Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid found in foods such as oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are particularly rich in it), green leafy vegetables (wheatgrass is fantastic), nuts (walnuts and hazelnuts) and seeds (flax seeds and sunflower seeds). It’s absolutely vital for our bodies to function at optimum levels yet everything we need has to come from the food we eat - our bodies can’t make it. With the majority of people deficient in omega-3, it’s something we should all be paying attention to and something we’re passionate about at Britt’s Superfoods.
Omega-3 and 6: what’s the difference?
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential components of cell membranes but they have very different effects: simply put, omega-6s are pro-inflammatory while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. Although a certain level of inflammation is necessary for the body to prevent infection and injury, too much can cause chronic diseases. It’s thought that chronic inflammation may be one of the main causes of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's and some types of cancer. Getting a balanced ration of omega 3 and 6 is therefore vital to ensure your body is working at its optimum level.
The table below illustrates the ideal 1:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 we should be aiming for. Western diets are often weighted in favour of omega 6 and we can end up with 15-17 times more omega-6 than omega-3. Research has shown that if we reduce our ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 to 4:1 then there is a 70% decrease in the cardiovascular mortality rate. A ratio of 2.5:1 reduced rectal cell growth in patients with colorectal cancer. The 2:1 ratio in women with breast cancer was associated with significant decreased risk. A ratio of 2-3:1 suppressed inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and a ratio of 5:1 had a beneficial effect on patients with asthma, whereas a ratio of 10:1 had adverse consequences.
Why you should increase your omega 3 levels
For improved heart health - omega-3 fatty acids help reduce triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood, reduce the risk of developing arrhythmia, slow the build-up of plaque in your arteries and have been shown to slightly lower your blood pressure.
For better sleep - research carried out by Oxford University suggests omega-3 DHA can help reduce night disturbances and improve sleep quality.
For all-round eye health - it can help reduce macular degeneration, which can cause vision impairment and blindness.
For a memory boost - omega 3 fatty acids have an important part to play in brain function and there are studies that suggest those with memory problems, including Alzheimer's, can see an improvement when upping their levels.
For helping to reduce the effects of depression - although research is inconclusive, anecdotal evidence suggests that omega-3 can be helpful in treating mild depression.
For its skin-smoothing powers - both DHA and EPA play an important in the health of your skin, keeping oil production in check, reducing the risk of acne and helping to prevent keratin pilaris, the little red bumps often seen on upper arms.
For help with PMS symptoms - some women have reported a reduction in hot flushes when increasing their intake of omega-3.
How can I easily add omega 3 to my diet?
Making sure your diet is rich in foods that have good levels of omega-3 is a start but adding a high quality omega-3 oil is also a fantastic way to get optimum levels in the body. After much research I have found Zinzino Omega-3 Oil, derived 100% from whole fish with cold-pressed olive oil and vitamin D3. It has lovely fresh, lemony flavour. As a powerful addition the company includes a test with your order, so you can measure your own omega-3 levels before you start. You then measure them again after 120 days of taking the oil to see how they have risen. I’m sure, like me, you’ll love following your increasing omega-3 levels and all the health benefits that brings. You need a partner recommendation to order, this is your code: 2005865668.