Increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids may stave off the risk of developing cancer. According to a study, a class of molecules formed when the body metabolizes omega-3 fatty acids could inhibit the spreading and growth of cancer.

Scientists have emphasized many times previously that one's diet may play a crucial role in inhibiting the development of cancer. The recent study conducted at the University of Illinois tried to investigate the same using an animal model

The team discovered that in mice the molecules called endocannabinoids, are made naturally by the body and have similar properties to cannabinoids found in marijuana – but without the psychotropic effects.

The study that appeared in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry said that in mice with tumors of osteosarcoma – a bone cancer that is notoriously painful and difficult to treat – endocannabinoids slowed the growth of tumors and blood vessels, inhibited the cancer cells from migrating and caused cancer cell death.

 "We have a built-in endocannabinoid system which is anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing. Now we see it is also anti-cancer, stopping the cells from proliferating or migrating," said a researcher Aditi Das.

In 2017, the Illinois team identified a new group of omega-3 fatty-acid metabolites called endocannabinoid epoxides, or EDP-EAs. The team discovered that these molecules had anti-inflammatory properties and targeted the same receptor in the body that cannabis does.

It has been shown previously that cannabis may have some anti-cancer properties, the researchers have investigated in the new study that whether EDP-EAs also affect cancer cells.

However, the compounds also combated the osteosarcoma in other ways: They slowed tumor growth by inhibiting new blood vessels from forming to supply the tumor with nutrients, they prevented interactions between the cells. Interestingly, they appeared to stop cancerous cells from migrating.

The richest sources of omega 3 fatty acids

1. Salmon

It is not only rich in Vitamin D but also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, protein and phosphorous. Salmon contains high levels of the omega-3 fats – EPA and DHA. These fats provide some cardiovascular ease such as reducing inflammation. 

2. Walnuts

Add walnuts in your favorite baked dishes, sprinkle it on salads and cereals or have it as it is, walnuts are great in all manner. This nut not only provides you with multiple vascular benefits but also helps you to maintain your ideal weight over time.

3. Canola Oil

It is touted to be the healthiest salad and cooking oil. It is cheaper than olive oil and can withstand high cooking temperatures. Due to its low saturated fat content, it is said to be beneficial for our health.

4. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are not only rich in omega 3 but also vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. Loaded with calcium, protein, and magnesium, these seeds lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve exercise performance and also serves as a healthy food for the brain. 

5. Sardines

Higher in sodium, they can balance out your meal with low sodium fruits and vegetables. They are usually eaten out of a tin/jar as a snack, or you can add them to sandwiches, salads or pizzas.