Monday, January 25, 2010

Omega 3's

Fish Oil...the sound of it isn't too appealing ...but it's SO important to our health. You've all heard of Omega-6's and Omega-3's, but do you know what they really are?

Omega-3's and Omega-6's are essential fatty acids - we cannot make them on our own and therefore have to get them through our diet. Good sources of Omega-3's come from fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, bluefish, etc.), but not very many of us will eat enough fish to get proper amounts of Omega-3's. I'm not a supplement pusher (in fact the opposite) but taking fish oil daily is so important. It is the building block of for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting and cell growth. This is done through the components EPA and DHA. In some nuts (walnuts and flaxseeds) there's a precursor Omega-3 called ALA that the converts to EPA and DHA. It is best to get them through the fish oil itself though.

Omega-6's are very high in American diet. They come from seeds, nuts, and the oils extracted from them. Also refined vegetable oils are a source. The most prominent being soybean oil, which has taken over about 20% of our daily caloric intake in processed foods. The problem with Omega-6's is that they do the opposite of Omega-3's. They cause an inflammatory response which hinders immune function, increases blood clotting, and decreases cell growth.

A balance of both types of fatty acids is critical to optimal health. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the typical diet is now too high in Omega-6's which is thought to be a related cause to the increase cases of asthma, heart disease, autoimmune and neurodegenerative, and many forms of cancer due to the increased inflammatory response. The imbalance is also thought to possibly lead to obesity, depression, dyslexia, and hyperactivity.

So, it's time to suck it up, and get some of that fish oil. When you go the store make sure to get the fish oil that has been refrigerated and keep it refrigerated because when kept at room temperature it becomes harmful to the body. ENJOY!

1 comment:

  1. Jen, I take an Omega-3 each day along with other supplements. You mentioned that you are not a supplement pusher...what's your philosophy here?