OMEGA 3 Fatty ACIDS
What can high-omega-3 foods do for you?
Reduce inflammation throughout your body
Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes
lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream
decrease platelet aggregation, preventing excessive blood clotting
inhibit thickening of the arteries by decreasing endothelial cells' production of a platelet-derived growth factor (the lining of the arteries is composed of endothelial cells)
increase the activity of another chemical derived from endothelial cells (endothelium-derived nitric oxide), which causes arteries to relax and dilate
reduce the production of messenger chemicals called cytokines, which are involved in the inflammatory response associated with atherosclerosis
reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body's ability to respond to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake, body weight and metabolism, and is expressed primarily by adipocytes (fat cells) help prevent cancer cell growth
What conditions or symptoms indicate a need for more high-omega-3 foods?
Type 2 Diabetes
Dry, itchy skin
Brittle hair and nails
Inability to concentrate
Sardines, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent food sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Research indicates that omega-3s may be better absorbed from food than supplements. Norwegian researchers compared 71 volunteers' absorption of omega-3s (EPA and DHA) from salmon, smoked salmon, cod (14 ounces of fish per week) or cod liver oil (3 teaspoons per day). Cooked salmon provided 1.2 grams of omega-3s daily, while cod liver oil provided more than twice as much: 3 grams of omega-3s per day.
Despite the fact that the salmon group got less than half the amount of omega-3s as the cod liver oil group, blood levels of omega-3s increased quite a bit more in those eating salmon than those taking cod liver oil. After 8 weeks, EPA levels had risen 129% and DHA rose 45% in those eating cooked salmon compared to 106% and 25%, respectively, in those taking cod liver oil.
In the group eating smoked salmon, blood levels of omega-3s rose about one-third less than in the salmon group. In those eating cod, the rise in omega-3s was very small.
Concurrent with the rise in omega-3s in those eating salmon, a drop was seen in blood levels of a number of pro-inflammatory chemicals (TNFalpha, IL-8, leukotriene B4, and thromboxane B2). Researchers think omega-3s may be better absorbed from fish because fish contains these fats in the form of triglycerides, while the omega-3s in almost all refined fish oils are in the ethyl ester form. Once absorbed, omega-3s are converted by the body from their triglyceride to ester forms as needed.