Nutrient of the week… Omega 3 and Fabulous fish oil!

Most of us have heard of the omega fatty acids, 3 and 6. They are essential fatty acids which means that we don’t make them on our own, we get them from our diet. Fatty acids are crucial for the health of our cell membranes and brain function amongst other things. They are also really important for the production of hormones,  omega 6 creates hormones that aid inflammatory response (which is needed for a good immune system) and also blood clotting, while omega 3 do the opposite, so are anti-inflammatory. We need them both but in balance..

So here is the problem…..Before the industrial revolution we ate a very different diet. Our diet changed drastically as we started to rely more on processed foods and processed foods tend to contain a lot of omega 6 fats from thing like vegetable oil and soy grain which is used to feed live stock and has now become a big part of our food intake (more so in the US). We think that now between 10-20% of our calories comes from omega 6 fatty acids and the ratio of omega 6:3 is estimated to have risen from 1:1 to a staggering 25:1. So basically our intake of omega 6 is much much higher than our bodies have been used to, and this is causing all sorts of problems health wise. This high intake of 6 and low intake of 3 is thought to be a contributing factor to cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, cognitive function, asthma, IBS and IBD, general inflammation in the body to name a few.

 

 

 

One of the best sources for omega 3 oil is fish. Some fish are better than others, oily fish are the best and these include salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel, sardines and anchovies. The problem with fish is that sadly there is a lot of over fishing (especially tuna) and also because out oceans are so polluted, fish can carry a lot of toxins in them, such as heavy metals and plastics. Stick to the smaller fish, like sardines and anchovies. Alaskan wild salmon is ok too!

The other way to get a fish oil omega 3 is by taking a supplement, the brands that I like and trust are Eskimo 3 and Nordic Naturals. You need to make sure you are buying a good brand as you want to know that the oil you are getting is as pure as it can be!

Krill oil is another option and comes from a shrimp like creature. It is thought to work just as well as fish oils even though it has slightly lower EPA and DHA, this may be because we absorb it better.

If you are a vegan then you should look at flax seed oil, walnut oil or algae oil, which you can get from a company called V-Pure, again you should check where the oil is coming from.

Eggs are also good source of omega 3. In order to boost your omega 3 versus your omega 6 make sure that you cut down inn veg oils and processed foods. Stick to an anti inflammatory diet, which means cutting down on,  red meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and sugar wherever you can! And have lots of lovely water and fresh veg and fruit!