While nearly everyone seems to know about the importance of Omega-3s in the diet, most people don’t really know which ones they should be eating.
The American Heart Association makes it pretty clear. The first and foremost Omega-3s you should be eating are from fish sources.
In a statement in 2012 they noted:
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of CVD (cardiovascular disease) Evidence from prospective secondary prevention studies suggests that EPA+DHA supplementation ranging from 0.5 to 1.8g/d (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduced subsequent cardiac and all-cause mortality.
In addition, they also noted omega-3s are helpful with the following health benefits
- decrease triglycerides
- lower blood pressure
- improve cholesterol by increasing HDL and decreasing LDL,
- improve endothelial function
- reduce blood clotting
- decrease stroke and heart failure risk
- reduce cardiac arrhythmias
- reduce inflammation that can damage artery lining that can lead to atherosclerosis.
But then JAMA did a study and questioned whether Omega-3s are helpful for heart health.
What was later discovered (by the AHA) is what’s most important is how well the body absorbs Omega-3s.
Which means for anyone who depends on plant sources of Omega-3s they might be in for a rude awakening.
Omega-3s are made of 3 different fatty acid chains. Medium length chains known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and then the longer chain fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The only known health benefits come from EPA and DHA.
Conversely your body doesn’t benefit from ALA consumption, which is the main type of Omega-3 found in almost all plant foods.
That means if you’re turning to plants like Walnuts, flax, chia, pumpkin seeds, hemp, etc. for your Omega-3 you might not be doing your body a lick of good.
You see, your body is not able to synthesize Omega-3s on its own which means you have to get it from dietary sources.
And vegetable sources don’t work (for the most part).
The most plentiful source is going to come from animal sources like:
- Pasture Raised Chicken Eggs
- Wild Game
And if you can’t find these in abundance you can always turn to supplements to get what you need.
But what if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan who doesn’t want to rely on animal based products to supplement? What then are you left to do?
The answer is turn to the plant sources fish eat.
In particular algae and phytoplankton.
If you want, you can try eating what you can from the sea.
That’s a pretty tough task to accomplish.
If you wan to go the supplement route instead then consider getting natural supplements that use algae and phytoplankton to create Omega-3s.
With these products you’re getting the EPA and DHA you need for superior health while also eliminating the use of any animal based product.
Regardlesss of whether you’re a vegetarian or not, most people have included in their diet one plant food that’s harmful to their health