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Oh, the world wide webs we weave. It is true that you can find internet based “evidence” to prove practically anything these days. The subject of healthful-food is certainly no exception, as it is widely controversial. I’d like to offer my 2 cents on the matter - STRESS LESS. The internet can be a wonderful and useful health research tool, but make sure you aren’t damaging your health by stressing out over all the conflicting, “fishy” information!
It’s true that there are omega-3s found in flax and other plant-based foods. But they are not the best version of omega-3s. All omega-3 fatty acids are “essential” fatty acids because they are vital for normal metabolism and cannot be synthesized or created by the human body. There are three main types of omega-3s: EPA, DHA and ALA. Foods like flaxseed, leafy green veggies and walnuts all have the ALA form of omega-3s, and while they are very healthy for you, our bodies need to work to convert them into something recognizable that we can actually use—EPA and DHA.
Fish and high-quality fish-oil capsules contain EPA and DHA, so they’re already in the form your body recognizes. The fish in the sea have done all the work for you! No extra work needs to be done to convert anything.
While this is a true statement, it’s a little misleading. Both omega-3s and omega-6s are essential. We need them to survive and we need to find them in our diet because our bodies cannot make them. While omega-3s are found in fish, omega-6s are found in plant-based vegetable oils. Trouble is, we ingest 14-25 times more omega-6s than omega-3s when the ratio should be balanced. Years ago, our intake of omega-3s compared to omega-6s was closer to a 1:1 ratio. Our diets consisted of a lot more fish and grass-eating wild game animals and a lot less vegetable oil, corn and soy products (did you know that corn oil or a variety of it is found in almost ALL our snack foods as a processing agent?). Some researchers believe an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may lead to a variety of mental disorders, including hyperactivity, depression, brain allergies and schizophrenia. Yikes. The other problem is inflammation. Even though omega-6s are essential, they tend to cause inflammation, whereas omega-3s reduce inflammation. When we have a 1:1 ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, our chance of inflammation is vastly lower.
Info adapted from HealingLifestyles.com
Let’s all take a deep breath and relax this summer. Go ENJOY some fish!