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- The Wonder of Omega-3s Part 1 - August 11, 2016
Most people fail to consume sufficient amounts of omega-3 fats, which makes omega-3 deficiency likely the sixth biggest killer of Americans. This deficiency can cause or contribute to serious mental and physical health problems, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year.
In fact, dietary fat intake has been among the most widely studied dietary risk factors for breast and prostate cancers. Two studies from 2002 explain how omega-3 can protect against breast cancer. BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2) are two tumor suppressor genes that, when functioning normally, help repair DNA damage, a process that also prevents tumor development. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats have been found to influence these two genes – omega-3 tends to reduce cancer cell growth, while highly processed and toxic omega-6 has been found to cause cancer growth.
Considering that omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer and heart disease, it is no longer surprising for statistics to show that this deficiency may be responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths every year. Special attention should also be given to the fact that most women have major deficiencies of omega-3. A 1991 study at the Mayo Clinic focused on 19 “normal” pregnant women consuming “normal diets,” and it showed that all were deficient in omega-3 fats. Another study compared Inuit (Eskimo) women to Canadian women, and it revealed omega-3 deficiency in the milk of the Canadian nursing moms.
Animal cells cannot form omega-3s, so a fetus must obtain all of its omega-3 fatty acids from its mother’s diet. A mother’s dietary intake and plasma concentrations of DHA directly influence the DHA level of the developing fetus, impacting the child’s brain and eye health. So remember that if you are pregnant, your baby is dependent on the omega-3s from your diet via breast milk. It is then crucial that you maintain an adequate omega-3 supply.
The Omega-3-Omega-6 Balance You Should Maintain in Your Body
Omega-3s and omega-6s are two types of fat that are essential for human health. However, the typical American consumes far too many omega-6 fats in their diet while consuming very low omega-3 levels.
The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Our forefathers evolved over millions of years on this ratio. Today, however, our ratio averages from 20:1 to 50:1 – this spells serious dangers to your well-being! In fact, mainstream media has finally reported that lack of omega-3s is among the most serious and pressing health issues plaguing our world.
Omega-6 is primarily sourced from corn, soy, canola, safflower, and sunflower oils. These are overabundant in the typical diet, which accounts for excess omega-6 levels. Omega-6 fats predominate the diet in the US, and this encourages the production of inflammation in your body. Many scientists believe that one reason there is a high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, and some cancer forms today is this profound omega-3-omega-6 imbalance.
Sources of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats
Perhaps you are wondering what animal-based omega-3 options are available for you. Here are the primary ones:
• Fish – In a perfect world, fish can provide you all the omega-3s you need. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the fish supply is now heavily tainted with industrial toxins and pollutants, such as heavy metals, PCBs, and radioactive poisons.
About the only exception are wild-caught Alaskan salmon and very small fish like sardines. The highest concentrations of mercury are found in large carnivorous fish like tuna, sea bass, and marlin. You may need to be especially cautious with canned tuna as well, as independent testing by the Mercury Policy Project found that the average mercury concentration in canned tuna is far over the “safe limits” of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
It is also important that you avoid farmed salmon, which contains only about half of the omega-3 levels of wild salmon. It may also harbor a range of contaminants, including environmental toxins, synthetic astaxanthin, and harmful metabolic byproducts and agrichemical residues of GMO corn- and soy-based feed they are given.
• Fish oil – Fish oil is among the primary ways that people enhance their intake of omega-3 fats. High-quality fish oils can certainly provide many health benefits. However, this oil is weak in antioxidants. This means that as you increase your omega-3 intake through fish oil consumption, you actually increase your need for added antioxidant protection.
This happens because fish oil is a bit perishable, and oxidation leads to the formation of harmful free radicals. Antioxidants are therefore necessary to ensure that the fish oil doesn’t oxidize and become rancid in your body.
• Krill oil – Its antioxidant potency is 48 times higher than fish oil. It also contains astaxanthin, a marine-source flavonoid that creates a special bond with the EPA and DHA to allow direct metabolism of the antioxidants, making them more bioavailable.
Make sure that you and your children get the right type of omega-3 fats. Go for a pollution-free, eco-friendly, and highly sustainable source, like krill oil. The good news is that krill oil appears to work at a lower dose, and this results in major cost savings, making it more affordable than fish oil. However, fish oil is good for you as well, especially from salmon. And thankfully Fuel Kitchen offers various delicious salmon meals for you and your family to contribute to your daily intake of Omega 3 oils.
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