Recently, there has been talk about the possible bad side effects of supplementing with Omega-3‘s as well as the “31 percent of omega-3 supplements failing to live up to their claims.” The thing that gets me is, a “supplement” is just that, a (typically) swallowable pill that adds to one’s diet what they either are, or think they are missing. Can one not simply amp up their diet and forego the unpleasantries of swallowing horse pills each morning??
Not long ago, I dove head first into writing a scientific research paper that looked at the effects of one’s diet on their auto-immune systems (focusing on Arthritis and joint inflammation). Throughout my research, I found that the Mediterranean diet was the cream of the crop, tip of the top diet for not only those suffering from auto immune disorders such as Arthritis, but also in a general lifestyle way too.
Why is this? Well the Mediterranean Diet consists of a lifestyle in which nothing is cut out (dark chocolate and wine can still make you feel fine!) and everything that is eaten, is fresh, natural, organic, and of course, moderation is key. Another key aspect of this diet is the amount of naturally occurring Omega-3’s that are consumed.
“What?” You say. “Omega-3 doesn’t sound tasty and delicious, speak English please.”
Omega-3’s are essential Fatty Acids that our bodies need in order for us to function properly and live our lives from day to day. Because our bodies do not produce them naturally (hence the reference “essential” attached to their definition) we must consume them in our diets, particularly Omega-3’s in the form of EPA and DHA. The primary food source is fish, though flax (try some delish Flax Seed enhanced Pancakes for one stellar breakfast!) and algae oil have been newly discovered to help those of us who don’t eat fish. And who consumes a substantial amount of fish in their typical diet? Oh yes, you guessed it, those Mediterranean smarties.
What’s so wrong with being a proud American consuming a stereotypically proud American diet of corn-based and processed foods? Why I think I answered my own question there…but in case I didn’t:
One’s diet should maintain a fine balance between those Omega-3 essential fatty acids and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. (The recommended balance is a 2:1, Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio; the average American ratio is more like 15 or 16:1- WOAH nelly.) Omega-6 essential fatty acids are yet another essential to the healthy functioning of our day-to-day lives, however these fatty acids are derived, in majority, from vegetable oils, including safflower, soybean, and in particular, corn oils. For this reason, Americans, who rely a great deal on corn based, well, everything, are giving their diets a pretty big disadvantage as far as that “happy functioning” state goes.
Sure, our bodies adapt and learn how to function at a seemingly happy state, but throw in the typical wear and tear that comes with aging, and suddenly ailments set in. For this reason, it’s my own opinion that we should start to head towards a more balance fatty acid ratio. I mean, dark chocolate and wine are still allowed! Why would you say no!?