Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting Omega 3's In Your Diet Without Being All Fishy

It has been way too long since I've written, and I apologize for that!  Life has been a whirlwind of events in the last few months.  I got to take a much needed vacation for a few weeks, I got to sing with Bobby McFerrin (one lifelong dream fulfilled), and I just opened up my own training studio (another dream fulfilled).  As a result, I have neglected this blog terribly.  So I'd best jump back in right now!

As you may have heard me mention in other posts, most people's diets are severely skewed in their Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio.  While a very low ratio (at least 4:1) of Omega 6:Omega 3 is recommended for optimal health, most Westernized adults get closer to 15:1-16.7:1 in their diets.  The ratio of 4:1 correlates to a 70% drop in mortality, while a ratio of 2.5:1 lowered rectal cancer proliferation.  It's understandable that we get so many omega 6's-- they're in pretty much everything the standard American diet yields, from nuts and seeds to meat and processed foods.  So where, then, does one get one's Omega 3's?

The obvious answer is fish.  But what about those of us who don't eat fish?  The good news is, we have tons of options.

Happy Fish thanks you for looking at other food sources.

Chia seeds:  Chia seeds have a huge omega 3 content, and even better, you don't need to grind them up to get their benefits.  With 4915mg of omega 3's (and 1620mg of omega 6's), the chia seed is a winner for this nutrient.  Add to that their high calcium content, their tremendous antioxidant content, and their resistance to rancidity (can't say that for fish or flax), chia seeds are a fantastic addition to any diet.  Add it to oatmeal, throw a handful of them in water/tea/coffee (it becomes sort of like boba!), use them, soaked in some water, as a binder in baked goods (substituting for eggs), or experiment adding them to your own recipes. 

Flaxseeds:  Flaxseed is fantastic, although you must grind the seeds to reap their benefits.  Flaxseed also tends to go rancid after a while (I keep mine in the freezer).  That having been said, flaxseed has a whopping 38,325mg of Omega 3's (and 9931mg of Omega 6's). Use them the same as Chia seeds for cereal and baked goods, and add them to all kinds of recipes.

Hemp seeds:   I have a newfound love for hemp hearts.  I bought a 5lb jug of them on Amazon and went through most of it within 3 weeks.  I throw these into just about every dinner I cook-- I love their nutty flavor and huge nutritional boost!  Hemp has a 3:1 ratio of Omega 3's to Omega 6's.  It also is high in quality protein, containing all essential amino acids.  It also supplies a power punch of magnesium, a mineral most people tend to be deficient in.  You really can't go wrong with this stuff. 

Several different veggies!  Radish seeds, grape leaves, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, purslane, mache...  you'd be amazed how many veggies have lots of Omega 3's to offer!  I always tell my clients to make most of their diet veggies (particularly green/cruciferous)-- this is just another of a myriad of reasons.

Spices!  Believe it or not, oregano, basil, and cloves all have a fair amount of omega 3's in them, plus a ton of antioxidant activity.  Adding flavor to your food with spices adds a significant nutritional boost!

Marine algae:  Algae is actually where fish get their omega 3's from, and is a good source of DHA and even EPA.  I wrote more about this subject here

So if you're looking to increase your Omega 3's (and if you're not, you should be), take the above suggestions into consideration.  You might just see some pretty impressive health changes in your future.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post-very helpful. I'm allergic to all seafood/fish so to read all the other places to get some Omega-3's was interesting.
    I've done flaxseed just because I heard it was "good" for me but it had detrimental effects on my GI system. I had Chia seeds which seemed to be okay, however they were also "binding" in the GI system but they were tolerable on a every other day basis. I liked how they could just go into anything and not ruin the taste or anything. Time to get another bag!