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Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well!

A healthy dose of my diet, nutrition and lifestyle hacks to improve your health. Every bite counts!

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Don't let the cost of fish cost your health!!

Fish & seafood have always been a bit of a luxury with a premium price tag. Wild caught fresh fish costs even more, and never more than lately.


With prices up to $89/kg (yes, I saw salmon at the fish market at this price last week), it's pretty much unaffordable for most families. Even at just one serving a week.


This is such a let down as one good serving a week would see you well on your way to getting sufficient Omega 3 fatty acids to meet your body's needs.


omega 3 healthy fish

While there's no specific recommended dietary intake for Omega 3, this powerful anti-inflammatory oil has been studied for more than 50 years and is well known for its role in multiple healthy body functions including:

  • Cell membrane structure, strength and function (2, 3, 5)

  • Visual development (1, 2, 5)

  • Brain function, supporting cognition, neural development, neuronal health, memory, chemical and electrical signalling, reduces inflammation and protects against neurodegeneration (1, 2, 5, 7)

  • In the nervous system, omega 3 is required for healthy nerves, chemical messaging and neurotransmitter activity, playing a role in mood, behaviour and stress response (1, 2, 7, 8)

  • For heart health, reduces triglycerides, supports arterial health, improving blood flow and blood pressure, reduces blood thickening and has anti-arrhythmic effects (1, 3, 4,5, 7,8,9)

The anti-inflammatory aspects of Omega 3 alone are beneficial for brain and heart health especially as we get older. This is particularly important in peri and post menopause, when we lose some natural anti-inflammatory protection previously given by oestrogen (2).


Add the mood, cognition, memory and heart concerns that may arise in peri-menopause and menopause, and you see why Omega 3 is a vital nutrient support at this time.


We also need more Omega 3 in our diet to balance Omega 6 which is present in much higher amounts in the modern western diet and in excess, has a pro-inflammatory effect (2, 3, 9).


So with all these important reasons to eat Omega 3, how do you eat more of it?


Fish is the highest and most easy-to-absorb food source of the Omega 3 oils EPA & DHA. The best is wild-caught fresh salmon, mackeral, herring, sardines and anchovies. There is also Omega 3 in other seafood too; prawns, oysters, shellfish etc.


You can however, get plenty of Omega 3 from food, even if you don't eat seafood.


This is important now, when seafood costs are at an all time high, and of course, for any vegetarian or vegan to remain optimally healthy.


The best plant sources of omega 3 are:

  • Algae & seaweeds including chlorella and spirulina

  • Walnuts

  • Chia seeds (must be chewed or ground)

  • Flaxseeds (must be chewed or ground)

  • Hemp Seeds

  • Firm tofu or edamame beans

(If you've done my menopause program, now you know why these foods are included in so many recipes!).

animal and plant based omega 3

Omega 3 in plant foods is not as easy to absorb as from fish.


It comes in a different type of fatty acid called ALA, which, in a healthy body, is converted to EPA & DHA. Interestingly, women appear to be better equipped at this but again, in menopause, conversion becomes less efficient (2).


Conversion requires a healthy gut function with adequate bile and digestive enzymes as well as the presence of co-factors including Vitamins B3 and B6, zinc and magnesium.


As always, the best way to get nutrients with co-factors that support their digestion, absorption and conversion, is from whole food sources.

Whole foods often contain nutrients in combinations that the body favours. Other times, the way we cook, prepare or combine foods in meals supports this balance as well. A well-planned whole food diet provides a broad spectrum of macro and micro nutrients, ensuring adequate levels of vitamins and minerals for most biochemical functions.


If you've given up eating fish because the price is too high don't have to let it come at the cost of your health!


If you can afford high quality fresh fish, go ahead and continue - even just once a week. If the cost is just too much, eat more of the plant based Omega 3 foods listed each day, and let nature do its work.


If you need help including these foods your diet (like plant based Omega 3 rich meal below) or if you need dietary advice in general, book a quick and free chat to discuss.


plant based omeag 3 meal




REFERENCES


1. Dighriri, I. M., Alsubaie, A. M., Hakami, F. M., Hamithi, D. M., Alshekh, M. M., Khobrani, F. A., Dalak, F., Hakami, A. A., Alsueaadi, E. H., Alsaawi, L. S., Alshammari, S. F., Alqahtani, A. S., Alawi, I. A., Aljuaid, A. A., & Tawhari, M. Q. (2022). Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on Brain Functions: A systematic review. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.30091



2 DiNicolantonio, J. J., & O’Keefe, J. H. (2020). The importance of marine omega-3s for brain development and the prevention and treatment of behavior, mood, and other brain disorders. Nutrients, 12(8), 2333. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082333



3. Djuricic, I., & Calder, P. C. (2021). Beneficial outcomes of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on human health: An update for 2021. Nutrients, 13(7), 2421. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13072421



4. Elagizi, A., Lavie, C. J., O’Keefe, E., Marshall, K., O’Keefe, J. H., & Milani, R. V. (2021). An update on omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular health. Nutrients, 13(1), 204. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010204



5. Essential fatty acids. Linus Pauling Institute. (2023, January 3). https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids#inflammatory-diseases-treatment



6. Fish and omega-3: Questions and answers for Health Professionals. (n.d.). https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/getmedia/741b352b-1746-48f4-806a-30f55fddfad2/Health_Professional_QA_Fish_Omega3_Cardiovascular_Health.pdf



7 Larrieu, T., & Layé, S. (2018). Food for mood: Relevance of nutritional omega-3 fatty acids for depression and anxiety. Frontiers in Physiology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01047



8 Omega-3 fatty acids and plant-based diets. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. (n.d.). https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/omega-3



9. Omega-3 fatty acids: An essential contribution. The Nutrition Source. (2019, May 22). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/



10. Sala-Vila, A., Fleming, J., Kris-Etherton, P., & Ros, E. (2022). Impact of α-linolenic acid, the vegetable ω-3 fatty acid, on cardiovascular disease and cognition. Advances in Nutrition, 13(5), 1584–1602. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmac016



11. Santos, H. O., Price, J. C., & Bueno, A. A. (2020). Beyond fish oil supplementation: The effects of alternative plant sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids upon lipid indexes and Cardiometabolic biomarkers—an overview. Nutrients, 12(10), 3159. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103159



12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Office of dietary supplements - omega-3 fatty acids. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/



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