressure, normal blood triglyceride levels, good brain functioning and proper vision. DHA also maintains proper heart functioning and heart health. This amazing fatty acid prevents elderly people from rheumatoid arthritis as well.
For optimal intake of DHA, one should consume DHA rich foods, beverages and supplements. Some of the good sources are walnuts, eggs, fatty fish, and flaxseed. Some amount of DHA is also present in kidney beans and soyabean oil and soy foods such as tofu and soy curd.