The Skinny on Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Lately more and more sites are highlighting the negative side affects of sugar and how we were in fact terribly terribly wrong with the whole fat free sugarfied Snackwell-y snacks of the 80’s and 90’s.
Lots of sites are practically declaring fat our new lord and savior and in some ways this is true. Fatty acids make up 80% of the weight of the brain and are necessary to maintain healthy cell membranes. The cell walls are made up to a large degree of lipids that need lipids on a daily basis. The brain needs fat to work at max potential.
Fats are great for healthy skin and hair, any time I cut out all fats, I do lose a bit of weight, but I’m never happy with how unplump my skin looks and frizzy my hair becomes. That’s why I recently added in an omega-3 supplement, more on the one I like at end of this post. Btw fish oils lower levels of fat in the blood Fish oils lower levels of fat in the blood which may help decrease strokes and heart attacks. It’s so effective there’s a high priced pharma version.
The main essential fatty acids in the human diet are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil & certain plant and nut oils, while omega-6 fatty acids can be found in palm, soybean, rapeseed, and sunflower oils. Omega-9 fatty acids, which are not considered essential, can be found in animal fat and olive oil.
Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Some nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may be converted to DHA and EPA in the body.
Back in paleo times humans ate pretty equal ratios of Omega 3 to Omega-6. Our bodies were strong and lean. Unfortunately our American diet contains an imbalance of mostly Omega 6 fatty acids.
‘ The diet of many individuals today is at a ratio of about 16:1, mainly from vegetable oils.[28 Studies have suggested that omega-6 fatty acids should be consumed in a 1:1 ratio to omega-3.’
That means for every 1 portion of Omega-3’s in our diet, we eat 16 portions of not as beneficial Omega6’s. That’s all the fried yummy stuff Americans live on.
Back to fat in general for a moment- I see paleo recipe after recipe online of coconut & nut meal snacks touted as weight lose aids. They’re not they’re yummy desserts… but not diet aids.
I know this because I LOVE nuts & seeds, but anytime I eat more that a handful, like say half or the whole Trader Joe’s bag, I put on weight immediately. if you can eat all the nuts you like without gaining lbs., You’re a lucky mo’ fracker, my friend!
Btw, The cattle industry has played a big part in decreased omega-3 and increased the omega-6 content. The ripple effect of grain-feeding cattle. Meat raised on grass has a lower level of not so great omega-6, so if you do eat meat and can afford it, but grass fed!
How to get more Omega3’s in your life
I never eat meat, though I follow a primarily vegan diet, I do occasionally eat fish when I feel my body needs it, but not enough to really reap the omega-3 benefits. So I’ve started taking Intelligent labs Ultra Pure Omega3.
I like these Omegas because of the level of purity, they’re sourced from a “Friends of the Sea” certified supplier, using wild caught Mackerel, Anchovy and Sardine from Antarctic and there are no artificial additives. this is important as fish & the ocean have a lot of pollutants you wouldn’t want to consume and they have higher levels of DHA & EPA, that’s the good stuff.
I also like these a lot because they’re easy to swallow & don’t give a fishy after taste like some fish oils do…
A supplement with a pedigree is important, a lot of over the counter supplements don’t test for purity and sometimes aren’t what they claim. Btw, each serving has a 1224mg of EPA and 816mg of DHA.
I was never big on supplements in general until the last few years when I started thinking about preventative medicine. I try to get the nutrients I need from food, but sometimes that’s not possible. I’ve incorporated Omega-3, vitamin D, wheat grass, and beet powder in supplement form, and I’m really pleased with the results.
Please remember to check with your doctor before adding supplements and to follow the recommended dosage. Taking more can have side affects and not taking enough wastes your hard earned dosh.
I’m going to feature a VEGAN source of Omega3’s soon, so check back! Rachel