Thoughts on Better Aging

Best Sources of Omega-3s

May 22nd, 2015

Learn what foods and supplements provide the best source of Omega-3s.

Getting the right balance of nutrients from your diet is important for everyone, but you need to be especially careful to eat right if you are undergoing any kind of hormone treatment for menopause. After all, your diet can affect the effectiveness of your treatments and the severity of your symptoms.

Omega-3s are one of the many vital nutrients you need to look out for and be sure to include in your diet. These essential fatty acids offer numerous health benefits, including:

  • Boosting brain health
  • Improving memory
  • Protecting against depression
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Normalizing triglyceride, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease

Watch Out for Omega-6s

Unfortunately, most food sources of omega-3s also include omega-6s. While omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, omega-6s actually promote inflammation and therefore contribute to many health problems including heart disease, autoimmune diseases, cancer, anxiety, depression, and memory loss.

The human body needs a small amount of omega-6s, but most people are getting way too much. When adding omega-3s to your diet, beware of adding too many omega-6s at the same time. A good ratio to strive for is 1:1, but you could eat omega-3s at a ratio of 2:1 or even 4:1 and reap bigger health benefits.

Three Ways to Get Your Omega-3s

Plant Sources: There are actually many different types of omega-3s, including ALA, EPA, and DHA. EPA and DHA are the forms that provide the most brain health benefits, but plant sources of omega-3s typically do not contain them. Instead, plant sources offer ALA which the body then has to convert into EPA or DHA. This process is not very efficient and only a miniscule fraction of the ALA will get converted.

That being said, you can still add plant sources to your diet. This includes flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and seaweed. Just beware of adding nut and seed oils, as some of these will bring high amounts of omega-6s.

Animal Sources: Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fish, beef, poultry, and eggs. However, it is extremely important to consider the way the animal was fed and raised, as this will affect the nutritional benefits of the meat.

With beef and poultry, the main concern is whether or not the animal was fed a natural diet. For example, when cows graze on wild grasses as nature intended, they accumulate lots of omega-3s from this food. However, when cows are fed on products that don’t contain omega-3s, such as corn or soy, naturally the meat will not contain this vital nutrient.

With fish, the main issue is contaminants like mercury, PCBs, and pesticides that can build up in the meat due to pollution in the environment. With farm-raised fish, there is also the concern that their fish feed may have contained cheap vegetable oil rather than fish oil, which has the effect of boosting omega-6s in the meat.

Supplements: Due to the difficulties inherent in getting omega-3s from a normal diet, supplements offer the best route to the nutrition you need. The three most popular types of omega-3 supplements are flax oil, fish oil, and krill oil.

Unfortunately, flax oil presents the same problem as all plant sources of omega-3s, namely low conversion to the brain-healthy forms of the nutrient. Fish oil is an excellent choice, and for many years it has been the number one recommended omega-3 supplement.

However, krill oil has recently emerged as an even better way to supplement omega-3s. Because of the way krill oil is digested, you can absorb DHA better from krill oil than from fish oil at lower doses. Krill oil is easy to digest, has no fishy taste, and as a bonus it also contains a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin.

If you are interested in supplementing your omega-3s with krill oil, please take a look in our online shop for pure, unadulterated products from trusted brands.

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