We need Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids for nearly every aspect of our health.
• Play a crucial role in memory, mood and brain development
• Reduce inflammation, high blood pressure and cholesterol
• Help lower the risk of chronic disease, cancer and heart failure
• Improve the functioning of the immune system
But the ‘catch’ is – your body cannot make them, this is what makes them Essential, so you must get them from your diet.
A lack of Omega 3 has been associated with everything from fatigue, poor memory and depression to dry skin, heart problems, poor circulation and a lowered immune response.
Comparing Plant-Based & Non-Plant based Sources of Omega 3:
1. ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) – Plant-based sources of Omega 3 include: dark green leafy vegetables, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and certain oils. This type of Omega 3 remains in the system for longer periods of time so the full benefits are realized. However, it is more difficult for the human body to convert these into useable form. This is where the animal based sources can help.
2. EPA (EicosoPentaenoic Acid) – Animal-based sources of Omega 3 include fish such as krill, sardines, herring, mackrel, salmon, cod and tuna. If you are suffering from certain health conditions, supplement with a high quality source of fish oil. A Certified Naturopath will help you determine if you would benefit from Omega 3 supplementation and will help you choose the right one to suit your needs.
Including both plant and non sources of Omega 3 is a good idea, depending on the health condition and your dietary preferences. This is where individuality comes into play.
Balancing our intake of Omega 3 and Omega 6
Studies have consistently shown that a balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 is important in maintaining health and the prevention of disease. Our diets are overloaded with Omega 6 due to modern agricultural practices and the choices many consumers make. This contributes to a range of serious health conditions. An imbalance of excessive Omega 6 (found in corn, sunflower, safflower & cottonseed oils, mayonnaise, salad dressing and margarine) actually contributes to inflammation and heart problems. The typical American consumes 14-25 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3 Fatty Acids and that is a serious problem! By contrast, the Mediterranean Diet supports a healthy balance.
How to shop for a high quality fish oil Supplement?
• Find a company you trust: Investigate to ensure they stand behind their practices.
• Check for documentation on purity standards and quality testing.
• What type of fish was used to make the product?
• Find a supplement harvested from a clean water source for less PCB, mercury and lead toxicity.
• Look for the words EPA and DHA on the label. Depending on your health condition, you will want one to be more elevated than the other.
• Sample for a non-fishy flavor. Check for rancidity.
• What structure are the oils in?
Cheers to Great Health!