We are hearing more and more about Omega-3 essential fatty acids and how beneficial they are for all of us. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a major dietary nutrient providing anti-inflammatory protection and some health benefits. While there is still little evidence to support some of the outrageous claims made by some in the community about how good this essential fatty acid is a recent 2010 study of 3,081 women suffering from breast cancer was done to research the effects of polyunsaturated fats on breast cancer. It demonstrated that the consumption of high amounts of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fats from food produced a 25% reduced risk of additional breast cancer events. These women were also shown to have reduced risk of “all-cause mortality.” Consumption of polyunsaturated fats through fish oil supplements was not shown to decrease risk of recurring breast cancer events. While there is some evidence about the anti-inflammatory effects some studies show no real cardio effects or reduction in cholesterol in subjects. There are also some ongoing studies in relation to children. Although not supported by any current scientific evidence as a primary treatment for ADHD, Autism Spectrum disorders and other developmental problems omega-3 fatty acids have gained popularity for children with these conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids do offer a promising complementary approach to standard treatments for ADHD and some development disorders. Fish oils appear to reduce ADHD related symptoms in some children. Double blind studies have shown medium to strong treatment effects of omega 3 fatty acids on symptoms of ADHD
Adults do require about 1100 to 3000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day to realize any real health benefits from omega-3. Some medical and allied health professional’s regimens suggest that 2 percent of total daily calorie intake come from Omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, in a diet of 2000 calories that would equate to 3 to 4 grams of omega-3 fats. The best way to get this nutrient is through food. Salmon is a great source.
Try and choose fresh, wild-caught salmon with naturally deep red flesh. Every 113 grams of the best wild salmon generally provides 1500 milligrams to 2300 milligrams of natural omega-3 fatty acids that the body can readily absorb. Farmed salmon, pink salmon and Atlantic salmons have lower omega-3 content. Some Atlantic salmon and farmed salmon are fed on high omega-3 feed and could make up for the lack of inherent nutrients. Be careful when cooking your salmon.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely fragile and can easily lose their potency. Eat the freshest salmon and be careful how you prepare it. The longer you cook salmon the less available omega-3 fatty acids are retained. If you deep fry salmon it completely destroys omega-3 essential fats. Choosing smoked and cured salmon lose about one-third to two-thirds of its original omega-3 content. Sashimi or raw fish is best for omega-3 levels; however you do have to be mindful of possible health complications such as microbe contamination and the fish becoming rancid. Pan-searing and baking are the best way to preserve the omegas. Try not too over cook. Salmon should be very pink inside and tender. Over cooking will make it tough and again reduce the good fats. If you are not in salmon try these other good sources of Omega 3 (EFA s) Food sources of Omega-3 include, cod liver oil (not that tasty really), mackerel, some trout, sardines and krill. Vegetarian sources of omega-3 in ALA form (alpha linolenic acid, include flaxseed, walnuts, soy, and tofu. Eating at least 5 ounces of the above foods twice weekly will help your body maintain an optimal omega-3 activity level. Stay tuned as more research is done and we learn more about this essential fatty acid.
By: John Hart
Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab) Newcastle University Australia
“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia
“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”
“Cert 4 Personal Training”
“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”
Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)