Yeah, you've heard about them...but do you know all that you need to know? Some are essential...some are not.
The American Heart Association has specific recommendations regarding Omega-3 Fatty Acid for folks with Coronary Heart Disease! This information is NOT included in this blog.
Fat! This word has been incredibly villainized in both society and diet. First, there is no fat shaming on this blog at any point. Also, we will only be discussing dietary fat in this particular blog. You know, one of those much desired and required macronutrients. Trust me when I say fat is NOT the villain in your story (unless it is trans fat or interesterified fat – trans fats evil brother. These two fats are DEFINETLY your enemy). Fat helps you absorb nutrients from food, certain supplements and it helps to nourish your brain. Your brain needs it to function at its best as it is 60% fat! If you are choosing to eliminate fat from your diet…your brain is an unhappy camper and so are you. Let’s talk about it.
So, The Dent Neurologic Institute tells us that “Healthy fat helps stabilize the cell walls in the brain. It can also reduce inflammation and helps the immune system function properly”. Well, that is cool! But, we cant just have any ole fat. Fast Food will not provide the healthy version of fat your brain craves. Your brain wants a fantastic balance of Omega-3, 6, 9. If you are eating food that isn’t that great for your body (you know what I mean. You don’t feel great after you chow down) it is likely SUPER high in Omega-6 which is actually pro-inflammatory. This doesn’t mean that Omega-6 is bad…its not. The poor thing is treated like a red headed step-child that regularly throws rocks at passing cars! If you consume Omega-6 out of balance, you may run into some issues down the line. Out of balance, Omega-6 can potentially lead to cardiovascular disease. It mostly depends on how it is processed in the body. You especially want the balance that should occur between Omega-3 and Omega-6.
So, where do you obtain this illustrious Omega-3? Well, if you consume animal products then Mackerel, Salmon, and Oysters are going to provide some of the biggest bang for your buck (these are also essential for mental health, but that will come in a later blog). For those of you who choose to consume a plant- based diet, then your options are Flax Seed, Chia Seeds and Walnuts. You have more options in both of these categories, but these six choices will give you a higher amount of Omega 3 fatty acid.
When we think about Omega-9…well, I mean, we don’t typically think about Omega 9! Omega- 9 is actually able to be produced in the body. Healthline lets us know that that a study conducted in 2015 found that “diets high in monounsaturated fats improved insulin sensitivity and decreased inflammation in mice”. That is usually where the story ends, but Healthline continues on to tell us that “The same study found that humans who ate high monounsaturated fat diets had less inflammation and better insulin sensitivity than those who ate diets high in saturated fat.” Earlier, in 2007 researchers, Waterman and Lockwood studied Olive Oil and the Mediterranean Diet.
In their research, we learn “Antioxidants are believed to be responsible for a number of olive oil's biological activities. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, has shown activity in cancer prevention, while squalene has also been identified as having anticancer effects. Olive oil consumption has benefit for colon and breast cancer prevention. The oil has been widely studied for its effects on coronary heart disease (CHD), specifically for its ability to reduce blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.” Why are we talking about Olive Oil? Well…because it is a phenomenal source of many nutrients and antioxidants one of them being Omega-9
Im guessing if you’ve made it this far you may be wondering where you can obtain these Omega Fatty Acids so you can support your brain health, mental health and body. Well…here is one option.
Now, I am going to be honest…I haven’t had this recipe for a few reasons. One, I follow a predominately vegetarian diet and I am allergic to walnuts, but it looks pretty tasty. I don’t know the author or anything like that, but I wanted a recipe that seemed like it would taste good AND provide Omegas 3, 6 and 9. Try it and let me know how it goes! My only recommendation is to drizzle the olive oil after cooking instead of using it to cook. Olive oil has a pretty low smoke point. However, avocado oil has a much higher smoke point and is suitable for cooking.
If you also follow a vegetarian diet or a plant-based diet, that recipe simply wont cut it. Perhaps, you’d enjoy this smoothie. Again, I don’t know these folks AND I haven’t tried the recipe because…walnuts…but this has so much opportunity for having all the Omega Fatty Acids!