From supplements to superfoods, there’s always a new secret ingredient causing a buzz in the health world. Today, we’re highlighting the importance of omega-3 and how beneficial it is for managing everything from joint pain and depression to fertility and eczema.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid that is crucial for cell membrane health but cannot be produced by your body on its own. Therefore, it is common for Americans to have a deficiency or an imbalance of omega-6 (another important fatty acid) and omega-3 which can cause inflammation. Ideally, your ratio should land at 1:1, but with the Standard American Diet, it can often reach 20:1 because omega-6 is more commonly consumed.
We've outlined our guidelines for choosing the right omega-3 foods and omega-3 supplements, so you can reap the omega-3 benefits, including:
- heart health
- brain health
- reduced inflammation
- lower risk of cancer
- healthy skin
Fish, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are all sources of omega-3, but fish is our number one recommendation because it contributes EPA and DHA fatty acids in their purest form. Mackerel, herring, Atlantic salmon, and sardines are some of the leading sources of omega-3.
Alternatively, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and green leafy vegetables also contribute omega-3 to your diet, but are less potent sources than fish. This is because when you eat plant-based sources, your body has to convert their ALA into EPA and DHA before your body experiences the benefits. Because a very low percentage of ALA actually gets converted during this process, you have to eat a lot more plant-based sources to get the same benefits as fish.
Another option for boosting your omega-3 level is by taking omega-3 supplements like fish oil pills.
However, not all supplements are created equal. Be selective and make sure the brand responsibly sources their oil to gain the most benefits. When reading a fish oil label, Jacqueline Schaffer, MD, also encourages you to compare the amounts of EPA and DHA.
“When you’re looking at the back of the label, make sure you have at least 1,000 milligrams [of both combined],” she says. “If it’s lower than 1,000 milligrams, you’re actually not going to get the benefit,” said Schaffer in a recent July interview with Well+Good.
While research has yet to reveal a definitive answer, many professionals recommend eating a diet full of omega-3 rich, low-in-mercury fish as the best strategy for intaking the entire orchestra of fat, vitamins, and minerals. However, a plant-based source or sustainably sourced fish oil supplement is a great alternative or additional support source.
At Terra, all of the products on our shelves, from our local produce to our diverse range of supplements, are sourced according to the highest quality standards. If you’re working on cleaning up your diet or taking your health to the next level, ask our staff for their recommendations and insight during your next trip to our store! See you then!