Nutrition : How to Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3
What Foods Are Full Of Omega 3s?
Reader question: I’ve heard that omega-3 fats are good for my heart. What foods can I eat to get more of these?
Ashley’s answer: Omega-3 fatty acids indeed are wonderful for promoting heart health as well as reducing overall chronic inappropriate inflammation in the body. These fatty acids are so important that they're called “essential” fatty acids because the body doesn’t make them but definitely needs them. In recent decades, we’ve realized the need to emphasize these fatty acids because we eat too few of them. Why? Here are just a few American dietary changes that resulted in a reduction of omega-3 intake: The emphasis on a fat-free diet; the change in feed for animals like cows and chickens from grass to corn and soy; the huge usage of highly refined vegetable oils; trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils); the increase in eating highly refined baked goods; and a reduction in overall fish consumption due to fears of heavy metals.
So wherecanwe find a trove of omega-3s? Among my favorites are wild salmon, sablefish, sardines, organic soybeans, walnuts, chia, hemp, and flax seeds. What I am less excited about are the foods and supplements that promote “omega-3s” but come with other ingredients in the product that work opposite the omega-3 heart health benefits. For example, a gummy candy full of sugar and artificial colors that contains a small amount of chia seeds may say that it contains omega-3s, but that’s not a desirable source. When I begin working with a patient, I look for two things in their diet: are they consuming omega-3s from a quality source daily, and are they avoiding many of the foods or ingredients that work against omega-3s, like highly processed vegetable oils, margarine, and high-fat meats and cheeses? There’s an at-home test kit that I find really useful to help develop an optimal protocol for my patients called the Omega 3/6 HUFA test from www.VitalChoice.com. You can do this test yourself and get results that can help direct you to what dietary choices you need to emphasize. And they can definitely be delicious—think dark chocolate with walnuts, a delicious wild salmon burger, or even a grass-fed/finished beef burger.
Video: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Your Mood
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