There Must Be Something in the Water
I used to be deadly afraid of eating fats.
“You are what you eat” I would say.
What a meathead.
We wrote extensively about how wrong I was about this here.
When I went through this fat-phobia phase, I missed out on a type of super healthy fat.
A type of fat that can not only assist with brain health,
And staying lean,
But, that can also affect our mood,
how we think
and even how we feel mentally.
The three most important types of omega-3 fats are:
Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) – found in walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds
Docosahexanoic acid (DHA) – found in marine sources like fatty fish, krill and algae.
Eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) – also found in marine sources like fatty fish, krill and algae.
Note: EPA and DHA act as an anti-freeze in the bodies of cold-water, fatty fish. The ability of omega-3 fats to stay liquid at low temperatures is what prevents the fish from freezing up in the cold waters they live in.
Also note: ALA does not convert to EPA and DHA very well. So, although eating walnuts, chia and flax seeds is awesome, to reap the full benefits of omega-3 fats, you need to have some marine sources in your life (see below for suggestions).
Nonetheless, one of the big selling points on omega-3 fats is their effect on our cell membranes. The casing that holds the cells in our bodies together.
Omega-3 fats make cell membranes more fluid.
When cell membranes in our brains are more fluid they are more sensitive to good chemicals like serotonin. This helps with brain development in young children and also helps prevent neurodegeneration in older folks.
Also, when cell membranes elsewhere in the body are more fluid, these cells become more sensitive to insulin.
This helps prevent blood sugar issues and potential type-2 diabetes.
Other benefits of omega-3 fats include:
potential improvement of blood lipids
Possible reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety
Potential reduction in ADHD symptoms
Possible regulation of our metabolism
and they act as an anti-inflammatory in our bodies.
Where do I sign up?
To start including more omega-3 fats in your life, we can take a couple different approaches.
Approach 1: Eat more sources of omega-3 fats
Try eating fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring or sardines 2-3 times per week.
Try adding a thumb of walnuts to your super shake,
Add chia or flax seeds to your greek yogurt,
And maybe add a thumb of sunflower seeds to your salad at lunch.
Approach 2: Supplement with omega-3 fats
If eating fish that often is not realistic for you (which it isn’t for most people living in Winnipeg), then you have some supplement options.
Fish oil – aim for 3-6 grams of total fish oil (with 1-3 grams of combined EPA and DHA) each day
Krill oil – aim for 2-4 grams of total krill oil (with 500-2000mg of combined EPA and DHA) each day
Algae oil (for your vegos out there) – aim for 500-1000mg of combined EPA and DHA each day.
If you’re sketchy about getting into fish oil, this stuff tastes like straight candy.
Omega-3 fats are some of the healthiest fats in the world.
They not only contribute to making your fat loss efforts more realistic,
They also contribute to making you feel better,
And live a longer, more fulfilling life.
While it’s beneficial to include all types of omega-3 fats, the real money-makers are EPA and DHA.
So, pull out that rod and reel, bait the hook and cast away.