Nutrition and Healthy Supplements
I am sure you’ve heard that we should eat more salmon and take fish oil for better health.
I did too, and I was trying to do exactly that. So, I went to the pharmacy to look for a fish oil supplement. And, to my surprise I had a lucky break, or so I thought. They had a sale, a TWO FOR sale. I could get two bottles of fish oil for the price of one. YAY! Right?
I have no idea why I started researching AFTER I got my great deal, but I did. This is what I found:
A little background:
Fatty fish / fish oil contains very important healthy fats.
We need healthy fats for:
- Cell production
- Functioning of cells
But, there is a problem:
- Though our body needs healthy fatty acids
- It does not produce them
- So, we need to consume essential fatty acids through diet
What really are Essential Fatty Acids?
- Omega 3
- Found in fatty fish
- SEVERE SHORTAGE of Omega 3 in our diet << NOT ENOUGH
- Omega 6
- Found in processed foods, grains and cooking oils
- OVERABUNDANCE of Omega 6 in our diet << TOO MUCH
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 work together to manage inflammation. But our diet is not balanced. We generally consume too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3.
- Not enough Omega 3 causes health problems:
- Uncontrolled inflammation – wide range of health issues
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Digestive disorders
- And more
We need Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Healthy arteries
- Healthy blood vessels
- Healthy levels of triglycerides
- Aid in thinning of blood
- Aid memory
- Aid cognition
- Aid healthy vision
- Aid fetal development
- Aid in weight management
- Stabilize blood sugar levels
- Stabilize mood / depression
- Boost immunity
- Promote healthy skin
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- And more…
Omega 3 fatty Acid Family:
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
- Of greatest benefit
- Found in oily fish
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
- Of great benefit
- Found in oily fish
- ALA (ALPha Linolenic Acid)
- Also of benefit but our body needs to convert ALA into DHA and EPA and is not very efficient in doing so.
- Found in plant food like flaxseed and flaxseed oil, in pumpkin seeds, walnuts and walnut oil and high-quality grass-fed beef.
What can I do to increase my intake of Omega 3s ?
Eat oily fish
- White Fish
- Cod liver oil
Eat nuts and seeds
- Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
- Walnuts and walnut oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Brasil nuts
- Egg yolks
- Green leafy vegetables
Take a good-quality fish oil
It isn’t easy to get all of the Omega 3s your body needs just through diet alone. Many of us need a supplement.
Are all fish oil supplement equally good?
Simple answer: No
How do I find a good quality fish oil?
- Ask your doctor’s advice.
- Ask if you should take fish oil. Only your doctor knows all your health conditions and medications you take.
- Ask how much you should take.
- Ask if he recommends any specific type / brand.
- Do your own research at reputable sites to learn more.
- Read labels!
- If at all possible, look for a fish oil made from wild caught pacific salmon (lower contaminants.)
- Make sure the supplement lists the amounts of DHA and EPA. If the amounts are not listed, it is a red flag.
- Look for the amount of fish oil your doctor recommends. The dosages should be high, HOWEVER: Dosages that are too high can interfere with some medications. So, please ask to be sure.
- Look for fish oil with higher levels of DHA and EPA, but remember to stay within your doctor’s recommended guidelines.
So, what about my great “TWO FOR” deal?
The fish oil I chose did not list salmon at all. Instead: Anchovies, Herring, Mackerel, and Sardines.
I was also concerned that the company did not even list the amounts of DHA and EPA on the bottle.
Perhaps it was not such a great deal.
I will ask our doctor and use the following guides to find a good quality fish oil just right for us: