Yes, Your Vitality Requires Omega-3. Omega-3 is Essential to Your Vitality!
You have undoubtedly heard about the miraculous benefits of omega- 3 fish oil. Everyone is talking about it. Omega-3’s are in the news practically everyday, and a growing number of nutrition experts agree on how essential omega-3 is for your good health. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted a qualified health claim for foods and dietary supplements containing EPA and DHA, saying: “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” In fact, unlike almost any other nutrient, omega-3 supports heart health, circulation, improved joint function, healthy brain function, and the vibrant and youthful looking skin that everybody wants.
Why Are Omega-3’s So Essential?
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered one of the two essential fatty acids. They are essential to human health yet ironically our bodies cannot manufac- ture them. The only way for you to obtain them is from food. The main source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish; specifically, fish found in cold water regions such as salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines and mackerel. The reason these fish have to be from a cold watercold-water environment is because they too cannot manufacture omega-3’s on their own; they must get it from the food they eat. The types of marine life, algae and krill that provide the omega-3 to the fish can only be found in a cold watercold-water atmosphere.
There are two types of essential fats – omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are both polyunsaturated and both play a major role in a great number of different body functions.
The fact is that we need both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in about the same amounts. In other words, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be about one to one. This is how people ate from biblical times until modern food processing methods came along. The ratio is now estimated to be 10 – 20 to 1 or even as high as 50 to 1 of omega-6 intake versus omega-3’s. This is a pro-inflammatory diet and can have dire consequences.
How Could the Ratio Change So Much?
Let us consider the main sources of different fatty acids. Omega-6 fats are present in vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, and soy), margarines made from these oils, and most nuts and nut butters. These products, especially vegetable oils and margarines, have been promoted as healthy substitutes to the other kinds of fats.
Omega 3 fats can be found in walnut oil, flaxseed oil, and seafood. There was a time when beef, chicken and other meat, as well as milk and dairy products were a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. That was before modern cattle-raising practices. It turns out that the fat of most naturally raised animals contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids. We are talk- ing about the animals that are free roaming and eat the food that they were intended to eat.
If you allow a cow to roam freely and graze on grass, it will have a large amount of omega-3s in the milk and the fatty tissues. But take the same cow, put it in a stall and feed it corn or wheat, and you will not find any omega-3 fats at all.
Eggs from free roaming chickens that eat natural chicken food have a lot more omega-3 fats than eggs from caged chickens. Likewise, we do not eat enough foods high in omega-3’s, while omega-6’s are everywhere. This is what caused the change in the ratio, which many scientists believe to be responsible for many chronic diseases conditions we face today.
This is why adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet may help you prevent such diverse conditions as heart disease, inflammation, arthritis, depression, memory problems, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, stroke, and even cancerhas been shown to have significant health promoting benefits.
Why Is Omega-3 So Heart Healthy?
Since the 1970s, literally thousandsan enormous amount of studies have shown shown that omega- 3 fats may be the heart’s best friendpromote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. They reduce the risk of heart attack, sudden cardiac death, hardening of the arteries (Atherosclerosis), and stroke. They improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce high blood pressure, make arteries more elastic, reduce plaque formation, and make the heart muscle stronger.
One study followed 852 middle-aged men without heart disease for 20 years. Men who consumed an average of 30 gm (about one oz.) of fish daily had a 50 percent lower risk of dying fromfrom the deleterious affects of heart diseasea cardiac event. This averages to about one to two fish meals per week. Another study that followed 1822 men without heart disease issues for 30 years had similar results.
In the US Physicians Health Study, 20,551 male doctors between 40 and 84 years old without heart disease issues were followed for 11 years. Those who had at least one fish meal per week had a 52 percent lower risk of sudden deathcardiac event. Even eating one fish meal every two to three weeks was protective.
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