Everywhere you turn today, there are articles, television commercials, radio advertisements and health care practitioners raising awareness about the importance of omega 3 fatty acids. With heart disease being the number one cause of death in America today, we are now more aware than ever before, of the necessity to get on top of our cardiovascular health.
The question a lot of us aren’t taking the time to ask however, is what exactly are omega 3 fatty acids? Clinical jargon can become intimidating, causing us to shy away from asking questions we think may be considered silly, or something ‘everybody else already knows about’.
In this article, I’ll give you some of the basic principles behind omega 3 fatty acids, and why they’re so pivotal in boosting your overall health and personal well being.
First of all, the omega 3 essential fatty acids are:
• ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid
• DHA- Docosahexaenoic acid
• EPA- Eicosapentaenoic acid
Those acronyms are enough to scare nearly anyone off. But they break down into a very simple explanation. The reason these three are considered essential fatty acids, is because they are not created naturally by the human body – and yet the human body depends on them in order to metabolize properly.
Many people try to supplement their omega 3 fatty acid in take by consuming fish on a semi regular basis. The problem associated with depending solely on dietary in take from the sea – lies in the fact that many fish are carrying toxins such as mercury, dioxin and PCBs. Flax seeds and algae also contain omega 3 fatty acids, but the amount we would need to consume in order to achieve our recommended omega 3 dietary in take, would be monumental.
The health benefits attached to achieving optimal omega 3 levels are incomprehensible. Omega 3’s have been heavily linked, through numerous medical studies and clinical trials – to the promotion of cardiovascular health and lowered triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood – that your body predominantly uses for energy. However, when we have high levels of triglycerides, they go unused and can lead to diabetes, heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and obesity. Yikes. You can see why omega 3’s are essential for heart health alone.
But that’s not all. Omega 3’s have the ability to reduce inflammation – rendering them essential for those suffering from joint pain due to arthritis, or injury.
Omega 3 fatty acids also show a positive effect on those suffering from depression. Omega 3’s have been proven to boost personal feelings of well-being, and even work alongside anti depressants – fighting the disease together.
DHA – one of the essential fatty acids found in omega 3’s – is currently being studied for ability to inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing inflammation.
When it comes to omega 3 essential fatty acids, the list of benefits is nearly endless. If you live a sustainable, organic lifestyle, it is possible to achieve your recommended omega 3 in take through dietary choices. For most of us however, with our daily lifestyles, and the American addiction to work, getting our nutrients strictly through diet – is difficult.
Omega-3 supplements are literally everywhere, and if you do your homework, they could be an incredible addition to your daily health care plan. There are supplements available on the market, whose manufacturers have taken the time and effort to ensure are of superior quality, concentration and purity.
I personally, use krill oil for my omega 3 supplementation. Krill are a crustacean very high in omega-3s, and packed with antioxidants because they also contain a powerhouse antioxidant called astaxanthin (an antioxidant well worth investigating I might note). What I also like best about choosing krill oil as my choice omega 3 supplement is that it’s sustainable. So I’m guilt free. And, I feel great.
I hope I answered any questions you did (or didn’t) have on omega 3 essential fatty acids. And I hope you feel great!
May is Celiac Awareness Month in the United States. Many of us have heard of celiac disease, but with so many conditions, illnesses and diseases affecting Americans today, it’s hard to stay educated on the many points of illness or disease that attack our personal health and well-being.
It is important to understand different allergies, conditions and diseases in order to be aware of what could be affecting your body. We have provided the basics behind celiac disease for you below. Naturally, we do recommend further research. When it comes to promoting your long-term personal health and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices within your community – awareness is everything.
An Introduction to Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is defined as an autoimmune disorder that prevents a person from properly absorbing and digesting foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in foods Gluten-free symbolsources containing barley, rye or wheat. When a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, their body will respond to gluten based food sources by destroying something called villi, which is located in the small intestine. Villi are largely responsible for helping to absorb nutrients into the larger small intestine. Damage to villi therefore, will result in the inability to absorb essential nutrients into the bloodstream.
Common signs or symptoms associated with celiac disease can include, but are not limited to bloating, diarrhea, extreme abdominal pain, weight loss, delayed growth due to malnutrition, significant fatigue, and loss in bone density, numbness in the hands and/or feet and depression.
Most often, a health care practitioner will begin treatment for celiac disease by recommending a gluten-free diet. If you have noticed signs or symptoms that could be associated with celiac disease, it is certainly recommended that you speak with your health care practitioner. He or she will be able to conduct a series of tests in order to assess if indeed you are suffering from celiac disease, or if there are other changes that could be made to your daily nutritional regime to assist in comfortable, smooth digestion. Celiac disease is also genetic. All first and second-degree relatives should be tested for celiac disease when a family member is diagnosed.
The Gluten Free Diet:
A detailed breakdown of convenient gluten free decisions for your daily nutritional intake can be found through the Celiac Spruce Foundation.
Here is a list of four simple changes that can be introduced into your daily nutritional intake – without feeling like significant sacrifices to your regular meals!
Lean Meats and Other Sources of Protein
Protein intake is crucial to the personal health of absolutely everyone. The importance of protein increases for people on a gluten free diet. People suffering from celiac disease don’t often get enough protein. When we experience protein deficiencies we feel weak, malnourished, and fatigued. Because a person with celiac disease has difficulty with absorption of nutrients, it is important to boost protein intake to ensure your body is getting the essential nutrients it needs to function at its best. Keep in mind that complete proteins are high quality proteins. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are the most common sources of complete protein in people’s diets.
Meat and fish are especially important because they help make up for the lack of dairy in many celiac’s diets. Lactose intolerance and celiac disease will often coincide.
Lean meats are also high in essential nutrients like zinc, iron, and B12 all of which are especially important for you. For those following a vegetarian diet, fortunately, there are a number of gluten free foods rich in protein that are vegetarian friendly.
Eggs, dairy, gluten free tofu, and quinoa are great complete protein sources for vegetarians. Other vegetarian protein sources include nuts, black beans, lentils, and hemp protein powder.
Legumes: Complex Carbohydrates Packed with Protein
When following a gluten free diet, it’s important to make sure we are still seeking out strong food sources of fiber. Fiber promotes intestinal health, works to balance cholesterol levels, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Grains are the top source of fiber in America. For many celiacs, cutting out grains means cutting out most of the fiber in their diet. Legumes, like beans and lentils, are incredible replacements for gluten based grains. Like grains, legumes are stocked with complex carbohydrates and fiber. In fact, legumes are stronger than grains because they’re also loaded with protein! Beans and lentils are also excellent sources of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, and antioxidants. The nutrients found in legumes are vital when it comes to combating the weak nutrient absorption that is attached to celiac disease.
These nutrients are all very important to combat a damaged small intestine and weak nutrient absorption stemming from celiac disease.
Yogurt is considered a healthy good item but not many actually understand why. The key to the importance of yogurt when it comes to any autoimmune disorder is probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your intestine that are a must for digestive health and building up your immune system. Eat just a single yogurt per day and your intestine will thank you for it.
Veggies, Veggies, Veggies
Vegetables are literally jam packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and (sometimes) even essential fatty acids. Dark, leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense of them all. Different vegetables have different benefits so it is best to try and eat a variety of vegetables on a daily basis. Try to include vegetables with very meal (even breakfast!).
Following a gluten-free diet has become popular among people who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease for various other health benefits such as weight loss.
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the daily health care plan that works for you, and the needs surrounding your personal health. Above all else, we recommend that you work with your family physician, to develop the health care plan that best accommodates you and your family’s needs.
Depression is an epidemic that is sweeping America. According to the New York Times, up to 35 million Americans are currently battling with the debilitating reality of depression on a daily basis. Depressive disorders can be beyond debilitating. People suffering from depression experience states of extreme fatigue, declined self worth, anxiety, difficulty with concentration, loneliness – and an ongoing feeling of hopelessness.
While, many Americans don’t suffer from chronic depressive disorders, many will experience periods of depression, anxiety and higher than usual levels of stress at some time. For this reason, it’s crucial that absolutely everyone does a regular check in on his or her mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Many Americans choose not to seek professional help because of fear, anxiety, shame, denial – and a myriad of stigmas that are attached to people experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. This is why it’s important, above all, to increase awareness on mental health issues, and breakdown communication barriers so that more people feel safe and comfortable when seeking out help.
Millions of Americans are seeking more holistic avenues to address their health. While pharmaceutical solutions can be invaluable (even lifesaving) in treating depressive mood disorders, it’s also important to be educated on the many natural mood boosters that nature has provided for us. Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Vitamin B for instance, can all be instrumental in helping to clear out the clouds in your mind, and provide a path for a brighter day.
Another powerful option for a daily lift is to invest in a superior quality omega-3 supplement. Omega-3’s have been clinically proven to increase feelings of personal well-being, while alleviating some of the terrifying symptoms associated with depression.
A study conducted at the University of Illinois in Chicago found that:
“People who are deficient in omega-3s are more likely to experience depression than people have consume adequate amounts. Davis and his team found in a previous study that pregnant women deficient in omega-3s are more prone to depression during and after pregnancy than those who get enough of it.”
The reason I specifically suggest Krill Oil for daily supplementation in the battle against depression – is because of the quality of the oil itself. Many fish oil’s found on the market today, contain a lot of the toxins and contaminants now found in many of our marine life due to pollution. Because fish are so loaded up with these toxins, family doctors are recommending we keep fish intake down to just a few times a week. Imagine the contaminants you are unknowingly putting in your body on a daily basis, if you are using standard fish oil!
Omega-3 supplements have a profoundly positive effect on people suffering from depression, according to a study directed by Dr. François Lespérance of the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier at the Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), head of CHUM’s Department of Psychiatry and a professor at the Université de Montréal.
Analysis revealed that omega-3 improved symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression. Efficacy for these patients was comparable to that generally observed with conventional antidepressant treatment.
From October 2005 to January 2009, 432 male and female participants with major unipolar depression were recruited to take part in this randomized, double-blind study (neither patients nor researchers knew which capsules patients received). For eight weeks, half of the participants took three capsules per day of OM3 Emotional Balance, a fish oil supplement containing high concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The other half took three identical capsules of a placebo consisting of sunflower oil, flavored with a small quantity of fish oil. In contrast with typical clinical studies designed to assess the effectiveness of antidepressants, this study included a high proportion of patients with complex and difficult-to-treat conditions, including patients resistant to conventional antidepressant treatments and patients also suffering from an anxiety disorder. The aim was to assess the value of Omega-3 supplementation in a group of individuals more like those treated in outpatient clinics.
“We are proud that OM3 Emotional Balance, with its high concentration of EPA at unexcelled levels of purity delivers the dose of EPA needed for effective treatment,” said Claire Bertin, head pharmacist for isodisnatura, the laboratory producing the omega-3 supplement used in the study.
Psychiatrist Drew Ramsey also states that rates of depression, bipolar disorder and postpartum depression, are all lower in fish-eating populations. This is well documented in his book, “The Happiness Diet”.
Krill oil supplement might be the solution to your symptoms that you are looking for – a way to wake up feeling more positive every day. It is important to stress that it is important for you, your loved ones, or anyone you may know suffering from a mental health concern – to seek out the advice and treatment of a mental health professional.