You hear a lot about this nowadays. It’s what’s called an Essential Fatty Acid and the reason they’re essential is that we can’t make them ourselves – we have to consume them regularly in foods or supplements. Ideally it must be consumed in the right ratio together with Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA).
Omega 3 has been decreasing in the food chain since the advent of industrialisation and the levels of Omega 6 have risen over that time too.
Without getting too technical..EFAs are involved in hormone-like substances that are present in almost all systems in your body. They include EPA and DHA (I would give you the full names but a) you don’t really need them and b) my spellchecker would explode.) Their functions, among other things, include regulating inflammatory responses, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You see, if your ratio of 6 to 3 shifts too far there is evidence that it contributes to the formation of many chronic diseases.
So, where do we get all this Omega 6? In our dietary meat, dairy, eggs and in many highly processed vegetable oils. Now don’t get me wrong, we still need some Omega 6 but not in the ratio most people consume it. As a vegetarian who tries to keep his dairy intake down (why do we still drink milk? We’re the only species on the planet that hasn’t been weaned. It’s not even like we drink human milk, it’s cows’ milk: it’s meant for baby cows – still, that’s for another blog post and another day…) I do feel that this is a very important element of a healthy diet.
Incidentally you can’t just eat lots and lots of oily fish. You’d end up with too high a level of heavy metals in your diet (mercury cadmium… stuff like that). That’d be toxic for you in the long term as well as very, very boring.
What to do then?
Firstly invest in a good quality fish oil. Emphasis on the “good quality”. Many of the cheaper fish oils are made with North sea cod (cod-liver oil). The North Sea – one of the most polluted stretches of water in the world. Cod are known as bottom feeders (no sniggering at the back there!) and so they go around all day vacuuming up all the detritus off the floor of the North Sea. This has high levels of toxins and heavier metals which sink to the bottom. The cod’s liver detoxifies the body and deposits all this crud into, yes, the liver… which we then come along and make into oil. So treat yourself to oil made from fish from arctic or unpolluted waters. As well as that it’s good to get oil made from the body of fish not just the liver. We sell a great one at our centre – you can get it here. It comes in capsules as well as liquid form.
Secondly cut down on the Omega 6 to some extent. Limit your intake of red meats and dairy (milk does NOT prevent osteoporosis – more of that another time – whoops, there I go again). Also try to use vegetable oils that have a better 3 to 6 ratio, such as flax oil.
Thirdly make it a daily habit. Simple as that. Oh, by the way, on the days you actually eat a good oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna etc) you needn’t take the supplement. You won’t need to as you’re getting it from the fish you’re eating. Makes sense doesn’t it?
It actually tastes nice too. Yes really. The one we sell is flavoured with lemon and is light and pleasant (not like the engine-oil like glup my mum used to give me when I was a kid!). You can add it to a yogurt, probiotic drink or even use it in your salad dressing. Healthy and tasty.
That’s it – a simple and easy way to improve your health.