Sunday, 24 April 2011



Why should we consume Omega 3?

Consuming Omega-3 fatty acids promotes heart health
It lowers cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
It reduces blood clotting in the arteries and protect from hardening of the arteries,
It reduces inflammation and stiff joints in those with arthritis
It improves symptoms of depression
It improves blood sugar levels in those with diabetes
Gives added shine n luster to hair and skin

What is this omega 3 fatty acid but…………….

To begin with we must distinguish between the two polyunsaturated fatty acids which are termed essential because they cannot be made in the body and therefore must be present in the diet. They are linoleic acid (LA), an omega 6 fat, which is widely available in a vegetarian diet, being present in large quantities in most oils and other vegetable based fatty foods, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega 3 fat, which is not so widely available in a vegetarian diet, and is generally considered to be the more beneficial of the two EFAs. Alpha-linolenic acid is what is known as an omega 3 fat.

Taking an overview of the various fatty acids intake recommendations worldwide, and the confounding factors surrounding the common vegetarian diet, leads to a conclusion that an ALA intake of 1.5% of total energy is optimum for vegetarians – or roughly 4g a day. However it is also important for vegetarians to ensure that their intake of LA is not too high compared with ALA since a higher intake of LA interferes with the process in which the human body converts ALA into the even more beneficial EPA and DHA, so a LA to ALA ratio of around 4 to 1 or slightly lower is considered to be the optimum, but any steps to bring down an excessively high amount of omega 6 fats in the diet would be beneficial.

Did  you know that mother’s milk produces Omega 3 ALA? – food for thought.
The best source of omega fatty acids is seafood, since fish oil has high concentrations of the important fatty acids, DHA and EPA.Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna are significant sources and two3 ounce servings per week are recommended
Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in:
  • walnuts, Brazil nuts, Soy nuts
  •  Flax seeds,  Pumpkin seeds
  • Soybeans, navy beans, kidney beans, Green beans
  • Vegetables; broccoli, cauliflower, Avocado
  • Fruits;  raspberries, strawberries, kiwifruit, papaya   

Goyens PL, Spilker ME, Zock PL, et al. Compartmental modeling to quantify alpha-linolenic acid conversion after longer term intake of multiple tracer boluses. J Lipid Res, 2005. 46:1474-83.
"FOOD PROCESSOR | Nutrition and Fitness" from ESHA Research.

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