omega-3s

  1. Omega-3s from fish are more potent than those from nuts and seeds

    One if by land, two if by sea

    Q: I'm a vegetarian, so I don't want to take fish oil supplements. Can I get the omega-3s I need from plant-based sources?

    GR: If you've been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that I can't sing the praises of omega-3s enough.

    These inflammation-fighting fatty acids -- largely found in fatty fish and other marine life -- are "megastars" when it comes to just about every aspect of your health.

    But if you're vegan, vegetarian, or just can't stand all of that fishy flavor, getting enough of the good stuff can be a challenge greater than Captain Ahab's!

    Nuts and seeds (particularly flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and walnuts) provide some of the plant-based omega-3s you're looking for -- but the fatty acids they contain are actually different than the ones you'll find in fish.

    And the latest research shows that they were NOT created equal.

    In a recent study out of Canada, researchers took mice who were genetically predisposed to develop an aggressive type of breast cancer and fed them either fish oil, flaxseed, or a control supplement.

    After five months, the mice who ate fish oil had 30 percent FEWER cancerous tumors than the controls, and the tumors they did develop were 70 percent SMALLER.

    And, as the researchers noted, the omega-3s found in fish are likely also beneficial for other types of cancer.

    Now, here's the rub: Flaxseed oil produced similar results, but it took over THREE TIMES more of it than fish oil to achieve the same benefits!

    That may be because your body has to convert the alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA for short) found in nuts and seeds into forms of omega-3 fatty acids it can actually use -- which, as I've shared with you in the past, are EPA and DHA.

    Because of this, and depending on the quantity of nuts and greens you're eating, relying on plant-based sources means that you're potentially getting less than optimal levels of the strongest omega-3s.

    But when you bite into a piece of fish... or take a fish oil supplement... you're cutting out the middleman and getting the EPA and DHA you need directly.

    Still, though, if you're determined to stay away from anything that looks remotely fishy, getting your omega-3s from nuts and seeds is still better than getting none at all.

    And in that case, I recommend supplementing with flaxseed or flaxseed oil. But I should note that because ALA itself has been linked to higher risk of issues like cataracts and prostate cancer (though not all research agrees), be sure to consult a nutritionally minded physician about what quantity is right for you.

    However, I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't point out that all it takes is two to three servings of omega-3-rich fish each week to get about the same amount of omega-3s as used in the study -- and beat back the risk of cancer.

    Cold-water, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and anchovies are the best choices... and wild-caught varieties also pack in more of these fatty acids than farmed ones.

    Something else got you reeling? Cast me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com, and I may choose your question to answer next.

  2. Omega-3s help your good gut bugs prosper

    Why you should add some surf to your turf

    FEED ME!

    That's what your belly is telling you.

    But it's not asking for a cheeseburger. (You can blame your taste buds for that.) It's hungry for BACTERIA.

    We've known for quite some time that feeding the colony of good "bugs" in your gut is one of the best things you can do for your health.

    But the key isn't just in increasing their sheer NUMBERS -- but also making sure there's plenty of diversity among those belly bugs.

    Having lots of different kinds of beneficial gut bacteria can lower your risk of diabetes... protect you from inflammatory bowel diseases... and even make it less likely you'll become obese.

    And according to a new study, there's a natural and tasty way to increase both the number AND variety of these helpful critters in your gut -- all you have to do is eat more fish!

    Well, as long as it's the right type of fish.

    In the study out of the UK, researchers tested the gut bacteria and omega-3 blood levels of older women and gathered information on their dietary intake of omega-3s.

    Now, if you've been reading my eTips for a while now, you already know that omega-3s are essential fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel that can benefit your heart, your brain, and much more.

    After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that the women who got the MOST omega-3s in their diet -- and likewise had the highest blood levels of it -- also had a more diverse set of bacteria in their guts than the women who got the LEAST.

    Not only that, but the women with top levels of these fatty acids also had higher numbers of certain BENEFICIAL strains of gut bacteria -- the very same ones that have been linked to lower inflammation and lower risk of obesity.

    The study also found that high omega-3 intake was associated with higher levels of a compound in the gut called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG), which studies have shown can reduce oxidative stress.

    And that's important -- because oxidative stress plays a role in everything from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer to heart disease.

    So, if you want to feed your gut the most helpful bacteria in the greatest numbers, make sure you're getting enough omega-3s in your diet.

    If you're not a fan of those fatty varieties of fish, you can boost your levels by taking fish oil supplements. Just make sure they've got plenty of both EPA and DHA, as not all fish oils were created equal.

    Fish oil isn't for everybody. It can be tough to stomach for some people, and it acts as a blood thinner. In that case, I recommend supplementing with flaxseed and/or flaxseed oil.

  3. Omega-3s reduce coronary heart disease risk

    Omega-3 fatty acids, especially those found in fish and shellfish, can reduce coronary heart disease risk by as much as 16 percent. Here’s the best way to get your omega-3s and protect yourself.
  4. Diets rich in omega-3s reduce heart attack deaths

    Study found that those who eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids – found in fish like salmon and mackerel – reduced their chances of dying from a heart attack by 10 percent.
  5. Health benefits of omega-3s extend to brain function

    Seniors with high omega-3 fatty acid levels aced two cognitive function tests given to help gauge their dementia risk – and they were able to get their levels high enough just by eating fish.
  6. Feds are funding a hit job on natural cures with your cash

    Uncle Sam is pouring billions of your tax dollars into a hospital that's busy spreading lies about natural heart disease cures.
  7. Fish oil slows brain aging by up to two years

    Quit those boring crosswords and Sudokus forever! Scientists say just a spoonful a day of fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, could keep your mind razor sharp and slow your brain's aging by up to two full years! You can start getting smarter today!
  8. Fish for the brain

    All that fat you've been told NOT to eat? Turns out your brain needs it after all.

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