Why on earth are they so important?
Other sources: When I say Omega 3 I don't just mean fish oil. Flax, hemp, Krill and algae are the major vegan/non vegan sources of omega 3 and are available OTC.
Did you know there is a fish oil available by prescription only- of course it claims to be the best. Introducing Lovaza- ask your doctor!
Did you know Fish oils comes in two forms? There is a difference however with esterifed and triglyceride based fish oils (FO). Essentially the structure of esterified (EE) FO is highly unstable and is easily oxidized and more likely to go rancid than the triglyceride (TG) based. You'd have to wonder which version Walgreens or Costco is using? Hmm...
Tests to measure good quality fish oil vs. fishy oil
1. Use your senses- Poke a hole in that capsule, if it stinks like the fish market.. throw it back
2. Measure and place 20 ml (4 teaspoons) of fish oil in a polystyrene cup. Place the cup on a plate to avoid any mess. Observe the cup after 10 minutes. If the fish oil has leaked significantly through the cup it contains EE. Interesting!
3. How in the world do I pick a good fish oil? (next week's blog)
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them -- you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
Getting the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) is important in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 - 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which I consider to be too high on the omega-6 side.