|Brain food! And yes, my herring salad was delicious!|
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for optimal health. The only way we can gain them naturally is though our diet. Omega 3 has well established health benefits - not only does it prevent heart disease and is vital for brain health and development, it has also been shown to be beneficial in conditions such as diabetes, obesity, depression, arthritis, ADHD and skin disorders. It also has strong anti inflammatory properties which are very important for people with chronic disease.
Because of these known benefits, lots of people buy fish oil supplements which is of course fine. But you really don't need to. Did you know a can of sardines or herrings (like I had for lunch today) contains over 3,000mg of DHA? Fresh cold water fish like salmon or albacore tuna are also excellent sources as are oysters, mussels and squid. In a statement by the American Heart Association it was confirmed that eating fresh fish twice a week reduced the risk of sudden cardiac death by 50%!!
Don't eat fish? That's okay! Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in flaxseeds, soybeans, chia seeds and walnuts as well as green leafy vegetables. The recommendations is that we should be including more of all sources in our diet on a daily basis, not just fish.
And here's the kicker - while the evidence for inclusion of more fresh sources of Omega 3 in our diets is clear, the evidence for fish oil supplements is a little less impressive. Nutrition science is complex, and as has been found in so many cases when we try and break down the microcnutrients of each food to find the "magic bullet" we don't always get exactly the same benefits.
Just eat real food.
Lyndal @ Lean Green and Healthy.
University of Rochester medical center