Why do we need Omega 3s?
Our bodies needs certain nutrients from our diet and it is important for us to understand which ones, in order to consume these nutrients more frequently. Omega 3s are an important one for us to understand. We NEED this fat. It contributes to healthy skin, hair, and nails, as well.
There are three types of essential fatty acids. Our bodies needs Omega 3s and Omega 6s in a certain ratio of 1:1 to 1:3. However, our greatest need these days are Omega 3s. Our bodies need Omega 3s to perform well, notably this one is known as brain food. There are a vast amount of other benefits of having a healthy balance that includes assistance in a healthy metabolism (burning of fat), helping the digestive system (immune system), as well as reducing inflammation (results in diseases). (Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids) It is essential, hence the name essential fatty acid, that we consume these.
Omega 3 fatty acids are a great need because we tend to consume fewer of these essential fatty acids (EFAs), because there are fewer sources (due to man messing with nature – processing) with large amounts of these fats. Dr. Udo says that 95% of people are deficient in Omega 3s. This is huge! Deficiency symptoms include: high blood pressure, weight gain, cancer, depression, acne, sub-par skin, and signs of aging, including wrinkles, and various other problems. (Dr. Cosmas) Further symptoms of deficiency here.
Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, Omega 6s are pro inflammatory, another reason we need Omega 3s are because they are canceled out when we eat in essence the opposing EFA Omega 6. Our diets these days are filled with Omega 6s.
What are the sources of Omega 3s?
There are both ANIMAL sources called DHA and EPA (long chains) and PLANT sources called ALA (short chains) of Omega 3s. The body can covert plant sources of ALA into EPA and DHA at a rate somewhere between 10-36% (conditions in body varies, women convert more than men). (Dr. Udo)
However, there are many caveats with animal sources.
According to Dr. Gabe Mirkin, when Omega 3s from animals are consumed, there is no protection of Vitamin E to keep the oxygen in the body from making the Omegas rancid (upon the process of breaking down foods to be utilized by the body). It is essential to consume plant food along with it, if omega you choose to consume animal sources.
The second caveat of animal sources is that upon cooking fish (contains the highest amount of Omega 3s before it's cooked), there is a reduction in the amount of Omega 3s (heat, light, and oxygen destroys it).
Although, it is important to consume enough of the plant source for the needed amount to be converted to DHA and EPAs, there is no added burden on the body, except when plant oils are consumed in excess, which can overburden the liver.
Thus, another reason to eat our fruits and veggies, a few in particular, see part 2 for a food source list to include in your diet.
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