Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
One of the first superfoods we recommend are omega-3 fats. They are called essential fatty acids because they are essential to our health. Omega-3s are the superstars of healthy fats and make the body strong and healthy. Unfortunately, today over 95 percent of the American population, as well as the rest of the world, are deficient in omega-3 essential fatty acids.
"95% of American's are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids"
Studies show that omega-3s are linked to immune function, energy, metabolism, decreased inflammation, hormonal balance, brain health, cell health and nerve health. Because omega-3s have been shown to improve chemical messaging and cell structure inside the body, these essential fats help us respond better to immune challenges, enhance recovery after injury or overexertion, and even manage stress. Omega-3 fats are powerful superfoods.
The primary fatty acid in the omega-3 family is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA can be found in many plant sources such as leafy greens, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and pecans. Most nuts and seeds coming from the source have some omega-3s.
Flaxseeds and chia seeds are the richest sources of ALA. There are several levels of omega-3 breakdowns or conversions in the body. ALA converts to one or two other types of fatty acids, depending upon its breakdown pathway. Stay with me just for a minute this will all start to make sense. ALA can be converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and then into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in wild cold-water fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring, and in cod liver oil and fish oil. People often ask whether they need to consume wild cold-water fish, cod liver oil, or fish oil even if they also consume omega-3s such as flax or chia, which are high in ALA. The answer is yes. The conversion from ALA to EPA and then into DHA is not efficient in many adults and children. The labels on infant formula advertise that they are high in DHA, which is essential for brain development in infants. If DHA is such an important nutrient for brain development and the health of our babies, what about the brain health of our adults? It can be a challenge to get enough omega-3s in our diet unless we know where to look. We must search for omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are extremely unstable and spoil quickly. Most products in the grocery store most likely do not contain omega-3 fats. There are, however, many excellent sources of omega-3 fats.
Good Sources of Omega-3 Fats
Flaxseeds are tiny hard seeds, either gold or brown, that are loaded with omega-3s. The seeds themselves are not digestible and must be ground up or you will see them again. Grind up 1 month of flaxseeds in a coffee grinder and place them in a dark container in the refrigerator. Flaxseeds are extremely high in fiber and also contain lignans, which have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. Flaxseeds may be used on salads and cereals, and in smoothies or your favorite juice. A great afternoon snack is taking 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in 1-2 ounces of dark cherry or pomegranate juice.
Children: ½-1 tablespoon, 2-7 times per week
Adults: 1-2 tablespoons, 2-7 times per week
Chia seeds, like flaxseeds, are also high in omega-3 fats (ALA). Chia seeds are dark in color, easy to digest, help with food cravings, and decrease inflammation. They are also extremely heart-healthy, high in fiber, and loaded with the relaxation mineral magnesium. Chia seeds do not have to be ground up and can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to a salad, used in baking, or in a smoothie. Our favorite way to consume chia seeds is to add 1-2 tablespoons to an ounce or two of almond, coconut, or cashew milk, a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, place in the refrigerator overnight for a pudding like snack. Yum!
Children: ½-1 tablespoon, 2-7 times per week
Adults: 1-2 tablespoons, 2-7 times per week
As a nation, we have a major omega-3 deficiency, especially EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA can be manufactured in small amounts by healthy cells from ALA, however, the conversion from ALA to EPA and then into DHA is small and can be impaired by degenerative conditions such as diabetes. To get enough EPA and DHA directly into your body, take advantage of the wonderful benefits of fish oils.
The richest sources of EPA and DHA are cod liver oil, anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, and wild Alaskan salmon. To get the health benefits that fish oil provides, we recommend a daily serving of cod liver oil. Yes, cod liver oil! Don’t be afraid of the taste. This is not grandmother’s cod liver oil. It has a nice lemon flavor, and the health benefits are off the charts.
The reason we recommend cod liver oil over fish or krill oil is that cod liver oil contains a naturally occurring spectrum of omega-3 fatty acids, including bioactive pro-resolving mediators (PRMs). These PRMs play a powerful role in immune system support. Also, cod liver is naturally high is vitamin A and vitamin D3, which are essential for cellular health, improved calcium absorption, immune function, and healthy eyes and skin. Cod liver oil has a smooth texture and tastes like a lemon drop.
"Cod Liver Oil is the highest dietary source of vitamin D naturally"
Children: 1-2 teaspoons per day
Adults: 1-2 tablespoons per day (1,500-3,000mg of EPA/DHA per day)
Benefits of Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats are the superstars of healthy fats and make the body strong and healthy. There are many health benefits of consuming these omega-3 fatty acids.
Brain Health. Our brain needs EPA and DHA for brain development and sustainable brain health. Low levels of EPA and DHA have been associated with depression, memory loss, dementia, ADHD, and visual problems. Low levels of DHA have been linked to low serotonin levels. Serotonin is the “feelgood” neurotransmitter that is boosted by consuming omega-3 fats, especially DHA. Low levels of EPA and DHA have also been liked to an epidemic rise in many brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis. These omega-3 fats are the raw material that feed and nourish the brain for optimal health and performance.
Heart Health. Omega-3 fats aid the cardiovascular system by reducing constriction of blood vessels and decreasing the stickiness of the blood, making it less likely to clot. Omega-3 fats also help balance cholesterol, decrease oxidation, lower inflammation, and improve the sensitivity of the cell membrane, which allows healthy nutrients into the cell and unhealthy waste out of the cell.
Reduced Inflammation. We all know what inflammation is. A bee sting or a sprained ankle causes swelling, hence, inflammation. What about the chronic inflammation that affects millions of people on a daily basis? Ever wondered why some people have more inflammation than others? Want to experience fewer aches and pains? The answer is not another pill, but in consuming omega-3 fats.
One of the worst things to put into the human body on a daily basis is some form of anti-inflammatory medication. Taking medication for a toothache, bee sting, or sprained ankle is not a problem. Taking antiinflammatory medications day in and day out is a problem. It is a killer to the gut and the overall health of the human body. Most people do not link inflammation to their diets, and most people do not realize that omega-3 fats have a natural anti-inflammatory benefit. To decrease inflammation start taking omega-3 fats.
Hormonal Balance. Omega-3 fats are important for creating hormonal balance in the body. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats work by forming shortlived, hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins regulate metabolic processes throughout the entire body at the cellular level. They control cellular communication and are essential in regulating the immune, reproductive, central nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Omega-3 along with omega-6 fats are also the raw materials necessary in building sex hormones such as DHEA, growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen.
Now you have it. Omega-3 fats are foundational for optimal health and feeling your best. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, hempseeds, walnuts, pecans, Brussels sprouts, salmon, trout, mackerel, halibut, oysters, herring, anchovies, sardines, and cod liver oil.
Flaxseeds are high in fiber and contain anti-cancer lignans. Buy a cheap coffee grinder and grind enough flaxseeds up for a couple of weeks. You can put your flaxseeds in a few ounces of dark cherry or pomegranate juice, in your favorite smoothie, or on your oatmeal. Chia seeds are the sister of flaxseeds, and also high in fiber and the mineral magnesium. Chia seeds do not need to be ground to be consumed.
Cod liver oil a better choice than fish oil or krill oil because it is naturally high in essential omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) and is the also one of the highest sources of vitamin D3 of any food in the world. Taking 1-2 tablespoons of cod liver first thing in the morning is an easy habit to develop.
It has a smooth creamy texture and tastes like a lemon drop.
Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and cod liver oil along with many other forms of omega-3 fats are magical in the health benefits they bring to the body. These wonderful omega-3 fats can truly improve high cholesterol or triglycerides, hormonal balance, diabetes, inflammation, ADHD, depression, poor energy, and weight loss.
Just started taking Omega-3 fish oil 1000 MG this week.