EVELYN TRIBOLE, M.S., RD
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Copyright © 2007 by Evelyn Tribole. All rights reserved. Manufactured in the United States of America. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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To my mother, Dolores Grimm; your unconditional love dances in my heart.
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PART 1 The Basics of Omega Fats: A Mini Primer
1 Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats 3 2 Omega Fats Are Not Created Equal 13 3 Omega-6 Fat Syndrome: Why You Need to Balance
the Fats 25
PART 2 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
4 Dousing Inﬂ ammation: The Hotbed of Chronic Diseases 55
5 Heart Health: Nutrition 911 for Your Heart 69
6 The Developing Brain: From Womb to High Chair
(Even Rocking Chair)
7 Why It’s Good to Have a Fat Head: Omega-3s, the Brain, and Mood
• viii Contents
8 The Ultimate Chill Pill: Omega-3s’ Impact on Stress,
On the Horizon: More Beneﬁts of Omega-3s,
How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
Get Enough Short-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 129 Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 139 Consider Taking an Omega-3 Supplement 159 Nix the Six: Limit food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s High in Omega-6 Fats 171
The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
191 203 211
Appendix A Omega-3 and -6 Fat Content and Ratio of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s 255 Appendix B Converting to Metrics 309 References 311 Index 325
I am especially grateful to the scientists from around the world who provided answers on this complex topic, offering lengthy discussions and thoughtful correspondence. Never have I witnessed such a passionate group of researchers so enthusiastic about their research on omega-3 fatty acids (not that they all agree—far from it). A special thank-you to these scholars for reviewing my manuscript and sharing their valuable suggestions:
To the scientists attending the 2006 conference of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) in Australia, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, regardless of the venue (including elevators), particularly Stephen Cunnane, Ph.D.; Joseph Hibbeln, M.D.; Joyce Nettleton, D.Sc., RD;
• x Acknowledgments
Wendy Oddy, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Robert Pawlosky, Ph.D.; Stanley Rapport, M.D.; and Jay Whelan, Ph.D., M.P.H. Also, I appreciated the e-mail and phone discussions from Gérard Ailhaud, Ph.D., and his research team: Sebastian Cianci; Les Cleland, Ph.D., FRAC; William
S. Harris, Ph.D.; Ray Rice, Ph.D.; Norman Salem Jr., Ph.D.; David Trott, doctoral candidate; and Lauren Bartell Weiss, M.S.
My deepest gratitude to my trusty, bleary-eyed reviewers and sounding board, who read multiple revisions of my manuscript and listened to my “omega on my mind” rants: Sharon Bear, Ph.D.; Diane Keddy, M.S., RD; Dale Kiken, Esq.; and Elaine Roberts. Also, I am indebted to my assistant and future dietitian, Tram Tran, who worked without complaint; no task was too small. A special thank-you to my family and dearest friends for their patience and understanding while I was sequestered away to research and complete this project.
Lastly, I am indebted to my longtime agent, David Hale Smith, who championed my book from inception to completion. And thank you to Deborah Brody, my editor, for keeping with the vision.
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nless you live in an isolated bubble, you have likely seen the bounty of headline-grabbing studies on omega-3 fats, with their far-reaching beneﬁts from preventing cancer and heart attacks to treating depression and arthritis. Indeed, short of describing these fats as a panacea, the research is quite astounding.
How can one type of fat affect so many different parts of your body (such as your brain and heart) and ultimately inﬂuence your health and well-being? There are two key reasons. First, omega-3 fats are really like vitamins (originally called vitamin F when discovered). Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans are deﬁcient in vitamin F or omega-3 fats.
Second, although few people know it, we have a striking fat imbalance in our diet. The typical American diet dramatically antagonizes the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats in the body. Even if you consider yourself health-conscious, you are not likely free of this problem! The problem of this dietary fat imbalance affects you whether you eat heart-healthy, are a strict vegetarian, have become an Atkins carnivore, or something in between. We eat too much of the so-called heart-healthy fats, which, ironically, interfere with the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats in our bodies. These supposedly healthful fats are the
• 4 The Basics of Omega Fats
omega-6 fats, which have ﬂooded our food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) supply in the forms of margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, safﬂower oil, cottonseed oil, and sunﬂ ower oil.
In short, we have two key problems. We don’t eat enough (and the right kinds) of omega-3 fats; call this problem omega-3 fat deﬁ ciency. And we eat too much of the so-called healthy fats that hamper omega-3 fat’s beneﬁts, causing what some researchers call omega-6 fat syndrome. Let’s take a closer look.
Omega-3 Fat Is a Vitamin
In the 1920s, one of the several omega-3 fats was discovered. The researchers determined that it is essential for health and met the scientiﬁc criteria to be called a vitamin. Appropriately, this fat was named “vitamin F.” Yet you probably haven’t heard of vitamin F.
Why not? You can rule out omega-3’s fatty nature as the reason it lacks “vitamin status,” because there are other fat-based vitamins: vitamins A, D, E, and K. Instead, chalk it up to a bit of politics and bad timing. At the time of the vitamin F discovery, vitamin E also had just been discovered. Because of the scientiﬁc excitement over the newly discovered vitamin E, vitamin F was ignored and disappeared into oblivion (until the last decade). Although research on omega-3 fats has exploded, the name vitamin F never resurfaced.
It’s too bad that the vitamin F nomenclature didn’t stick. That term alone would emphasize how essential these fats are to our body. As with vitamins, our body can’t make these fats (or enough of them), so they are required in our diet. Also, a step up to “vitamin status” could have spurred earlier research on the vital roles that omega-3 fats play in human health and disease prevention.
After the discovery of omega-3 fats, 50 years passed until the ﬁ rst human case of omega-3 fat deﬁciency was identiﬁed. A child too sick to eat was fed intravenously with a mixture that contained no omega-3 fats. Instead of getting better, the child got unexpectedly worse and displayed symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness, inability to walk, leg pain, psychological disturbances, and blurred vision. Ralph
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats 5 •
T. Holman, an expert in omega-3 fats, identiﬁed the cause of the child’s problem as a deﬁciency of omega-3 fatty acids. His discovery put omega-3 fats on the map, beyond an esoteric research interest.
The incredible research into omega-3 fats within the context of their role as an essential vitamin helps to explain omega-3’s sweeping effects on health and disease. A new picture emerges of a nutrient deﬁciency that wreaks havoc in many different parts of the body, from the inner workings of the brain to the battlegrounds of immunity and inﬂammation. A vast majority of Americans do not get enough omega-3 fats in their diet.
Different Omega-3 Fats Affect Your Body in Different Ways
Just as there is more than one type of B vitamin (vitamins B₁, B₂, B₁₂, and so forth), there is more than one type of omega-3 fatty acid. Each of these omega-3 fatty acids affects your body in different ways. The types of omega-3 fatty acids found in plant food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are very different from those found in ﬁsh. So if you are tanking up on plant sources of omega-3 fat, such as ﬂax meal or ﬂaxseed oil, you still could be deﬁcient in the other omega-3 fats that are found primarily in ﬁ sh. For example, many of the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s that boast of their omega-3 fat content are fortiﬁed with the plant form of omega-3 fat, not the types found in ﬁsh. This is not necessarily bad, but some consumers might be under the wrong impression that they are getting enough omega-3 fats when they are actually still deﬁcient in certain types.
Omega-3 fats are involved in nearly every key function in the body and are an important structural part of every cell in your body. They are not the kind of fat that sits around for a rainy-day famine, waiting to be utilized. Let’s look brieﬂy at some of these vital roles:
• Biological fence. Omega-3 fats are the gatekeepers of cells. They make up the key architecture of the membrane, the biological fence that surrounds each cell. This affects the ﬂuidity of the cells, which in turn inﬂuences a number of activities in your body.
• 6 The Basics of Omega Fats
Notably, the composition and ﬂuidity of cell membranes depend to a great extent on what you eat.
• Brain’s building blocks. Omega-3 fats are the key building blocks of the brain and eyes. They are to your brain as calcium is to your bones. In fact, the majority of the brain (60 percent) is composed of fat—the second highest concentration of fat in the body.
Omega-3 fats are industrious worker bees throughout your body. Here’s a glimpse at their far-reaching impact on your health:
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats 7 •
Speciﬁc Roles in Your Body
As if these activities were not impressive enough, omega-3 fats play key roles in maintaining the health of your organs. Recall the symptoms of the sick child who contracted omega-3 fatty-acid deﬁ ciency: numbness, tingling, weakness, inability to walk, leg pain, psychological disturbances, and blurred vision. These symptoms illustrate the many different body functions affected by omega-3 fats:
• 8 The Basics of Omega Fats
It’s not too hard to imagine that inadequate intakes of omega-3 will have some effect on every part of the body, including the brain. Clearly, omega-3s are required for a sound body and mind!
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome
The last reason that omega-3 fats affect so many different aspects of your body and, ultimately, your health involves their interaction with another key group of fats, omega-6 fats. We consume omega-6s in soybean oil, cottonseed oil, safﬂower oil, corn oil, sunﬂ ower oil, margarines, and salad dressings.
When I was researching this book, I contacted a prominent omega-3 fat researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He began the interview by asking me a rhetorical question: “Do you know why omega-3 fats affect so many parts of our body and so many diseases?” He continued, “It’s because too much omega-6 fats in our diet prevent omega-3 fats from doing their normal course of work in our body.” Then he proceeded to describe how he balanced the fat in his own diet by cutting out omega-6 fats, food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) by food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com). Wow.
If you have never heard of omega-6 fat, you are not alone. When people hear the term omega, they often assume omega-6s are beneﬁcial and related to omega-3 fats. While both groups of fats work together very closely, they have opposite effects in the body, like a seesaw. And as with children on a seesaw, the actions of one affect the other. If these fats are not balanced in your diet, they can dramatically affect your health. That’s the problem. The American diet is bombarded with unhealthful levels of omega-6 fats, which impede the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats.
Omega-6 Fats Promote Disease
The problem with eating too much omega-6 fats is that they are disease promoting. In fact, the NIH’s Essential Fats Education program makes a profound declaration on its website: excessive omega-6 fats in the diet trigger a rise in health problems, including heart attacks,
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats 9 •
blood clots, arthritis, asthma, menstrual cramps, headaches, and tumor metastases.
Eating too much omega-6 fat is a predicament affecting most Westernized countries, not just the United States. This quandary has been documented in many cultures and is referred to as a health paradox or omega-6 fat syndrome.
Most Omega-6 Fats Are Found in “Healthy” Oils
The paradox is that omega-6 fats have been indiscriminately promoted as “heart-healthy fats.” Many well-meaning health organizations touted “heart-healthy” oils (including corn oil, soybean oil, and margarine) to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Consumers were (and are) urged to replace artery-clogging saturated fats in their diet with heart-smart polyunsaturated oils, which consist primarily of omega-6 fats.
Unwittingly, this health advice triggered people to eat more of the fats that work against the omega-3s. The so-called heart-healthy omega-6 oils displaced other fats in many people’s diets. Grocery store shelves overﬂowed (and still do) with food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s containing “heart-smart” oils. But it turns out that the idea of eating polyunsaturated fats to prevent heart disease was based on an incomplete picture; emerging studies have shown otherwise. (This is discussed in depth in Chapter 5.)
Countries including Israel embraced heart-healthy eating by eating more polyunsaturated oils (omega-6 fats). Israel is especially notable because it consequently has one of the world’s greatest intakes of omega-6 fats. But with the increase of omega-6 fats came an increase in Western diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Researchers used the term omega-6 fat syndrome to describe the cause of chronic illness plaguing an unusually healthy group of people in Okinawa, a region of Japan. The scientists discovered that Okinawans were eating too much omega-6 fat at the expense of omega-3 fat, and this imbalance was at the root of their new chronic health problems.
• 10 The Basics of Omega Fats
We Eat Fat That Did Not Exist 100 Years Ago
Today, we eat fats that didn’t exist a century ago, including cottonseed oil. Check the ingredients list on some of your favorite food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s. More often than not, it will be listed, as it’s among the top four oils consumed in the United States. Our food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are now ﬁ lled with omega-6 fats because of technology and pressure to eat more heart-smart fats.
Farming Practices Increase Omega-6 Fats in Meats and Plant food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s
Lastly, agricultural practices have dramatically altered the content of omega-6 and omega-3 fats in our diet. Plant food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s used to have higher omega-3 fat levels, which had a positive trickle-down effect on the rest of our diet. In the bygone days of cattle grazing, cows used to nibble on plants containing omega-3s. And in the you-are-whatyou-eat manner, these cows incorporated omega-3 fat into their own body. Voilà: the cows yielded milk and meat containing omega-3 fats, which in turn would be eaten by consumers. Today the amount of omega-3 fat in commercial beef is virtually undetectable. Instead, feedlot animals eat a grain-based diet, which offers little in the way of omega-3 but is higher in omega-6. Consequently, their meats are also higher in omega-6 fat.
We Need to Fix the Omega Fat Imbalance
Indeed, the typical Western diet delivers a double whammy: insufﬁcient omega-3 fats and too many omega-6 fats. The consequence is many chronic diseases, from osteoporosis to inﬂ ammation disorders, which we can’t cure simply by reaching for a ﬁ sh oil supplement. If you have too much omega-6 fat in the diet, it interferes with the beneﬁ ts of omega-3 fats! A healthy balance of omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats in our diet is a key health factor that has been ignored for too long. Whereas our ancestors ate equal proportions of these fats, today the omega-6 fats in the American diet outnumber omega-3 fats by 10- to 20-fold!
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats 11 •
Vegetarians are not off the hook, because studies show that they eat even more omega-6 fat in their diets than the typical person who eats meat. At the other extreme, those indulging in bacon and cream cheese in the name of weight loss, dieting Atkins style, also have a problem. These fats—saturated fats—also compete against the omega-3s.
I wrote The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet to help solve our fat imbalance and its ensuing health problems. I want to be clear, however, that I use the term diet to describe a pattern of eating, not a method for weight loss. I am strongly against weight-loss diets because of the impact on mind and body.¹
The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet is divided into four parts. The ﬁ rst part of the book is a mini primer on omega-3 and omega-6 fats, including how these fats work in tandem and what happens to your health when they are out of balance in your diet. The second part of the book explains the truly astounding beneﬁts of omega-3 fats. (Each chapter stands alone. If you want the scientiﬁc info, it’s in Part
2. If you just want to know what and how to eat, you can skip this section entirely.) The research is quite stunning, showing that omega-3 fats play a key role in preventing many illnesses and conditions:
They may also be effective in treating:
1. For more information, see E. Tribole and E. Resch, Intuitive Eating 2nd Ed. New York: St. Martin’s Grifﬁ n, 2003.
• 12 The Basics of Omega Fats
Lastly, omega-3s have been shown to play a key role in:
The key how-to advice in this book comes in Part 3, “How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet.” This section describes how you can get the most beneﬁt out of your omega-3 fats, in four key steps, each delineated in a separate chapter. Chapters 10 and 11 tell you how to eat enough of two categories of omega-3 fats: short-chain and long-chain omega-3s. Chapter 12 offers advice on omega-3 supplements. And Chapter 13 addresses the other side of the fat equation: how to cut your intake of omega-6 food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s.
The last part of the book, “The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle,” provides makeovers, menus, and recipes balanced in their omega-3 and omega-6 fat content. The makeover section shows how to implement the steps to maximize your omega-3 fats, regardless of your lifestyle. I created menus with different themes to help with your particular eating style, from eating out to “I hate ﬁsh.” There are also nearly 40 recipes, each of which describes the omega-optimize technique, so you can apply these strategies to get the most out of omega-3s in your own favorite recipes.
Throughout the chapters, charts and tables will help you ﬁ nd food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s that are high in omega-3 fats and low in omega-6 fats. Appendix A is a handy listing of speciﬁc food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s’ omega-3 and omega-6 fat content, including the ratio of the two fats. Appendix B offers metric conversions you can apply to the recipes if you prefer to use the metric system. I’ve also included an in-depth references section, which includes the key studies and sources for the information presented in this book.
“Ithought all omega fats are healthy.” I can’t tell you how often I hear people saying this. While many people imagine that the term omega is synonymous with omega-3 fats, that impression is far from correct. It’s easy to get confused, because the fats and their names can be a bewildering tower of Babel, especially for the uninitiated. There are different omega fat families, which have completely different effects on health and disease. Even within the category of omega-3 fats, you’ll ﬁ nd more than one type. Then there are saturated and unsaturated fats (with the latter no longer universally viewed as the healthy class of fats). How do you keep it all straight? Before we delve into the speciﬁ cs of omega-3 fats and how to get them to work best for you (let alone get enough of them), let’s get familiar with the various types of fat. Figure 2.1 provides a general overview of how the different fats we eat are interrelated.
Meet the Omega Families
Omega actually refers to the system of how the fatty-acid atoms are counted and named (see sidebar). Each fat family is very different from the other, as in a neighborhood, where families reside on the same street but each at a different address, which signiﬁes a completely different household. (You don’t expect the family living on 33 Main Street to be the same family living on 66 Main Street.) We will focus primarily on the omega-3 and omega-6 families, but you might like to know that olive oil comes from the omega-9 fat family, which is considered healthful.
Each omega family has individual members called fatty acids, each with a different name. Each omega-3 and omega-6 fat family has a parent fatty acid, from which the other individual fats can
Omega Fats Are Not Created Equal 15 •
originate. Notably, each of these parents is considered an essential fat, meaning the body cannot make it and it needs to be supplied by the diet. Table 2.1 identiﬁes dietary sources of the major types of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The individual fatty acids differ in signiﬁcant ways. The omega-3 fat found in plants is very different from the omega-3 fatty acids
|Omega potent kids||Eicosapentaenoic acid||Arachidonic acid (AA):|
|(biological power brokers)||(EPA) and docosahexaenoic||meats and poultry|
|acid (DHA): fatty ﬁsh and|
|their oils, some seaweeds,|
|enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s|
Omega Fats Are Not Created Equal 17 •
EPA and DHA are known collectively as long-chain fats and are found primarily in ﬁsh and ﬁsh oil. Stories about the marvelous beneﬁts of omega-3 fats usually involve one (or both) of these powerful fatty acids.
Here’s the problem. Although laboratory tests showed that ALA can be made into EPA and eventually DHA, recent studies on humans indicate that this is not what the human body actually does. Therefore, you cannot assume that if you eat the parent form of omega-3 fats, ALA, it will indeed create EPA and DHA. If you take ﬂ axseed oil supplements or eat a lot of ﬂax food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s as your primary source of
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Polyunsaturate Long-chain
• 18 The Basics of Omega Fats
Meet the Omega-6 Fat Family
Omega-6 fats, when eaten in excess, can cause a variety of health problems. The omega-6 fat problem is a bit like Americans’ excess consumption of salt (sodium). Sodium is a nutrient that is very easy to get in the diet without ever lifting a saltshaker. Similarly, omega-6 fats are in nearly every food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) we eat, so we really don’t need to make an extra effort to eat them. Here’s a brief description of the key omega-6 fatty acids:
Fat Family Rivalry: Omega-6 Versus Omega-3 Fats
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats make powerful substances in your body that play key roles in the structure and function of every cell and ultimately your health and well-being. But they are chemically distinct families with opposite effects on your body. For example, a diet high in omega-6 fats promotes blood clotting, while omega-3 fats prevent the blood cells from clumping. Omega-6 fats act to raise blood pressure, while omega-3 fats work to lower blood pressure.
Once you eat these fats and they enter your body, they are in direct competition with each other. Like rival gangs, both of these fat families compete for the same limited resources (enzymes) to make their subsequent potent compounds. The bigger family will
Omega Fats Are Not Created Equal 19 •
“win” the resources that ultimately shift your body toward health or disease.
Saturated Versus Unsaturated Fat: A Big Difference to Your Health
No fat that you eat, whether oil or butter, is made up of just one particular type of fatty acid. For example, butter is known as a saturated fat (and indeed has a high level of this fat), but as shown in Table 2.3, it still has a bit of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is known as a monounsaturated fat but contains some saturated and polyunsaturated fat. And canola oil is 7 percent saturated fat, 59 percent monounsaturated fat, and 30 percent polyunsaturated fat. Its polyunsaturated fat consists of 69 percent omega-6 fat and 31 percent omega-3 fat.
Fats commonly thought of as healthful are not necessarily so. Researchers realize that it is no longer adequate to assume that all
• 20 The Basics of Omega Fats
The saturated fats are the infamous artery-clogging fats that raise blood cholesterol. They are called “saturated” because of how their carbon atoms are connected. (Technically, they are 100 percent saturated with hydrogen atoms.) These fats are found in animal products, including meats, poultry, dairy products, eggs, and butter, and in some plant food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, including palm oil, palm kernel oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Our bodies have no need for saturated fat. Saturated fats interfere with the beneﬁcial effects of omega-3 fats in the body.
Unsaturated fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats have one pair of carbon atoms that are not saturated with hydrogen atoms (hence the term mono). They include
Omega Fats Are Not Created Equal 21 •
olive oil, which is the dominant type of this fat in the diet. Canola oil also is high in monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats are generally recognized as healthful types of fats.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have at least two pairs of carbons that are not saturated with hydrogen. Polyunsaturated fats come in different lengths, known either as short or long chain, based on the number of carbons.
A polyunsaturated fatty acid with at least 20 carbon atoms is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid. For example, the plant source of omega-3 fat, ALA, has 18 carbons and is considered a short-chain PUFA, while EPA has 20 carbons and is considered a long-chain PUFA (DHA has 22 carbons). Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are both polyunsaturated; EPA and DHA are long-chain omega-3 fats, and
|poultry fat (skin)|
|Monounsaturated fat||Positive||Neutral||Olive oil, canola oil|
|Polyunsaturated fat: omega-3||Positive||Positive||Fatty ﬁsh, walnuts, ﬂax, hemp, green leafy vegetables|
|Polyunsaturated fat: omega-6||Negative when Negative in excess (main contributor to inﬂammation); lowers cholesterol||Corn oil, safﬂower oil, sunﬂower oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, traditionally raised meats and poultry|
|Trans fat||Negative||Negative||Fried food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, shortening|
In the next chapter we will take a closer look at why the balance between the omega-6 and omega-3 fats is so important to your health.
Omega Fats Are Not Created Equal 23 •
There are two key fatty acids that make up the omega-6 fat family:
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Omega-6 Fat Syndrome
Why You Need to Balance the Fats
t’s not enough to supplement your diet with ﬁsh oils or to eat enough omega-3 fats in your diet—it’s merely a good start. The health beneﬁts of omega-3 fats depend on the balance of omega-6 fats in your diet. But that’s a big problem in the United States and many other Western nations.
We eat too much of the so-called heart-healthy omega-6 fats, which compete with and even destroy the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats. To make matters worse, we don’t eat enough omega-3 fats. Consequently, most of us have a major fat imbalance in the diet.
In this chapter you will discover why the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats really matters to your health. You’ll learn why just about every food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) you eat is inundated with omega-6 fats, and you’ll discover the impact of eating excess omega-6 fats, including increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, cancer, heart disease, vision disorders, inﬂammation disorders, learning disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep disorders, and stress.
• 26 The Basics of Omega Fats
Mega Omega Problem in Our food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Supply
Today we eat fats that did not exist 100 years ago, including margarine, shortening, and cottonseed oil. As a result, we eat 10 to 20 times the amount of omega-6 fats that our forebears did. How did our fat balance get so out of whack?
It would be easy to point ﬁngers at the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)-processing industry, but we can’t only blame this easy scapegoat (although it certainly contributed). A multitude of factors, including industrialization, agribusiness, food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) manufacturing, and the promotion of “heart-healthy” oils, contributed to fewer omega-3 fats and too many omega-6 fats in our food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) supply.
Even if you reach for a food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) that you think contains omega-3 fats, unfortunately it may not. For example, soybean oil is stripped of its naturally occurring omega-3 fats when it is hydrogenated. Farmed salmon has a higher amount of omega-6 fats than wild salmon. Yet how could you know this, since this information is not disclosed on food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) packaging?
Let’s take a closer look at these factors, so you’ll have a better idea how almost every food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) you eat has been penetrated with more omega-6 and shortchanged of its omega-3 fats.
The Case of the Fatted Calf
Before 1850, virtually all cattle in the United States spent four to ﬁve years grazing on grass, which naturally contains omega-3 fats, before slaughter. But today feedlot operations get a steer to slaughter in just about one year. As a result, cows have much less omega-3 in their meat today than they used to. A recent study from Ireland underscores this point; it found that the longer the cattle grazed, the higher their DHA content. Dining in the pasture also improved their fat proﬁle, with lower levels of omega-6 fats in their meat.
Feedlot Cuisine. Today, 99 percent of cows in the United States dine in feedlots, exclusively on a corn-grain diet, which is rich in omega-6 fats and practically devoid of omega-3 fats. Consequently modern
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 27 •
beef is fatter and has an entirely different fatty-acid proﬁ le: lower in omega-3 fatty acids, higher in omega-6 fatty acids, and higher in saturated fat. Wild animals and free-range or pasture-fed cattle do not display this unhealthy fat proﬁ le.
Commercially raised chickens, lamb, ﬁsh, and pigs also have a much lower omega-3 content in their meat and fat (think bacon here). Reports as early as 1968 showed that range-fed animals have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Foraging on grass rather than grains increases omega-3 fat accumulation in animals, as shown in Table 3.1.
The Meat (and Dairy food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s) We Eat Reﬂect the Diet of the Cow. The typical cow fattened on grain has 14 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids in its meat, far more than the grass-fed cow.
SOURCE: For details, see References under Koizumi, Rule, Simopoulos (“Evolutionary Aspects . . .”), and USDA.
Why Too Many Omega-6 Fats in Our Diet?
A convergence of well-meaning health advice, food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) processing, and industrialization resulted in a wide variety of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s overﬂ owing with omega-6 fats, from frankfurters to granola. Many of those fats come from vegetable oils. Today only four oils—cottonseed oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil—account for 96 percent of the vegetable
TABLE 3.3 Top Four Fats and Oils Used in food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) in the U.S.
Ratio of Omega-6
Oil Millions of Pounds per Year to Omega-3 Fats 1970–1971 2001–2002
Cottonseed oil 805 539 258:1
*Data for 1995, when canola oil was ﬁrst tracked.
SOURCE: Economic Research Service, USDA, ers.usda.gov/data.
oil consumed in the United States (see Table 3.3). With the exception of canola oil, these oils are particularly high in omega-6 fats and low in omega-3 fats. These oils are used to make margarine, shortening, and salad dressings—which amplify your omega-6 fat intake.
Advances in technology increased worldwide vegetable oil production and introduced new edible oils, such as cottonseed oil. The large-scale addition of newfangled oils to our food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) supply signiﬁ cantly altered both quantitative and qualitative aspects of fat in our diet, causing our consumption of omega-6 fats to skyrocket. Vegetable oil is inherently higher in omega-6 fats, while being low in omega-3 fats. As our consumption of vegetable oil has grown, it has become our main source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. (Keep in mind that polyunsaturated fats are synonymous with omega-6 fats.) Figure 3.1 shows that in 1909 only 32 percent of our polyunsaturated fats came from oils; by 2000 that share had more than doubled. So if you eat vegetable oil (whether by using it for cooking or eating it in salad dressings, margarine, and mayonnaise), you will almost always increase your omega-6 fat intake. With the exception of olive oil and canola oil, vegetable oil is synonymous with omega-6 fats.
FIGURE 3.1 Sources of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the U.S. food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Supply
Fats and Oils
Meat, Poultry, and Fish
SOURCE: Gerrior, S., L. Bente, and H. Hiza. Nutrient Content of the U.S. food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Supply, 1909–2000, Home Economics Research Report No. 56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, November 2004. Accessed at cnpp.usda.gov/publications/food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)supply/food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)sup ply1909-2000.pdf.
New food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s Created: Margarine and Shortening
In 1897 the invention of hydrogenation (adding hydrogen to oil) allowed vegetable oils to become solid. Voilà—shortening and margarine were born. The timing was just right, too. The escalating prices and scarcity of butter during World War I paved the way for lower-cost alternatives. Toss in the medical community’s recommendation to replace butter with modern vegetable fats, and margarine’s place at the kitchen table was assured. In the last century, U.S. consumption of shortening quadrupled. The typical American ate about one pound of margarine per year in 1909 and now eats more than 6 pounds per year. Hydrogenated oils also helped extend the shelf life of convenience food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, which became popular for saving time in the kitchen, especially as more women entered the workforce.
The “heart-healthy” polyunsaturated fats have a distinguished history. Since the 1950s, the cholesterol-lowering effects of these fats
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 31 •
dominated research. And for good reason: early studies showed that when polyunsaturated fats replaced the saturated fats, blood cholesterol was lowered. Thanks to the well-meaning “war on saturated fat” to reduce heart disease, polyunsaturated fats were heralded as the lifesaving fat and were indiscriminately promoted. Meanwhile, an important group of polyunsaturated fats—omega-3 fats—were simply ignored.
food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s with “heart-healthy” oils proliferated, and omega-6-rich fats increased in the American diet. Manufacturers jumped on the heart-health bandwagon, and food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s were marketed as being cholesterol free and low in saturated fat. But this was achieved by using omega-6-rich oils, many of which were hydrogenated.
Ironically, hydrogenated oils appeared to be the more healthful alternative to saturated fats at that time. Even fast-food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) restaurants replaced the beef fat in the fryers with partially hydrogenated oils (shortening).
You are probably aware that hydrogenation introduced its own set of health hazards. Not only does this process create the infamous trans-fatty acids, which increase the “bad” LDL cholesterol, but hydrogenation also destroys omega-3 fats. For example, when soybean oil (which has 920 milligrams of omega-3 fats per tablespoon) is hydrogenated, its omega-3 fat content drops to 30 milligrams per tablespoon.
Now there is a new twist. In an effort to mitigate the problem of trans fat, food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) manufacturers are using new strains of soybeans to make more stable oil that contains negligible amounts of the omega3 fats and higher levels of omega-6 fats! This is signiﬁ cant because soybean oil is the number-one oil used in the United States.
In December 2005, Kellogg, the world’s largest cereal maker, made headlines when it announced its commitment to using low-linolenic soybean oil (soybean oil that is low in omega-3 fat) to replace trans fat that had been used in its food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s. That decision has helped fuel a tremendous demand for low-linolenic soybean oil. About 80 million pounds of low-linolenic soybean oil were produced in 2005, with ﬁ ve times that output (400 million pounds) estimated for 2006, according to the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils. But this trend is double trouble. This oil has an even higher omega-6 fat content than regular soybean oil (see Table 3.4).
TABLE 3.4 Trans-Formation of Soybean Oil: Disappearing Omega-3 Fat
Ratio of Omega-6 Type of Soybean Oil Milligrams per Tablespoon to Omega-3
Basic soybean oil 6,940 920 8:1 (salad or cooking oil)
Mayonnaise, soybean oil 5,200 690 8:1
Spread, 70% vegetable oil 2,060 220 9:1 (soybean and hydrogenated soybean oils)
Margarine, hard stick, 2,740 210 13:1 hydrogenated soybean oil
Low-linolenic (1%) soybean oil 7,620 136 56:1
Partially hydrogenated, industrial, 1,170 30 39:1 all-purpose soybean oil
Shortening, frying, heavy-duty, 30 10 3:1 hydrogenated �1% linoleic
SOURCE: ESHA food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) processor SQL software; Iowa State University.
Meanwhile, manufacturers of cottonseed oil jockey for their market share by offering their product as a more healthful replacement for trans fat in processed food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com). But it has a much worse omega-6 proﬁle. In cottonseed oil, omega-6 fats outnumber its omega-3 content by 234 to 1! Of all the fats ranked in Table 3.5, cottonseed oil is the worst in terms of its ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.
Why the Balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fats Affects Your Health
The balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats affects whether your cells promote health or disease. If you eat too little omega-3 fat and/or too much omega-6 fat, you are setting the stage for health problems, as you will see in the remainder of this chapter.
TABLE 3.5 Proportion of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fats in Oils
|Evening primrose oil||75:1|
|Low-linolenic (1%) soybean oil||56:1|
|Partially hydrogenated soybean oil||39:1|
|Margarine, hard stick, hydrogenated soybean oil||9:1|
|Basic soybean oil (salad or cooking oil)||8:1|
|Mayonnaise made with soybean oil||8:1|
When it comes to fat, you are what you eat. Unlike carbohydrates and protein, fat is the only macronutrient that does not get broken down into smaller units when you eat and digest it. These intact fats have a tremendous impact on the function of your body. If you eat chieﬂy omega-6 fats, that’s what you will ﬁnd in your body: primarily
• 34 The Basics of Omega Fats
omega-6 fats in your cells. (The same thing happens to the meat of animals raised on feedlot diets of grains rich in omega-6.) Conversely, if you eat a lot of omega-3 fats such as ﬁ sh, that intake, too, will be reﬂected proportionately in your cellular makeup—if (and this is a big if) you don’t have too many omega-6 fats in your diet as well.
The Type of Fat You Eat Shifts Your Body’s Biological State
The preponderance and type of fat in your cells dramatically affects the biological actions in your body. That’s because both omega-3 and omega-6 fats make powerful, hormone-like chemicals that shift the landscape of your body toward promoting either disease or health. The proportion of these fats eaten ultimately inﬂuences the inner workings of your cells, becoming a predictable biomarker of both your diet and disease. Simply put, show me the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fats in your diet, and I’ll show you your body’s biological state: pro-disease or pro-health.
The omega-3 and omega-6 fats work like a seesaw moving up and down, trying to achieve a healthy equilibrium for your body. This balance works at keeping your blood pressure normal, maintaining a regular heartbeat, healing wounds, and keeping your mood ﬂ owing smoothly. When the amounts of these fats eaten are in balance, this tandem relationship works well.
One of the key reasons omega-6 fats have such sway over omega-3 fats is that these fat families need the same enzymes to make their potent biological compounds in the body. Those indiscriminate enzymes are in limited supply, like taxis on rainy day in New York. It’s harder to get a taxi during inclement weather because so many more people use them (a case of competitive supply and demand). Once the taxis are saturated with people, no cabs are left for others, no matter how great their need.
Doesn’t it seem odd that there would be such an antagonist metabolic environment? Remember, it wasn’t always that way. For thousands of years, our ancient ancestors chomped on a diet that
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 35 •
provided equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. Therefore, the body had no problem with fats sharing enzymes.
A Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fat Protects Health
The omega-3 fats that make their way from your dinner plate down to your tiny cells can shift the biological state of your body. They do so by making compounds that ﬁ ght inﬂammation, prevent blood clots, and reduce stress chemicals, all of which help to prevent chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. This biological shift is so profound that heart disease scientists created the “Omega-3 Index” blood test, which reﬂects the content of omega-3 fats in your heart cells. Some researchers believe that the omega-3 index may be one of the best predictors of heart disease.
A Diet High in Omega-6 Fat Promotes Disease
Omega-6 fats have distinct and opposite effects in your body. They are in direct competition with omega-3 fats to make their powerful and often opposing biological compounds. When omega-6 fats greatly outnumber the omega-3 fats, they behave like a dietary bully, dominating your body’s cellular playground.
A diet rich in omega-6 fats shifts the biological state in your body to one that sets up the conditions to promote diseases: inﬂ ammation, blood clotting, and increased stress chemicals. The omega-6 fats create damaging compounds associated with arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stress, mood disorders, and cancer, to name a few. In fact, death from heart disease is predicted linearly from the amount of omega-6 fat in the body.
A brief point needs to be made about the key omega-6 fats, linoleic and arachidonic acids: They are essential fatty acids, too. Yes, they are nutrients—yet archrivals, if you will, of the omega-3 fats. Omega-6 fats are not unlike other essential nutrients, such as vitamins A and D. They are required for your body to function, but when taken in high levels, they can pose dangerous health problems.
• 36 The Basics of Omega Fats
The Paradox of Excess: Omega-6 Fat Syndrome
The impact of the fat imbalance gets clearer when you explore different regions of the world. We’ll take a brief look at what happened when Okinawans, Israelis, and urban Indians shifted their diets to high levels of omega-6 fats. Their experiences shed light on the ways that too much omega-6 fat affects your health. The “omega-6 syndrome” documented in Okinawa is particularly telling.
Omega-6 Syndrome and the Okinawa Paradox
The residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa held the bragging rights for the longest life expectancy in the world—until their diet dramatically changed after World War II. Following the war, they ate less ﬁsh at meals and ate meat instead. This occurred in part because of exposure to Westernized eating, as Okinawa was under
U.S. jurisdiction until 1972. A well-publicized problem of mercury contamination also spurred eating less ﬁ sh. Consequently, consumption of omega-3 fat dropped. During U.S. rule, there was also a rapid shift to cooking with vegetable oils instead of animal fats because they were considered superior for health. Consequently, Okinawans more than tripled their omega-6 fat content by 1990.
These changes were followed by a dramatic rise in Okinawans’ health problems, including Western-type cancers, allergic reactions, and heart and blood circulation diseases. Notably, the abrupt rise in health problems paralleled the Okinawans’ increased use of omega-6 fats. When Okinawa lost its longevity status, a scientiﬁ c investigation began.
Researchers attributed the cause of Okinawans’ health problems to their Westernized diet, which was too low in omega-3 fats and too high in omega-6 fats. Their shift to a diet high in omega-6 fats with the concomitant rise in chronic diseases was strikingly similar to what occurred in the Westernized world.
To solve the panoply of health problems, researchers recommended eating less omega-6 fats and more omega-3 fats, with a balanced ratio of 2 to 1. That ratio means that a person who ate two
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 37 •
grams of omega-3 fats should limit intake of omega-6 fats to just four grams for the day—the amount of omega-6 fat found in one granola bar or one tablespoon of mayonnaise. Notably, the scientists emphasized that eating less omega-6 fat without eating enough omega-3 fat is ineffective at lowering the health-damaging compounds made from omega-6 fats.
Keep in mind that the typical American eats an average of 13 grams of omega-6 fats per day. That’s more than four times the quantity of omega-6 fats consumed by a typical Okinawan.
India and Israel: Diets High in Omega-6 Fats and More Chronic Diseases
Israel also made the switch to the so-called healthier oils, resulting in one of the greatest omega-6 fat intakes in the world. Israelis’ average dietary omega-6 fats outnumber omega-3 fats by 22 to 1.
In spite of Israel’s exemplary heart-healthy eating (a diet low in artery-clogging saturated fat, high in polyunsaturated fats, and low in total calories), Israelis have a high prevalence of heart disease, not to mention high blood pressure and diabetes. Now they have a higher cancer rate than in Western countries. Researchers say this is a consequence of eating too many omega-6 fats.
The prevalence of heart disease is also high in the residents of urban areas in India, despite their low-fat diet in which 15 to 27 percent of calories come from fat. Researchers attribute the higher rate of heart disease to eating too many omega-6 fats. Interestingly, the rural dwellers have a much lower incidence of heart disease, not to mention lower rates of other related chronic illnesses. Why? They dine on “poor man’s food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)” consisting of mustard oil and grains. Consequently, the rural residents have a diet much lower in omega-6 fat than their urban counterparts.
Omega-6 Fats Increase Risk for Speciﬁ c Diseases
High levels of dietary omega-6 fat increase the risk for many different diseases and conditions. Here’s a quick look at some of the
• 38 The Basics of Omega Fats
problems, which will be discussed in more depth throughout this book:
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 39 •
decreased vision. Conversely, a diet rich in omega-3 fats and ﬁ sh appears to decrease the risk, if the diet is low in omega-6 fat.
The Most Powerful (and Damaging) Omega-6 Fat: Arachidonic Acid
Arachidonic acid (AA) is the epicenter of all that is problematic with excess omega-6 fat in our diets and ultimately with our health. AA is the fatty acid that creates the compounds that cause inﬂ ammation and blood clotting, among many other problems. In fact, many medications (including aspirin, Motrin, naproxen, Depakote, and Singulair) work by blocking the effects of AA. Researchers have just started to scratch the surface of AA’s impact, but here are some striking ﬁ ndings:
Balanced Omega-6 Fat Matters for Health and Disease Prevention
From petri dishes to human studies, vast and diverse research overwhelmingly demonstrates the need to balance the fat families. A high
• 40 The Basics of Omega Fats
proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 fat paves the way for many health problems, including mental illness, cancer, cognitive impairment, inﬂammation, arthritis, asthma, allergies, immunity disorders, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and vision and bone health problems, to name just a few examples.
|Asthma||5:1||Twice the ratio (10:1) had adverse consequences on|
|Bone health||—||A high ratio is associated with lower bone density,|
|regardless of hormone replacement status.|
|Brain function||4:1||A dose-dependent study indicated that optimal learn|
|ing occurred at this ratio.|
|Breast cancer||1:1–2.5:1||A study on French breast cancer patients showed|
|that the balance between omega-6 to omega-3 fats,|
|rather than the individual amount of fats, had the|
|greatest impact on breast cancer prevention. A study|
|on ﬁve countries reported similar ﬁndings.|
|Cancer||1:1–2:1||A review published in the American Journal of Clinical|
|prevention||Nutrition concluded that we need to eat a diet with a|
|lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats (1:1 or 2:1) to|
|lower the risk of getting cancer.|
|Cardiovascular||4:1||A ratio of 4:1 has been associated with a 70%|
|health||decrease in death rates.|
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 41 •
Ratio of Health Omega-6 to Condition Omega-3 Fat
Colon cancer 1:1–2.5:1
Dry-eye Lower ratio syndrome protective
Insulin 2:1 resistance
Pregnancy — complication
Rheumatoid 2:1–3:1 arthritis
Fish oil supplements were beneﬁcial only with a low ratio of 2.5:1.0.
A high ratio is associated with more than double the prevalence of dry-eye syndrome relative to those with a low ratio.
The ratio inﬂuences a critical step in healing, collagen production. When the ratio was less than 1:1, collagen formation increased in a dose-dependent manner.
Ratios of 1:1 (or less) decrease inﬂammation. When patients were supplemented with ﬁsh oil, a ratio of
3.5:1.0 had no beneﬁt.
Diets high in omega-6 fats trigger insulin resistance, which is implicated in diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Animal studies show that a ratio of 2:1 may prevent this problem.
A lower ratio was associated with a 46% reduction in risk for preeclampsia, a condition that can progress to a life-threatening situation for both Mother and Baby.
A lower ratio suppresses the harmful effects of inﬂammation.
Two studies on students showed signiﬁcant improvement in sleep at this lower ratio.
A lower ratio reduces the production of stress chemicals.
SOURCES: For details, see References under Simopoulos and Cleland, Weiss, Larson, Chajes, Oddy, Davis, and Ghafoorunissa.
The Beneﬁts of Balanced Diets Low in Omega-6 Fat
The signiﬁcance of less omega-6 fat in the diet has been overshadowed (and even discounted) by the excitement over the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats. However, two landmark studies—the Greenland Eskimo study and the Lyon Diet Heart Study—indicate its importance.
• 42 The Basics of Omega Fats
The Greenland Eskimos
In the 1980s, the Greenland Eskimos were discovered to have an unusually low rate of heart disease compared with Danes, although both groups had similar blood cholesterol levels. In fact, the Eskimos ate twice as much cholesterol as the Danes, which puzzled the researchers. The healthy difference turned out to be the amount of ﬁsh eaten by the Eskimos. Soon the world was buzzing about the beneﬁts of eating ﬁsh and omega-3 fats.
In all of the excitement, an important ﬁnding was lost. The Eskimo ﬁsh diet was also much lower in omega-6 fat than the Danes’ diet (see Table 3.7). The omega-6 dietary factor is quite telling when comparing the diets from Japan, Okinawa, the United States, Denmark, and Greenland. Note how much higher omega-6 fat levels are
Omega-6 fat grams Omega-3 fat grams 0.9 1.6 1.1 2.7 1.2
Ratio of omega-6 to 3:1 4:1 6:1 11:1 3:1 0.4:1.0 omega-3 fats
SOURCE: For details, see References under Okuyama (“Dietary Fatty Acids . . .”) and USDA. Note: The numbers in this chart are rounded.
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 43 •
The Mediterranean Diet: It’s Not Just the Olive Oil
This oversight happened again in 1994, with the Lyon Diet Heart Study, which popularized the Mediterranean-style diet for its health beneﬁts. A signiﬁcant feature of the Mediterranean diet is that it is low in omega-6 fat levels, yet that aspect receives little if any mention, even when leading researchers demonstrate its importance.
In the Lyon Heart Diet Study, French researchers led by Michel de Lorgeril used the key dietary components of the Mediterranean diet and applied them to residents of the city of Lyon. The results of the study, which was supposed to last ﬁve years, were so striking that it was halted midway by an ethics committee. Remarkably, there was a complete prevention of cardiac sudden death in participants eating a Mediterranean-style diet; the control group, which followed the classic heart-health diet (which does not distinguish between the types of polyunsaturated fat) had no such beneﬁ t.
A subsequent follow-up of Lyon Diet Heart Study participants was even more remarkable—an unprecedented lower death rate from all causes, especially cancer. This was an unexpected ﬁ nding. The stunning results were published in the American Heart Association’s scientiﬁ c journal, Circulation, in 1999, accompanied by an editorial, which emphasized that only the diet with the lower omega6 fat and higher omega-3 fat successfully lowered the death rate from all causes, including cardiac. The classic cardiac diet—which does not distinguish between the types of polyunsaturated fat, therefore mostly omega-6 fat—failed to improve the overall prognosis.
Michel de Lorgeril continues to write extensively on the need to lower dietary omega-6 fat, as it is one of the hallmarks of his famous study. Yet that advice seems to have had little impact. At least he is not alone. In 2000, an international group of scientists that specialize in omega-3 fats issued guidelines to cap omega-6 consumption toward a balanced level. Two years later, Japan issued similar public health recommendations to limit the amount of omega-6 fat in the diet. In Australia, patients participating in the Early Arthritis Clinic
• 44 The Basics of Omega Fats
are advised to reduce their omega-6 fats to keep inﬂ ammation at bay. Keep in mind that no health agency or omega-3 fat expert is recommending we get rid of omega-6 entirely—only that we bring it back into balance.
Beneﬁts of Balancing the Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio
A clever study from Harvard Medical School showed dramatic results when a gene spliced into worms gave them the ability to make their own omega-3 fats. The worms began automatically producing a balanced fat ratio of 1-to-1 in their cells, with incredible beneﬁ ts:
In 1993 researchers from Israel tested the optimal balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats for brain performance, using incremental fat ratios, ranging from 3-to-1 to 6-to-1. They found the ratio of 4-to-1 was the most effective for improved learning, sleep, and pain threshold. Other studies have demonstrated similar results. This same research team also used this ratio on Alzheimer’s disease patients, who experienced signiﬁcant improvement in quality of life.
Less Omega-6 Fat Dramatically Reduces Artery Clogging
Researchers looked at the impact of balancing fats on preventing atherosclerosis in a particular strain of mice susceptible to clogged arteries. The mice were fed diets with the identical quantity of fat, but the proportions of omega-6 to omega-3 fats varied. The researchers found a dose-dependent effect on the development of heart disease: the lower the ratio, the better the outcome. Notably, the low-ratio group had the best HDL (good cholesterol), lowest blood clotting, and least clogged arteries.
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 45 •
Balanced Ratio in Early Life Prevents Childhood Asthma
The Australian Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS) found that high-risk kids placed on a balanced omega diet since birth (modest omega-3 supplement with diet low in omega-6 fats) had signiﬁ cant reduction of a type of cough that is a strong predictor of asthma.
Arthritis Improves with Lowering Omega-6 Fat in Diets
Researchers put one group of rheumatoid arthritis patients on a diet low in arachidonic acid (the most potent omega-6 fat) and supplemented them with ﬁsh oil. The other two groups of patients either were given ﬁsh oil and a regular diet or served as the control, with a regular diet and placebo supplement. The group following the low-AA diet had the most improvement (less pain, less tenderness and swelling of joints). Notably, those on the regular diet with ﬁ sh oil had improvements, too, but that treatment was less effective than the low-AA diet. Researchers also found that the more AA eaten, the higher the disease activity.
Omega-3 Supplements Do Little Without Balanced Omega-6 Fat Levels
As indicated in the arthritis study, for you to get the most beneﬁ t from ﬁsh oil supplements, you have to lower the level of omega-6 fat in your diet. Here are more examples:
Volunteers were given 4.4 grams of ﬁsh oil daily. It effectively suppressed the growth of cells that occur in colorectal cancer, but only if the ratio of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 fat was limited to 2.5-to-1.0. When the ratio was increased to 4-to-1, there was no such beneﬁ t.
Australian patients with rheumatoid arthritis were put on a diet containing less than 10 grams of omega-6 fats and were given a ﬁ sh oil supplement. They had superior improvement in symptoms relative to members of the control groups.
Asthmatic adults took ﬁsh oil while eating a typical American diet high in omega-6 fats (ratio of 10-to-1), but they still had diminished breathing capacity. However, when the omega-6 fats were lowered to a ratio of 2-to-1, they experienced improved breathing and decreased asthma-triggering compounds.
• 46 The Basics of Omega Fats
Why It’s Not Enough to Rely on the Ratio
An optimal balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats has yet to be determined. Many experts believe that a dietary fat ratio in the range of 1-to-1 to 4-to-1 is optimal, but it can differ based on the health condition. Ultimately the quantities of each type of fat do matter, but it’s not that simple or straightforward. Some scientists talk about diet ratios, while others talk about tissue ratios (the proportions of the fats in cells of the body); these ratios are related but very different. Some health organizations have different research agendas, such as heart health, while overlooking cancer prevention. See the sidebar for some recommendations that have been made.
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 47 •
When a Number Is Not What It Seems
Many researchers don’t like using a “ratio” to describe the fat requirements needed for health, because it is not accurate. There are several reasons why ratios can be misleading.
Decreasing Omega-6 Fat Won’t Fix a Deﬁciency of Omega-3 Fat. If your diet is deﬁcient in omega-3 fats and you only decrease your intake of omega-6 fats without increasing your intake of omega-3 fats, you still have a problem. Even though your ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats would be lower, that won’t do you a whole lot of good without enough omega-3s. Remember, the average American does not eat enough omega-3 fats, let alone enough of the right kinds of omega-3 fats.
The Ratio Can Be Misleading When You’re Trying to Balance Dietary Fats. If you rely on the ratio to select food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s low in omega-6 fats, it can lead you into the opposite result! For example, olive oil has an apparently high ratio of 13-to-1. This is misleading, however; ounce for ounce, olive oil has one of the lowest contents of omega-6 fat for an oil, with 1,320 milligrams per tablespoon.
In contrast, walnut oil has a much lower ratio of 5-to-1. At ﬁ rst glance, it would seem the better choice. But compared with olive oil, walnut oil has more than ﬁve times the amount of omega-6 fats per tablespoon: 7,190 milligrams.
Why the disparity? The ratio doesn’t consider the other fats present in the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) (such as monounsaturated and saturated fats). Olive oil is made up of mostly monounsaturated fats, so the net amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fats is relatively low. Walnut oil, however, is made up of mostly polyunsaturated fats (omega-6 and omega-3 fats), so its ratio packs more of a wallop.
Also, just a small percentage increase in the calories from the most common omega-6 fatty acid in our food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) supply (linoleic acid) halts omega-3 fat metabolism by 50 percent. A ratio would not indi
• 48 The Basics of Omega Fats
cate that signiﬁ cance, which is quite substantial. The more omega-6 fats you eat, the greater your requirement for omega-3 fats can become.
In essence, the goal for omega-3 fat intake can be a moving target, enough to make your head spin.
Lastly, the ratio is incomplete because it does not distinguish between the different types of omega-3 fats, each of which has markedly different effects in the body. Recall that there are several key omega-3 fatty acids, just as there are several types of B vitamins. ALA is the parent omega-3 fat, found in plant food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, while EPA and DHA are the biological power brokers, found in ﬁ sh and ﬁ sh oil.
Alternatives to Ratios. A more accurate way to balance the omega-6 and omega-3 fats, rather than using ratios, is to target speciﬁ c amounts. I use the guidelines published in 2000 by the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL). This group includes scientists from academia, government, industry, and health agencies from around the world.
It’s not as if Americans have been cautioned about their fat imbalance—far from it. There are no policy or scientiﬁc guidelines for a balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fat diet in the United States (explained further), yet they exist in other countries, including Japan.
The American Paradox: Institute of Medicine’s 2005 Recommendations
The Institute of Medicine (IOM), an American-based nonproﬁ t organization that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, issues scientiﬁc recommendations on the amount of nutrients we should eat. The IOM’s most recent report, 2005’s Dietary Reference Intakes, did not suggest any guidelines to balance our omega-6 and omega3 fats. The report has been criticized for recommending a diet too high in omega-6 fats and far too low in omega-3 fats, especially the long-chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA.
To make matters worse, the amount of omega-3 fat deemed to be “adequate” for Americans was determined by using the median
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 49 •
omega-3 fat consumed in the U.S. diet. That’s like taking the median exercise level of the typical American and saying that it’s a healthy amount of activity, even though a majority of Americans are couch potatoes! It is especially unsettling given the abundant research demonstrating the need for more omega-3 fats in our diet. In essence, the report really advocates for the status quo, because the recommendations are based on Americans’ current median consumption of both omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Let’s take a closer look at that diet:
The IOM 2005 guidelines don’t come close to reﬂ ecting the international recommendations, in spite of the bounty of research and scientists supporting the need for balancing the omegas (see Table 3.8). International guidelines were published in 2000, by a respected group of fatty-acid experts, from a meeting organized by the ISSFAL. They include scientists from academia, government, industry, and health agencies from around the world.¹ Ironically, some of the United States’ best scientists attended the ISSFAL workshop (which
1. Simopoulos, A. P., et al. “Workshop Statement on the Essentiality of and Recommended Dietary Intakes for Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” PLEFA 63(3) (2000): 119–21.
• 50 The Basics of Omega Fats
took place in Washington, D.C.) to formulate global recommendations. Yet, even when measured up to the IOM’s lax 2005 guidelines, the American diet falls short in omega-3 fats, as you can see in the right column of Table 3.8.
Here’s the clincher: In 2006 a group of U.S. scientists concluded that Americans currently eat so much omega-6 fat that they need to
|Upper limit for linoleic acid||6,670||No upper limit|
|OMEGA-3 FAT ALA (plant-based)||2,200||1,100–1,600||1,300|
|DHA � EPA (long-chain)||650||130–260||85|
|DHA minimum||220*||No minimum||57|
|EPA minimum||220||No minimum||28|
*For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the minimum recommended DHA level is 300 milligrams.
SOURCE: For details, see References under Simopoulos and IOM.
Omega-6 Fat Syndrome 51 •
• 52 The Basics of Omega Fats
Omega-6 fat syndrome: health problems increase as this fat rises in the diet.
Omega-6 fats need to be limited and omega-3 fats need to increase.
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Dousing Inﬂ ammation
The Hotbed of Chronic Diseases
hat do arthritis, heart attacks, cancer, asthma, and depression have in common? Inﬂammation! Yes, the same process that occurs when you stub your toe—swelling, pain, redness, and heat—is at the root of many of today’s chronic health problems.
In this chapter we’ll look at some of the basics of inﬂ ammation and how what you eat helps or worsens the process.
Inﬂ ammation 101
Your body’s inner 911 is known as the inﬂammation response. Without it, a little injury such as a cut on your foot could be life threatening. Your body’s arsenal, from tiny cells to special chemicals, responds in a number of ways—such as forming blood clots to prevent blood loss or raising the temperature of your body—in an effort to destroy bacteria that may have entered your wound.
This type of inﬂammatory response is essential for healing, but another kind of chronic low-grade inﬂ ammation promotes disease. Consequently, the healing blood clots that prevent bleeding to death can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
• 56 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
How Your Body’s Inner First-Aid Kit Became a Slow Weapon of Death
Your body’s inner ﬁrst-aid kit depends on a wide array of tools that include a powerful class of chemicals called eicosanoids (pronounced eye-CO-suh-noids). These potentially healing compounds are made from fat. Eicosanoids made from omega-6 fats promote inﬂ ammation. Omega-3-based eicosanoids have the opposite effect: dousing inﬂammation. It is a complicated contradiction—but in a way, no different from the opposing tools used for repairing a house. You might need a demolition ball to tear out a rotten wall and then a crane to deliver wood for building a new wall. Or you might need a scraper to remove paint and a thin, wispy brush to apply paint in delicate corners. Similarly, the inﬂammation process uses eicosanoids that constrict or dilate blood vessels, prevent blood clots or trigger blood clots, and so forth. These seemingly opposite actions are necessary for maintaining your health.
Imagine, however, that while repairing your house, you received mainly tools for demolition. In a simpliﬁed manner, that is the dilemma that takes place in our bodies. Today, via the inﬂ ammation response from the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) we eat, we have a preponderance of the tools that are destruction-oriented toward our bodies. If you eat too many omega-6 fats, your body makes too many pro-inﬂ ammation tools. This problem is ampliﬁed when you don’t eat enough of the counterbalancing omega-3 fats.
The proportion of omega-6 and omega-3 fats eaten will determine the type of fats holstered in your cells, which in turn determines the type of eicosanoids created and ultimately your inﬂ ammation status. Nearly 15 years ago, one researcher concluded that the typical American diet sets the biological stage for a near maximal inﬂ ammation response from eating a chronic excess of omega-6 fats and too few of the omega-3 fats (see Figure 4.1).
Today inﬂammatory responses from excess omega-6 eicosanoids are at the root of many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. People are pop
Eicosanoids are potent chemicals that affect inﬂammation. They are made from omega-6 and omega-3 fats, with the help of COX and LOX enzymes. Many pain medications work by blocking these enzymes. The three eicosanoid groups are thromboxanes, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes.
• 58 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
ping a record number of anti-inﬂammatory medications to block the problems caused by eating too many omega-6 fats.
Anti-Inﬂammatory Drugs and Omega-3 Fats Work by Blocking Omega-6 Fat
When you have a headache, do you reach for aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve)? These over-the-counter medications are known as nonsteroidal anti-inﬂ ammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They work by blocking the effects of the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid, which creates eicosanoids that trigger pain, fever, swelling, and cramping.
Sometimes, these over-the-counter drugs aren’t enough to combat inﬂammation, so your doctor might prescribe something stronger, such as Celebrex, which also works by preventing omega-6 fats from making eicosanoids. Omega-3 fats work in a similar manner and can even outperform some medications without their side effects.
COX Inhibitors Halt Omega-6 Fat (Arachidonic Acid)
Anti-inﬂammatory drugs work by blocking enzymes called cyclooxygenase (COX). When this enzyme is blocked, arachidonic acid (the most potent omega-6 fat) is unable to make its inﬂ ammatory compounds.
Arachidonic acid is like an unlit match. The COX enzymes “light” arachidonic acid, which then creates compounds that trigger inﬂ ammation and blood clotting. Anti-inﬂammatory medications act like water; they prevent arachidonic acid from being lit. Aspirin and other COX inhibitors work by blocking excess omega-6 fats from creating powerful eicosanoids. Ironically, if you take Motrin for a headache and eat food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s that are high in omega-6 fats (like corn oil margarine on your toast), you may worsen inﬂammation. It’s like throwing shredded paper on an inferno that the ﬁ re department is trying to extinguish. Omega-6 fats are fuel for the COX enzymes. More fuel leads to more inﬂ ammation.
Dousing Inﬂammation 59 •
COX-2 Inhibitors Block Omega-6 Fat, Too
For decades, aspirin has been touted as the wonder drug, but chronic use causes problems. Approximately one-third of patients taking aspirin and other NSAIDs develop ulcers, and over 100,000 patients are hospitalized each year for GI complications.
To alleviate pain and the side effects from aspirin, pharmaceutical companies developed a new class of drugs, called COX-2 inhibitors, which selectively block COX enzymes. These drugs, including Vioxx and Celebrex, became popular for managing a variety of conditions, including arthritis, menstrual cramps, and headaches.
Unfortunately, a deadly side effect was discovered: heart problems. Unlike aspirin, COX-2 inhibitor medications allow the formation of blood clots, a key risk factor in heart disease.
LOX: The Smoking Gun from Asthma to Atherosclerosis
Another enzyme, called LOX, converts omega-6 fat into even more potent inﬂammatory compounds, called leukotrienes. The leukotrienes include a potent asthma-triggering chemical, which is also linked to clogged arteries.
Aspirin and similar anti-inﬂammatory medications do not affect the LOX enzyme. But omega-3 fats are able to block the LOX enzyme, as do asthma medications (such as Singulair and Zyﬂo), which prevent leukotriene formation from omega-6 fat.
Omega-3 fats also work like corticosteroid medications, which block the release of the “holstered” arachidonic acid from the cells. Less AA means the LOX can’t make leukotrienes.
Fish oil not only blocks both COX and LOX enzymes without the side effects of medications, it also confers health beneﬁts. The EPA (one of the omega-3s) in ﬁsh oil competes with the powerful omega-6 fat arachidonic acid and lessens its ability to make the inﬂ ammatory eicosanoids. When AA is knocked out of the picture, EPA steps in and uses the same enzymes to generate inﬂ ammation-blunting compounds. In particular, DHA (the other omega-3 in ﬁsh oil) uses LOX to make a compound that protects the brain.
• 60 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
Beyond Medication: Omega-3s Turn Off Inﬂ ammation Genes and More
There’s more to inﬂammation than the myriad of eicosanoids. Genes must be switched on and off in order to make proteins that play pivotal roles in inﬂammation and immunity. Omega-3 fats also inﬂ uence these players in the orchestration of inﬂ ammation:
While medications have their role in managing diseases, ﬁ sh oil does not have the side effects such as bleeding ulcers from aspirin or adverse cardiac events from COX-2 inhibitors. Fish oil helps reduce
|Chemical or Process Affected||Aspirin and NSAIDs (Naproxen, Ibuprofen)||COX-2 Inhibitors (Vioxx, Celebrex)||Medications(Zyﬂ o, Accolate, Cortico-Singulair) steroids||Fish Oil|
|COX-1 enzyme (inﬂ ammation)||Inhibit||—||—||—||Inhibits|
Dousing Inﬂammation 61 •
Medication or Nutrient
Asthma Aspirin and COX-2 Medications NSAIDs Inhibitors (Zyﬂ o,
Chemical or (Naproxen, (Vioxx, Accolate, Cortico-Process Affected Ibuprofen) Celebrex) Singulair) steroids Fish Oil
COX-2 enzyme Inhibit Inhibit — — Inhibits (inﬂ ammation)
LOX enzyme No effect No effect Inhibit — Inhibits (inﬂ ammation)
Omega-6 release — — — Inhibit Inhibits (from cell membrane)
Cartilage Increase — — Inhibits destruction (cytokines)
Blood pressure Increase Increase — Increase Decreases
Blood clotting Inhibit Increase — — Inhibits
Genes (inﬂammation) — — — — Turns off
Toxicity Gastric ulcers Heart Nausea; Weight gain — and bleeding, problems stomachache diabetes, kidney failure, slowed anemia, liver healing, failure, osteoporosis, asthma, and cataracts, dizziness acne, weak
muscles, infection risk, and stomach ulcers
Collateral health Beneﬁts to Decrease — — Beneﬁts to
beneﬁts the heart in colon heart, (for aspirin cancer mood, only) cancer, and
• 62 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
Powerful Synergy: When Fish Oil and Aspirin Unite
Scientists recently discovered that the combination of aspirin and omega-3 fats creates novel healing compounds. These compounds, resolvins and neuroprotectins, are potent anti-inﬂ ammatory chemicals. The research is in its infancy but is quite promising. The resolvins (made from EPA) dramatically prevented the formation of inﬂammatory bowel disease in genetically prone mice. When applied topically, the resolvins stopped the destruction of gum and bones in rabbit periodontitis (which is similar to human periodontitis, or gum disease). Neuroprotectins (from DHA) protect the survival of stressed-out brain cells and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega-3 Fats Shorten Hospital Stays and Reduce Complications
Given the vast healing properties of omega-3 fats, researchers have turned their attention to patients who require intravenous feeding, also known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Up until the 1980s, a person who was unable to eat could die from malnutrition. But during that decade, scientists developed solutions that could be delivered through a tube into the patient’s vein to provide nutrition. The source of fat in these solutions is typically soybean oil. But a recent critical review of the fats used in TPN indicated that soybean oil might hamper patient recovery because it contains a high level of omega-6 fat.
When soybean oil is replaced with ﬁsh oil, the effects are striking. Studies showed that omega-3 fats improved outcome in very sick patients by lowering the magnitude of the inﬂ ammatory response:
Dousing Inﬂammation 63 •
In contrast, the standard soybean oil infusion increased the inﬂ ammation compounds in the blood and the amount of days spent in the hospital.
Omega-3s: Prevention and Treatment of Inﬂ ammatory Diseases
Omega-3 fats are effective in the management of inﬂ ammatory diseases and offer the added beneﬁt of less need for medication.
Cooling Pain and Stiffness in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Greenland Eskimos and indigenous Japanese have lower rates of rheumatoid arthritis than people in Western countries, which is signiﬁcant because they have a genetic propensity to this disorder. Researchers attribute their lower disease rates to their diet, which is high in omega-3 fat and low in omega-6 fat.
To date, researchers have reported 15 well-designed ﬁ sh oil studies on the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients with marked effectiveness. Beneﬁts of using ﬁsh oil included reduced pain and morning stiffness and decreased use of pain medication by nearly 50 percent. A standard therapeutic dose of EPA and DHA is 2.7 grams combined.
Asthma and Respiratory Problems: Omega-3 Fats Help You Breathe
Globally, asthma affects about 300 million people of all ages and ethnicities. While progress has been made in the treatment of asthma, its prevalence is rising, which researchers attribute, in part, to the stellar rise of dietary omega-6 fats.
University of Wyoming researchers gave two groups of people ﬁ sh oil and a diet that was either high in omega-6 fat (a level similar to the typical Western diet) or low in omega-6 fat. Those on the diet that
• 64 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
was high in omega-6 fat had diminished respiratory capacity. But the group whose diet was low in omega-6 fat had a marked improvement in breathing, as well as a decrease in the asthma-triggering leukotrienes. Notably, ﬁsh oil was not effective for those eating a diet high in omega-6 fat.
Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats is associated with fewer asthmatic problems. One study found that children who eat ﬁ sh more than once a week are one-third as likely to develop asthma, compared with those who do not eat ﬁ sh.
Exercise is a powerful trigger of asthma symptoms. Promising research shows that ﬁsh oil supplementation signiﬁ cantly ameliorates the severity of exercise-induced airway narrowing in both elite athletes and asthmatics, with a 30 percent reduction in inhaler use. Researchers are hopeful that using omega-3 fats could result in less medication use.
Omega-3s and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the ﬁ fth leading cause of death worldwide and is characterized by chronic inﬂ ammation in the lungs. Sadly, no medication can slow the progression of this disease. But researchers from Japan gave COPD patients an omega-3 supplement for two years, resulting in improved exercise tolerance and less inﬂammation (less leukotrienes) compared with the placebo group. The improved exercise tolerance is signiﬁ cant because it improves survival in these patients.
Fish Oil Fights Inﬂ ammatory Bowel Diseases
The inﬂammatory bowel diseases Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic and incurable diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Fish oil is promising, as studies show it can lessen medication use and increase remission. An encouraging double-blind study on children with Crohn’s disease found that adding ﬁsh oil prevented relapse for eight months. In contrast, 95 percent of the kids in the standard treatment group relapsed by the ﬁrst month of medical treatment.
Dousing Inﬂammation 65 •
Cancer: Wounds That Do Not Heal
Many cancers are associated with inﬂ ammation, reﬂected by elevated COX and LOX enzymes. Many of the drugs used for pain relief and inﬂammation also suppress cancer formation. The COX inhibitors have a strong preventive effect on colon cancer. Most recently, a Celebrex drug study dramatically prevented the recurrence of adenoma cancer. But there’s a huge catch: there was an increased risk of heart disease.
Omega-3 fats, which inhibit both COX and LOX enzymes, have been shown to block cancer in many studies. Some of the compounds made from omega-6 fat enhance the tumor-making process while suppressing the body’s natural ability to get rid of cancerous cells. Many studies indicate that the ratio of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 fats is associated with the risk of cancer.
The Brain Hardwired for Inﬂ ammation
The immune system is integrally connected to the brain. Psychological stress triggers the production of inﬂ ammatory compounds, which can trigger anxiety. Notably, the type and levels of fat in the blood predict the inﬂammation response to psychological stress. Major depression has an acute phase response in which inﬂ ammation is increased. The imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats found in major depression may be related to the increased production of inﬂ ammatory eicosanoids.
Bone Health: Beyond Calcium
Omega-6 fat makes compounds that trigger bone loss and prevent bone formation. While most of the studies to date have been on animals, the limited human studies are compelling:
Individuals using NSAIDs to relieve pain have higher bone densities and fewer fractures. These medications inhibit the COX enzymes that make the bone-eroding compounds. There’s no doubt that omega-3 fats, also COX inhibitors, will play a role in maintaining our bone health.
Heart Disease and Inﬂ ammation
It is widely accepted that inﬂammation is at the root of heart disease. It may be the reason why patients with inﬂ ammation conditions (including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergy disorders, lupus, and depression) have a higher risk of heart disease. In the next chapter, you’ll ﬁnd out more about how omega-3s protect the heart.
Dousing Inﬂammation 67 •
The dominating fats in your cells ultimately determine the inﬂ ammation status of your body.
Many medications work by blocking the effects of omega-6 fat.
Omega-3 fats counteract inﬂammation in other ways that drugs do not:
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Nutrition 911 for Your Heart
mega-3 fats are such powerful heart protectors that the American Heart Association recommends eating ﬁ sh twice a week—and taking daily ﬁsh oil supplements if you already have heart disease.
In this chapter you will see the compelling ways omega-3 fats keep your heart healthy: by steadying heartbeat, maintaining ﬂ exible arteries, lowering fats in the blood, smoothing blood ﬂow, and even preventing sudden death. You will learn how eating too much omega-6 fat (such as margarine) can create problems for your heart.
• 70 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
Omega-3 Fats and Healthy Blood Vessels: Go with the Flow
Omega-3 fats profoundly beneﬁt your arteries and blood system, including blood pressure and blood clotting.
Flexible and Wide Arteries
Your arteries are like freeways, serving as a transportation corridor for blood cells. Have you ever driven on a freeway in which the lanes narrow to just one? As the cars funnel into one lane, they create a trafﬁc jam. That’s similar to what happens to your blood cells when your arteries constrict. It’s harder for them to travel smoothly. Under stress, your body produces a chemical (norepinephrine) that starts a chain reaction leading to narrower arteries. Omega-3 fats counteract this problem by widening the arteries. This yin and yang of artery widening and narrowing is triggered by eicosanoids, made from omega-6 and omega-3 fats.
Your arteries work best when they are elastic and supple. Stiff arteries diminish blood ﬂow to the heart and increase your risk of heart disease. A recent study showed that ﬁsh oil supplements, when taken daily for seven weeks, increased the elasticity of arteries.
Under Pressure: Omega-3 Fats
High blood pressure (hypertension) is the most preventable cause of stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. Hypertension damages your arteries and makes them stiff. Here’s how hypertension damages your blood vessels:
Heart Health 71 •
Shaving even a few points off your blood pressure can help your arteries. More than 60 studies found that ﬁsh oil has a modest but signiﬁcant effect on lowering blood pressure.
Omega-3 Fats Keep Blood Flowing Smoothly
Omega-3 fats help blood ﬂ ow efﬁciently and prevent blood clots. They do so by preventing blood cells, speciﬁcally platelets, from clustering together, which would hamper blood ﬂow. This is like drivers slowing down to gawk at an accident; the clustered cars amplify trafﬁc snarls. This type of trafﬁc jam in the blood is known as platelet aggregation. Omega-3 fats also help break down ﬁbrin, a mesh-like compound that forms a blood clot.
Fish oil also helps keep blood ﬂowing smoothly by lowering a category of fats called triglycerides, which in high levels are a risk factor for heart disease. More than 70 studies clearly show ﬁ sh oil has a potent ability to lower these fats. Consuming just two to four grams of ﬁsh oil lowers triglycerides by 20 to 50 percent.
What About Cholesterol?
You probably know that elevated blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Yet half of the people with heart disease have normal blood cholesterol levels. Despite changes in lifestyle and the use of medications to lower blood cholesterol, the death rate from heart attacks in the United States is among the worst in the world. The
• 72 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
explanation? Inﬂammation, not cholesterol itself, has the most profound impact on heart disease.
Your Arteries: The Super Inﬂ ammation Highway
Heart disease or atherosclerosis is often described as “clogged arteries,” but this is a misnomer. It is an inﬂammatory disorder, which is much more than the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.
Inﬂammation as the Cause of Heart Disease: An Old Idea, Newly Embraced
While the notion of inﬂ ammation as the cause of heart disease still grabs headlines, the idea is hardly new: it originated nearly 200 years ago! The inﬂammation theory went in and out of vogue depending on the medical opinion leaders of the time.
In 1815 surgeon Joseph Hodgson published Treatise on the Diseases of Arteries and Veins, which identiﬁ ed inﬂ ammation as the cause of artery damage. But he wasn’t popular, so neither was his theory. About 40 years later, pathologist Rudolf von Virchow resurrected the inﬂammation theory. But another prominent doctor disagreed. It would take more than a century for scientists to settle this issue.
Old-School Lipid Theory. In the 1900s, scientists created clogged arteries in rabbits by adding cholesterol to their food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com), which gave rise to the theory that dominated most of the 20th century. According to this theory, plaque builds up in the arteries, limiting blood ﬂ ow, resulting in a heart attack. This sounds logical, but there is actually more to the processes causing heart attacks.
New-School Inﬂ ammation Theory. Thanks to technology, it became clear that blood clots (which are caused by inﬂammation) play a pivotal role in heart attacks. Inﬂammation was widely accepted as the culprit of heart disease in 1999, when Russell Ross published
Heart Health 73 •
his landmark paper, “Atherosclerosis: A Chronic Inﬂ ammatory Disease,” in the New England Journal of Medicine.
What about clogged arteries? Plaque buildup in the arteries is certainly a problem, but it is akin to loading a bullet into a gun—it’s dangerous but not lethal in and of itself. The chronic inﬂ ammation process ultimately pulls the trigger by causing plaque to accrue and then rupture, spewing a blood clot and inﬂ ammatory compounds into the blood. Let’s take a closer look.
Inﬂammation of Arterial Highway 101
Inﬂammation is triggered by a microscopic injury to the artery, which can be caused by high blood pressure, smoking, and oxidized LDL, a more toxic form of cholesterol.
Attempting to self-heal, the injured artery releases a chemical SOS, which initiates the inﬂammation cascade, resulting in plaque formation. The core region of the plaque consists of fat and immune cells, surrounded by a tough cap (like a scab). The inﬂ ammation process ensues, causing the cap to weaken. Consequently, the plaque ruptures like a lethal volcano, spilling its toxic contents into the blood. Your arteries become the inﬂammation highway, circulating these compounds, one of which is the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid.
Omega-3 Fats Keep the Pace and Rhythm of the Heart
The heart is an “excitable” tissue, meaning the heart cells generate electric currents, which trigger the heart to beat regularly. Fatal rhythms occur when the electrical signals get chaotic, which disables the heart’s ability to beat and pump blood. One of the ways omega-3 fats beneﬁt the heart is by stabilizing their electrical action.
Omega-3 Fats Improve Heart Rate Variability
Heart rate variability reﬂects your heart’s autonomic function, which allows your heart to beat automatically, without you thinking about it. Omega-3 fats, especially DHA, improve this heart function.
• 74 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
EPA and DHA Are Comparable to Anti-Arrhythmia Medication
A Harvard research team evaluated the effects of the long-chain omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, on heart rhythm. In every instance, the omega-3 fats stopped violent ﬁbrillation (deadly heart beat rhythm) and helped the heart cells resume a normal beat.
Omega-3 Fats Slow the Pace of Beating Hearts
Lowering your heart rate a few beats may appear trivial, but it may help prevent sudden death, as shown in a French study that followed nearly 8,000 healthy men for 23 years. The men who remained healthy had a slower heart rate by four beats per minute.
A review of 30 studies indicates that omega-3 fats lower heart rate by nearly two beats per minute. This effect occurs after 12 weeks of ﬁsh oil supplementation, which is how long it takes omega-3 fats to get holstered into your heart cells.
Clearly, omega-3 fats help maintain a healthy heartbeat, which is why scientists believe they are protective against sudden cardiac death.
Omega-3 Fats: Your Inner Deﬁ brillator
More than half of all sudden cardiac deaths occur in people without any history of heart disease. One of the main causes of sudden death is a sustained abnormal heartbeat called ventricular arrhythmia. (That’s why deﬁbrillators save lives: they jolt the heart into normal rhythm.)
Alexander Leaf of Harvard University led the landmark study demonstrating omega-3 fats’ ability to prevent sudden death. His lab gave arrhythmia-prone dogs ﬁsh oil just before they performed a treadmill stress test. The results showed that ﬁsh oil prevented sudden death in the dogs.
These remarkable results prompted studies to see if similar beneﬁts could be achieved in people. Hints already existed, as eating ﬁsh one to two times weekly was associated with a nearly 50 percent reduction in sudden death.
Heart Health 75 •
Fish or Fish Oil Decreases Sudden Death
A study called the Diet and Reinfarction Trial told heart attack patients to eat two ﬁsh servings per week. The study’s results indicated a 29 percent reduction in death. Another study, the GISSI-Prevenzione Trial, involved over 11,000 heart attack patients. In that study, men given 850 milligrams of long-chain omega-3 fats had a 45 percent reduction in sudden cardiac death compared with the unsupplemented group. The U.S. Physician’s Health Study added a vital piece of evidence: omega-3 fats reduce the risk of sudden death even among men without a history of heart disease.
Omega-3 Fats Prevent Arrhythmia in Heart Surgery Patients
A dangerous heart rhythm, atrial ﬁbrillation, is one of the main complications after open-heart surgery. Italian researchers randomly gave ﬁsh oil supplements to 80 of 160 patients scheduled for heart surgery. The supplemented group had a marked reduction in atrial ﬁ brillation and spent fewer days in the hospital. The ﬁsh oil’s effectiveness was comparable to that of the heart-stabilizing medications sotalol and amiodarone—but without their serious side effects, including assorted problems in the liver, lungs, and heart.
Omega-3 Fats May Prevent Arrhythmia in High-Risk Patients
Researchers are hopeful that omega-3 fats will provide an alternative to anti-arrhythmia drugs for patients with implanted deﬁ brillators. But studies on these patients show conﬂicting results, so the jury is still out.
Omega-6 Increases the Odds of Developing Heart Disease
Excess omega-6 fats trigger blood clotting, clustering of blood cells, and tightening of blood vessels—a compelling bit of information. When you consider the role of omega-6 fats as a contributor to heart disease, the information is chilling.
Heart Health 77 •
In the 1970s, there were clues that excess omega-6 fat hurts the heart. Scientists infused animals with the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid, and it caused sudden death within minutes. The cause of death was thrombosis (blood clots).³ This lethal effect did not occur after using the same amount of other fats.
Furthermore, all the eicosanoids made from arachidonic acid, except for one, have been found to be potent arrhythmogenic agents (causes of arrhythmia), according to Alexander Leaf’s research. Based on these and other ﬁndings, Leaf in a 2001 scientiﬁc editorial urged a lowering of dietary omega-6 fats in order to promote heart health.
Notably, the higher the level of arachidonic acid in your body, the greater your risk of death from heart disease. Let’s take a closer look.
Oil and water don’t mix, so fats need a shuttle to move throughout your blood, which is mainly water. One of these “shuttles” is a phospholipid, which holds one pair of fatty acids. Phospholipids are a major component of all cells, including heart cells, blood cells, and brain cells.
Each phospholipid is like a hanger in which there are two clamps to hold a long pair of pants (but instead of pants, they are fatty acids). One of the clamps, called position 2, is reserved for long-chain fats. Typically, the coveted position goes to one of three fats: the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid or the omega-3 fats EPA or DHA. Which gets in? Whichever fat is in most abundant supply. The supply is based on the proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet. In the case of the American diet, omega-6 fat wins a great majority of the space in the phospholipids, which is why about 75 percent of the long-chain fats in the American body are omega-6 fats.
3. Silver, M. J., et al. “Arachidonic Acid Causes Sudden Death in Rabbits.” Science 183 (129) (1974): 1085–87.
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A new blood test, called the Omega-3 Index, measures the phospholipid content of omega-3 fats. The higher your omega-3 index, the more protection your heart will have. Researchers believe this test might be one of the best indicators for risk of death from heart disease.
LDL Cholesterol: Special-Delivery Taxi for Omega-6 Fat. The last L in LDL stands for lipoprotein, which is a protein that serves as a taxi for fat. In its center region is the fat payload, including cholesterol and phospholipids, which it delivers into the artery wall.
LDL carries an enzyme⁴ that serves as the release pin for the arachidonic acid tethered to the phospholipid. Once freed, the arachidonic acid can make potent omega-6 eicosanoids that trigger blood clotting, inﬂammation, and arrhythmias—obviously not good for the heart. An elevated blood level of this enzyme is an independent risk factor for heart disease and indicates the extent of artery damage.
Diets High in Omega-6 Fats Promote Atherosclerosis
Diets that are high in omega-6 fats may be especially harmful to people with a genetic disposition to heart disease (who are just being identiﬁed, thanks to robust research from the human genome project). The potent omega-6 eicosanoid made from the LOX enzyme (a known trigger of asthma) is powerfully linked to atherosclerosis, especially in people who are genetically wired to make higher levels of this enzyme.
A profound study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that eating a diet high in omega-6 fat (typical levels in a Western diet) caused an increase in the production of the damaging LOX-based compounds, leading to atherosclerosis. Both omega-6 fats, linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, were signiﬁ cantly associated with increased severity of artery damage.
In another study, Tufts University researchers reported in the May 2006 issue of Circulation that people who have a variation of a
4. The enzyme is called lipoprotein-associated phospholipid lipase A-2.
Heart Health 79 •
gene called apolipoprotein A5 have a higher risk for heart disease, especially if they eat a diet high in omega-6 fats.
Diets Low in Omega-6 Fats Reduce Death from Heart Disease
The Lyon Diet Heart Trial was a large study designed to see if eating a Mediterranean-style diet would protect against the recurrence of a heart attack, compared with the standard diet recommended by the American Heart Association. The omega-6 fats in the diet were limited to seven grams a day, about what you ﬁnd in just one tablespoon of corn or soybean oil. The results surprised even the researchers. After four years on this diet, participants experienced a reduction in all causes of death, including heart disease. The impact of this diet was also reﬂ ected in blood phospholipids, with a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.
In spite of the compelling evidence of omega-3 fat’s detriment to heart health, there is not much “buy-in” from the medical community. Since the late 1980s, respected scientists from around the world⁵ have brought attention to the omega-6 fat problem in eloquent editorials and studies, only to seemingly fall on deaf ears.
Instead, many health organizations indiscriminately promote the use of polyunsaturated fats to replace artery-clogging saturated fat. Since omega-6 fats are the dominant fat found in polyunsaturated oils (soybean oil, cottonseed oil, sunﬂower oil, safﬂower oil, corn oil)—if you seek them out, you will overwhelmingly increase your dietary load of omega-6 fats, which is counterproductive to health.
Fortunately there are ripples of change. In 2005, Joint British Societies issued guidelines to prevent cardiovascular diseases, which not only recommended regular ﬁsh consumption, they urged replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fats (like olive oil). This is signiﬁcant, because this is the ﬁ rst health association that does not
5. The prestigious scientists include Alexander Leaf, M.D., of Harvard; the principal investigator of the Lyon Diet Heart Trial, Michel de Lorgeril from France; noted biochemist W. E. M. Lands, Ph.D., from the United States; Artemis Simopoulos, M.D.; Les Cleland, M.D., from Australia.
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indiscriminately recommend increasing polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats.
To keep your heart healthy, it’s a great start to eat more omega-3 fats, whether from ﬁsh or supplements. But it is not enough. Dietary omega-6 fats need to be lowered to a healthier balance. This balance is also important for the developing brain, which is discussed in the next chapter.
Heart Health 81 •
Excess omega-6 fats worsen inﬂammation and heart disease.
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The Developing Brain
From Womb to High Chair (Even Rocking Chair)
mega-3 fats (particularly DHA) are vital for development, especially creating the architecture of a baby’s brain. Omega-3s have both immediate and long-term consequences that can affect a baby’s health for the rest of his or her life.
Virtually all brain cells or neurons (nerve cells) in the brain are formed before birth. During the last 12 weeks of pregnancy, omega-3 fat content increases in the baby’s brain three to ﬁve times. Therefore, what an expectant mother eats has a signiﬁcant impact on the baby’s brain, from inﬂuencing IQ to determining which genes get turned on. In this chapter, we will explore how omega-3s shape a baby’s development with implications throughout the lifespan.
(A special word to mothers: No guilt allowed if your diet during pregnancy wasn’t ideal. Freud did enough in the guilt department for generations of mothers. It’s best to operate under the assumption that you do the best you can until you learn otherwise. Many diseases and health conditions arise from a variety of factors, and once a child is born, how she or he lives can have a signiﬁcant impact on overall health. So, please, no blaming the mother here.)
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Pregnancy: You Are What Your Momma Ate
Before, during, and after pregnancy, omega-3s play a critical role for both mom and baby. Therefore, it’s crucial for mom to build and maintain adequate DHA stores. It’s similar to keeping your checking account in the black by making regular deposits. If your funds are insufﬁcient, your checks will bounce, and you’ll pay a penalty. But it’s a little more complicated with your “DHA checking account”: you don’t get statements indicating your omega-3 balance, and withdrawals can be compounded by many factors, some of which are not obvious.
Before birth, all of the omega-3 fats accumulated by the developing baby must come from the mother via the ultimate maternal straw, the umbilical cord, where nutrients are transferred to the baby. DHA withdrawals are taken from the mother’s stores to supply the critical building blocks for the baby’s developing brain.
Each pregnancy drains maternal stores of omega-3 fat, and unless they are replenished, the stores get lower with each birth. They continue to drain if a mother breastfeeds her baby. Researchers believe that depleted maternal stores of omega-3 fat are a contributing factor to postpartum depression.
Beneﬁts to Mom During Pregnancy
Omega-3s play a role in a healthy pregnancy, which naturally beneﬁ ts the baby. They create the powerful cascade of eicosanoids, which activate labor, so they inﬂuence the length of the gestation period.
Omega-3s may prolong gestation by blunting one of the compounds that start labor. In 2002 scientists in Denmark found that the risk of premature birth is greatly reduced if mothers eat oily ﬁ sh during pregnancy. Their research, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that the average birth weight and length of pregnancy appeared to increase in direct relation to the amount of ﬁ sh eaten. Low consumption of seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) was a strong risk factor for pre-term delivery and low birth weight.
The Developing Brain 85 •
In another study, researchers gave high-risk pregnant women either ﬁsh oil or a placebo. The ﬁsh oil group had a signiﬁ cant reduction in preterm delivery.
Beneﬁts to Baby During Pregnancy
Nearly all of the baby’s brain cells are formed in the womb, although they mature after birth. Each brain cell requires DHA to ensure proper brain development. Several studies indicate that if the mother is not eating enough DHA, less DHA is present in the baby’s brain. Consequently, the baby’s emotional and intellectual development can be greatly affected.
Mature Brain Development. The young brain cell is like a sapling that grows into a tree. Brain cells mature by getting longer and branching out. DHA is critical to this process. Pregnant women who eat more DHA give their babies a better chance of mature brain development, according to a ﬁrst-of-its-kind study reported in the September 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers evaluated sleep patterns of babies because those patterns reﬂ ect the brain’s maturity. Mothers with higher DHA blood levels had babies with heartier sleep patterns in the ﬁrst 48 hours after delivery. Babies born to women with low DHA levels had less advanced sleeping patterns (less brain maturity). Furthermore, the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the prenatal diet had a signiﬁcant impact; diets that were higher in omega-6 fats resulted in babies having less advanced sleeping patterns.
Impact on Language and Learning. Pregnant women who ate ﬁ sh regularly had toddlers with better language and communication skills, according to research on 7,421 children born in 1991 and 1992. Scientists tested each child’s cognitive development at ages 15 and 18 months. Overall, eating ﬁsh during pregnancy was consistently linked to children’s higher test scores. (Keep in mind that it is important to choose low-mercury ﬁsh, as described in Chapter 11.)
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The largest effect was seen in the children’s ability to understand words at the age of 15 months. Children whose mothers ate ﬁ sh at least once a week recognized 7 percent more words than those whose mothers never ate ﬁsh. A similar pattern was seen in another study that evaluated social activity and language development.
Boost to Babies’ Intelligence. Researchers at the University of Oslo found that children whose mothers took cod-liver oil during pregnancy scored higher on intelligence and achievement tests at four years of age. This study is notable because it was randomized and double-blind (the gold standard of a well-designed study).
Better Metabolism of Chemicals Promoting Attention and Memory.
DHA plays a big role in creating and storing chemicals involved in mood, memory, and concentration. A decrease of DHA in the developing brain alters the metabolism of the neurochemical dopamine, which is vital to attention, motivation, and child development.
Inﬂuence on Genes (Now and Later). Omega-3 fats turn on and off many genes in the brain. Genes are like factories that have the recipe to make proteins. When genes are turned on, the assembly line begins, churning out speciﬁc proteins such as a blood cell. Conversely, when genes are turned off, the assembly halts.
Recently, researchers explored whether eating omega-3 fats during the perinatal period could inﬂuence brain gene expression later in life. (The perinatal period is generally considered to start at the 20th to 28th week of gestation and ends one to four weeks after birth.) Among 1,600 genes examined in rats, omega-3 deﬁciency altered the expression of several important genes in the offspring. (Clearly, it’s not ethical to do this sort of experiment on a human.)
Genes: Fate and Fat
As the embryo grows into billions of cells and differentiates into organs, nutritional adequacy is crucial. More biological milestones are passed before birth than after, and once a critical developmen
The Developing Brain 87 •
tal phase is passed in the womb, you can’t start over. Some of these milestones won’t be evident at birth. For example, you won’t know if a newborn’s adolescent parts are working until children reach their preteen years. And so it goes with diseases that can take decades to develop, such as cancer.
Scientists believe that when the fetus is nutritionally deprived, nutrients have to be allocated. The developing brain gets priority. This leaves important organs like the kidney and heart vulnerable to not developing properly, possibly increasing the risk of diseases related to those organs. Here are some provocative examples.
Protection of Daughters from Breast Cancer
A headline-grabbing study was presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The results indicated that mothers who eat food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s rich in omega-3 fats during pregnancy and breastfeeding and continue to feed their babies such a diet (after weaning) may reduce their daughter’s risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
It’s been known that maternal diets high in omega-6 fats increase maternal estrogen levels, which in turn are linked to increased breast cancer among female children. In a study involving rats predisposed to cancer, Elaine Hardman of Louisiana State University gave them a diet high in either omega-3 or omega-6 fats while they were pregnant, breastfeeding, and weaning. All of the offspring exposed to the maternal omega-6 diet developed breast tumors. But the omega-3 offspring had a lower tumor incidence rate of 13 percent. While this study is far from deﬁnitive, the results are provocative.
Prevention of Asthma
Children whose asthmatic mothers ate oily ﬁ sh during pregnancy were 71 percent less likely to develop asthma, according to research presented at the 2004 international conference of the American Thoracic Society. In contrast, the researchers also found that children whose mothers ate ﬁsh sticks during pregnancy were twice as likely to develop asthma. What gives? Fish sticks are deep-fried and contain omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inﬂ ammatory.
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Prevention of Allergies
Australian researchers examined the effect of ﬁ sh oil supplementation in 40 mothers-to-be on the immune response in their infants. The women all had a history of hay fever or asthma, making their children at increased risk of developing allergies. At one year of age, the children of mothers who took ﬁsh oil were 3 times less likely be sensitized to egg allergen and 10 times less likely to have severe atopic (allergic) disease.
While hypertension is unusual during childhood, studies have shown that blood pressure tracks from early childhood (and now the womb) into adulthood. In a recent animal study, omega-3 deﬁ ciency during pregnancy caused high blood pressure later in life, even if the offspring were subsequently rehabilitated with omega-3s. Early omega-3 deﬁciency, regardless of subsequent supply, resulted in hypertension.
A compelling study on children showed that blood pressure at age six was lower in those who as infants had been fed with a formula supplemented with omega-3s than in children fed formula without omega-3s.
If expectant moms eat enough omega-3 fats, it may prevent their babies from getting diabetes. The Norwegian Childhood Diabetes Study Group found that babies fed cod-liver oil during the ﬁ rst year of life had a 25 percent lower risk of type 1 diabetes. The researchers believe that omega-3 fats inﬂuence the genes that cause diabetes.
Breastfeeding and Nutrition in the First Year of Life
Breastfeeding offers many health beneﬁts, and some of these involve the role of omega-3 fats. In addition to containing nutrients that the baby needs, breast milk has disease-ﬁghting substances that are not found in formulas.
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Breastfed infants have a decreased incidence of many health conditions, including obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and asthma. Notably, many studies show that omega-3 fats have beneﬁts in all of these conditions.
Prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
DHA deﬁciency may be a link to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); infants who die from SIDS have much lower levels of DHA in their brains. These babies also have less mature nervous system function, in which DHA is critical. Any delay in developing mature brain cells could hamper arousal from sleep, which is believed to be an important survival mechanism likely impaired in SIDS.
Continued Brain-Boosting Beneﬁ ts
As brain development continues, DHA accrues in the brain until the baby is two years old. DHA plays a key role in synapse formation. The newborn has only about 1 percent of the synapses formed in the region of the brain responsible for thought, reasoning, and memory. Synapses are points where the neurons communicate with each other. They are like electrical outlets; the more you have, the more appliances you can plug in and operate. The number of synapses inﬂuences the plasticity of the young brain, so the more, the better.
Plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, is critical to brain development throughout life. Plasticity allows neurons to reorganize and grow based on our experiences (sensory, motor, and cognitive). Even in adulthood, our brains are capable of reorganizing in response to our experiences. Until the late 1990s, it was widely thought that from birth, our brain circuitry is wired and ﬁ xed for life. The discovery that brains continue to develop as neurons reorganize and grow is akin to learning that the earth is round, not ﬂ at.
A higher level of DHA in human milk is associated with better learning, memory, and visual and language development in breastfed infants. Here are examples:
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The DHA and Breast Milk Problem: Diet Still Matters
While no one would question the merits of breastfeeding, there is a problem. The amount of DHA in breast milk has dramatically declined in nearly every country over the last decade (see Table 6.1). A good example of this phenomenon is in Vancouver, Canada, where the DHA in breast milk has dropped by nearly 50 percent in just 15 years. Why? In a word, diet. What a woman eats is the single most important determinant of DHA content of her breast milk and, consequently, her baby’s diet.
Not Enough Omega-3s. Notably it’s the ﬁsh-eating countries that have the higher levels of DHA. Breast milk differs in DHA composition depending on the quantity and type of omega-3 food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s eaten, especially seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com).
Plant Versus Marine Omega-3s Make a Difference. The importance of the type of omega-3s eaten is illustrated in vegetarian moms, who
TABLE 6.1 DHA Content of Breast Milk by Country
% DHA of
SOURCE: Innis, S. M. “Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Human Milk.” Protecting Infants Through Human Milk (August 2004): 36.
have very little DHA in their breast milk. (DHA is found mainly in ﬁsh and some animal products, which are typically excluded in vegetarian diets.) One study showed that babies breastfed by their vegetarian moms had three times lower DHA blood levels than babies breastfed by nonvegetarian women. Even formula-fed babies fared better, as they had nearly twice the DHA levels of vegetarian moms’ babies. This is signiﬁcant because breast milk DHA levels are directly correlated with the baby’s DHA blood content and their nervous system development at one year of age.
While there are plant sources of omega-3 fats (alpha-linolenic acid, found in ﬂaxseed oil), its conversion to DHA is nil. Several studies of breastfeeding women who were supplemented with alpha-linolenic acid (the parent omega-3 fat) showed no increase in their DHA levels. (But take heart, vegetarians; there is a new plant-based DHA supplement, discussed in Chapter 12.)
DHA a Nutrient. Many experts believe that DHA warrants the status of an essential nutrient, because plant-based omega-3 fat (alpha
The Developing Brain 93 •
linolenic acid) does not sufﬁciently create DHA, especially in early life, where it’s critical for eye and brain development.
Too Much Omega-6, Trans Fat, and Saturated Fat. Eating too much omega-6 fat, saturated fat, or trans fat limits the DHA composition of breast milk. The omega-6 fat content of breast milk has substantially increased since the 1950s. Breast milk has also been found to contain manufactured trans fats, which may interfere with DHA and may hamper the baby’s brain and visual development. Trans fats have been shown to blunt postnatal growth in animal studies. (In spite of these problems, there is no question that breastfeeding is superior to formula feeding. Remember, breastfed babies have lower rates of infectious diseases, sudden death, diabetes, asthma, and obesity.)
Balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fats Affects the Developing Brain
Normal brain function depends on the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Without the proper balance, cognitive and behavioral changes may result, as we will explore in the next chapter.
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Omega-3 fats, especially DHA, play a critical role in the developing brain.
What Mom eats during and after pregnancy (if breastfeeding) affects the amount of omega-3 fat the baby receives, which impacts:
Omega-3 fats, especially DHA, play a key role in brain development. Low levels may:
Too much omega-6 fat in Mom’s diet may:
Omega-3s, the Brain, and Mood
t may be hard to fathom that one nutrient can play a role that ranges from mood regulation to managing borderline personality disorder, yet that’s what remarkable research shows. Promising studies on conditions ranging from depression to everyday stress show that omega-3 fats may be an effective treatment. The results have been so dramatic that sometimes just ﬁsh oil alone has been effective to regulate mood.
When you consider the pivotal role omega-3 fats play in normal brain function and development, it’s not a stretch to imagine the sweeping effects of omega-3s on mood and cognition. This chapter will explore how omega-3 fats affect brain function and their role in various mood disorders, stress, learning, and cognitive decline.
The Brain Connection
The decline of omega-3 fats in the Western diet parallels a large rise in psychiatric disorders over the past century. According to experts, the epidemic rise in depression alone is not attributed to better diag
• 96 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
nosis or a reduction in stigma. A recent review in the American Journal of Psychiatry compellingly points to omega-3 fat deﬁciency as a key contributor to mood disorders.
There is a strong connection between worldwide rates of depression and ﬁsh consumption (the major source of omega-3 fat intake). The lowest depression rate is found in the countries with the highest levels of ﬁsh consumption, such as Japan. Conversely, higher rates of
Annual apparent fish consumption (lbs. per person)
SOURCE: Reprinted with permission from Elvesier from the Lancet. For details see References under Hibbeln, 1998.
Why It’s Good to Have a Fat Head 97 •
tive disorder (SAD, a form of depression caused by low exposure to sunlight).
The Membrane Is the Brain
Your brain is 60 percent fat, and neurons have one of the highest concentrations of omega-3 fats. Anything that interferes with getting omega-3s into your body (inadequate diet or too much omega-6 fat) makes brain function especially vulnerable.
The human brain contains about 100 billion neurons—brain cells that carry messages through an electrochemical process. The brain cell membrane is the primary site of action for most of the brain’s vital functions.
The membrane is more than just a border encircling the brain cell; it acts as an air trafﬁ c controller, switchboard operator, ampliﬁer, receiver, and static stabilizer. The inner workings of the membrane are in continual ﬂux; a symphony of chemical communication occurs, affecting learning, attention, and mood.
Omega-3s in the Membrane. The cell membrane looks like two parallel layers of jellyﬁ sh packed together, with their dangling tentacle toes touching each other (see Figure 7.2). The “tentacles” are actually
SOURCE: National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), “The Cell Membrane,” NCNR website, ncnr.nist.gov/programs/reﬂ ect/rp/biology /cell_membrane.html, last modiﬁed March 18, 2003.
a pair of fatty acids, which include omega-3 fatty acids. This jellyﬁ shstyle arrangement of the membrane creates optimal ﬂuidity, which is very important for brain cell function.
Omega-3s Enhance Fluidity. You may not feel like a walking vessel of primordial ooze, but your brain cells work best this way. The brain cell membrane needs to be at optimal ﬂuidity for clear communication to take place, just as your blood works best when it is sludge free. Imagine having the choice to swim in water or quicksand; no doubt, the viscosity would greatly affect your performance. The same is true for brain cell function.
Optimal ﬂuidity is required for the electric signals within the cells and for chemicals to bind. For example, the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin, docks on the protein ports in the harbor of the brain cell membranes. If serotonin had to sludge through viscous membranes, its soothing effects would take longer to kick in.
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Your Brain Fluidity Is Affected by Your Diet
When ﬂuidity goes awry, so does optimal brain function. The presence of omega-3s keeps the membrane ﬂuid like a well-oiled hinge on a door. Anything that impedes omega-3s will affect the ﬂ uidity factor.
Omega-6 Fats Decrease Fluidity. If there are not enough omega-3 fats in your diet, the brain has no choice but to allow for an inferior substitution with an omega-6 fat, which does not work the same way. Therefore, the “tentacle” in the membrane that should be an omega-3 fat gets replaced with an omega-6 fat of similar size but inferior function. It’s like replacing a burnt-out 100-watt lightbulb with a 25-watt bulb. You still get light, but it’s a lot dimmer.
Saturated Fats Harden Brain Cells. Saturated fats are well known for hardening arteries, and they have a similar stiffening effect in our cell membranes. Therefore, their presence in the brain cell literally makes it harder to think.
Cholesterol Clogs Brain Cells. Cholesterol hardens the interior of brain cell membranes (not just arteries). Interestingly, omega-3 fats reduce the level of cholesterol in the brain cell’s membrane, enhancing ﬂuidity. While the competitor omega-6 fats, such as soybean oil, remove cholesterol from the arteries, they do not remove cholesterol from the interior of the cell membrane.
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A balance of omega-3 fat is essential for brain function. Researchers believe that many psychiatric disorders, from depression to schizophrenia, are a result of omega-3 fat deﬁciency. The nature and severity of symptoms are related to the magnitude of omega-3 fatty-acid deﬁciency (and related factors, such as too much omega-6 fat).
Mood Spectrum Disorders: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia
Mood disorders vary with the degree of symptoms, so they are best described on a continuum. Omega-3 fats are linked with each disorder. Many studies demonstrate the beneﬁts of omega-3s in a diverse range of psychiatric disorders.
The Depression Connection
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression will become the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020. The incidence of depression has increased nearly 20-fold since World War II. This rise in depression parallels the Western diet’s simultaneous decrease of omega-3 and increase of omega-6 fats. Notably, studies show that depressed patients have lower levels of omega-3s in their bodies. Some experts believe that the skew of too much omega-6 fat with too little omega-3s accounts for the decade-by-decade increase in major depressive disorders.
A recent study conducted over a two-year period found that both a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat and a low level of DHA in the blood predicted suicidal behavior in people with major depression.
Despite advances in medicine, a surprising number of people are not helped by antidepressant medications. The most widely prescribed class of antidepressant medication is the SSRIs (serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors), such as Prozac, Effexor, and Zoloft, but they reduce depressive symptoms by only 50 percent in less than half of patients who start them. There is clearly a need for more treatment options. But there is not much incentive for drug companies to
Why It’s Good to Have a Fat Head 101 •
fund research for a nonpatentable compound, such as the promising omega-3 fats. A recent review in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that omega-3 supplements signiﬁcantly improved depression in three out of four highly controlled studies.
Researchers believe that omega-3 fats, especially EPA, can help normalize brain cell structure and function in depressed patients. When someone is depressed, the brain actually shrinks and has difﬁculty making new neurons. EPA may lift depression by helping to form new neurons and connections.
One notable study by Malcolm Peet and David Horrobin recruited 70 clinically depressed patients who continued to have problems in spite of taking antidepressants. They divided the patients into four groups to explore the effects of different daily doses of EPA: one gram, two grams, four grams, and zero (placebo). They found clear beneﬁts at the lowest dose given, and three batteries of depression tests showed improvement in sleep, anxiety, depression, libido, and lassitude. The researchers noted that no drug study has shown such large improvements.
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Because of the mounting evidence that links cardiovascular disease and depression, the researchers suggested that depressed patients would beneﬁt from omega-3 supplementation for better mood and to prevent heart disease.
So far, depression studies show that the effective dose of omega-3s to improve symptoms ranges from one gram to two grams a day. DHA alone has not been shown to improve mood, while both EPA alone and ﬁsh oil (which contains both DHA and EPA) have shown improvement. While there is no established clinical dose of omega-3 fats for depression, the American Psychiatric Association recommends ﬁsh oil for all patients with mood disorders.
Postpartum Depression. Postpartum depression is associated with low intake of omega-3 fat, especially DHA. Both lower DHA content in breast milk and lower seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) consumption are linked with higher rates of postpartum depression in 23 different countries. Surprisingly, there are few treatment studies.
The ﬁ rst reported case of successful treatment was published in February 2003 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. A 34-year-old woman (24 weeks pregnant) had clinical depression, including suicidal thoughts. She refused antidepressant medication because of possible birth defects in her baby. As an alternative, she was given two grams of DHA with four grams of EPA, and by the fourth week of supplementation, her depression began to lift. By the sixth week, her thoughts of suicide disappeared altogether.
Kids Get Depressed, Too. An encouraging study on children ages 6 to 12 diagnosed with depression showed that omega-3 fat supplementation markedly reduced symptoms. By the end of the 16-week study, 40 percent of the kids taking the omega-3s no longer felt depressed. Not a single child in the placebo group had this relief.
Omega-3s and Bipolar Disorder
Arguably, the study that launched interest in mood and the omega3 connection was that led by Harvard psychiatrist Andrew Stoll. In 1999 his group published stunning results in the Archives of Gen
Why It’s Good to Have a Fat Head 103 •
eral Psychiatry, demonstrating that omega-3 fats were effective in the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder. This was a four-month double-blind study on 30 patients with unstable bipolar disorder. They took their prescribed medication and randomly received either placebo or ﬁsh oil supplements (6.2 grams EPA and 3.4 grams DHA). In nearly every outcome measure, the ﬁsh oil group performed better than the placebo group. The results were so strong that the trial was stopped at four months.
How do omega-3 fatty acids produce this effect? One theory is that bipolar disorder symptoms are caused by an excessive amount of omega-6 fats, which wreak havoc with brain metabolism. Omega-3 fats appear to work in the same way as many of the mood-stabilizing drugs (such as lithium), which prevent interference from arachidonic acid in the brain cells and improve their ability to function. But omega-3 fats go one step further by dampening the effects of inﬂammation in the brain. Excess inﬂammation has been found in both mania and depression.
Omega-3s and Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is one of the most severe mental illnesses, characterized by hallucinations, lack of drive, and loss of normal emotional responsiveness. As is the case with other mood disorders, schizophrenia is associated with alterations in the inﬂ ammation response. One theory (yet to be proven) is that schizophrenia may originate in the womb, when the baby is exposed to a low-grade infection. The infection is theorized to interfere with the omega-3 fats in the brain, which in turn damages neurons and triggers adult onset of schizophrenia. Notably, the gene that regulates omega-3 fat supply to the brain is located on the chromosome linked to the gene predisposing to schizophrenia.
Schizophrenic patients have higher rates of omega-3 fat destruction in their brain. Interestingly, Clozapine, the antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, appears to work in part by increasing DHA levels.
A scientiﬁc review of the effect of omega-3 supplementation and mental disorders (including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizo
• 104 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
phrenia) found that seven of eight double-blind clinical trials yielded positive results from utilizing EPA.
Omega-3s and Borderline Personality Disorder
Unstable moods are a problem in borderline personality disorder (BPD). Harvard researchers gave women with BPD either one gram of EPA per day or placebo for eight weeks. The EPA group showed marked improvement in aggression and depressive symptoms.
Omega-3 fats not only impact mood, but they also greatly affect stress, learning, and memory, which is discussed in the next chapter.
Why It’s Good to Have a Fat Head 105 •
While there is no established dose of omega-3 fats for treating mood disorders, studies indicate:
Excess omega-6 fats have a negative impact on brain function:
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The Ultimate Chill Pill
Omega-3s’ Impact on Stress, Learning, and Memory
veryone experiences stress, but we don’t always handle it well. As this chapter explains, ongoing stress not only makes us feel bad, it can damage our health and our ability to learn and remember information. Fortunately, nature has provided us with a dietary “chill pill” in the form of—you guessed it—omega-3 fats.
The Stress Response
We may pedal along more smoothly in life and feel mighty ﬁ ne while doing so, provided the right oil lubes the inner cogs of our brain. At least that’s true according to intriguing studies on stress.
The stress response exerts powerful chemical effects throughout the body to help you survive danger. When you encounter a stressor, your blood pressure increases, your heart pumps quicker, you breathe faster, and you become hyper-alert, instantly ready to ﬁght or ﬂ ee the enemy. When you’re stuck in trafﬁc, you’re not in imminent danger, but the body’s stress response is nonetheless the same. Chemically, your body is geared up for a life-threatening ﬁ ght—even if it’s only
• 108 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
battling bumper-to-bumper trafﬁc. The stress response serves you well in an emergency, but it can lead to a host of health problems when chronically activated.
Under Pressure: Your Brain and the Stress Response
When you are stressed out, you likely do not feel your brain cells furling up and closing for business, but in essence that’s what occurs. When stress chemicals remain active for too long, they injure and even kill some of your brain cells. They disrupt communication between neurons, slow the formation of new neurons, cause brain cells to age faster, and weaken the blood-brain barrier, which ordinarily prevents toxins from entering the brain.
These changes make our lives more difﬁcult. You might recognize the stress effect on your brain in the form of learning and memory problems. For some people, the stress response can translate into hostile and aggressive behaviors, because the hyper-vigilant and aroused state triggered by the stress response makes it easier to be provoked. Let’s take a closer look.
Memory and Learning. Have you ever noticed how your memory dwindles when you’re feeling stressed? Too much cortisol, a hormone triggered by stress, can prevent the brain from storing new ideas and retrieving long-term memories, so it becomes difﬁcult to think and remember. That’s why people can get confused in a crisis. Stress also interferes with the chemicals that neurons use to communicate with each other and that enable you to think.
Cortisol damages the area of the brain critical for learning and memory—the hippocampus. Deterioration in this brain region is linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain Degeneration. Studies by Robert M. Sapolsky at Stanford University demonstrated that lots of stress or exposure to cortisol accelerates the degeneration of the aging hippocampus. It’s a double whammy, because this part of the brain helps turn off cortisol production. During stress, a degenerated hippocampus functions like a
The Ultimate Chill Pill 109 •
car zooming downhill without brakes; the accelerating production of cortisol further impairs memory and cognition.
Inﬂammation in the Brain. Stress increases the production of the most damaging inﬂammatory compound found in the brain, interleukin1B, which causes cognitive problems. Consequently, this “brain-itis” results in anxiety, problems with learning and memory, an increase in the production of a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and perpetuation of the cycle of stress.
Omega-3s Put the Brakes on Stress
Omega-3 fats protect against the damaging effects of stress. Conversely, if your diet is low in omega-3 fats and high in omega-6 fats, cognition problems are ampliﬁed when you’re stressed out:
Omega-3 Fats Act like Aspirin (COX Inhibitors). Recall from Chapter 4 that omega-3 fats inhibit production of the COX enzyme, which induces inﬂammation. When the COX enzyme is inhibited, it prevents the response to pain and the inﬂammation caused by the
• 110 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
onslaught of stress hormones, including brain inﬂ ammation associated with cognitive problems. COX inhibitors have shown beneﬁ cial effects on cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative diseases.
Omega-3s Lower Stress Hormones in Stressed-Out Students. Several well-designed studies on stressed-out students during peak academic time demonstrated that ﬁsh oil or DHA supplements reduce the ﬂ ood of chemicals triggered by stress.
Omega-3s Lower Stress-Response Chemicals and Aid Learning. In an animal study, omega-3 fats not only reduced the stress response (by lowering cortisol), but also protected the rats in the study from cortisol’s damaging effects on learning, as measured by performance on a maze test.
Omega-3s Ameliorate Stress Response Triggered by Anger and Aggression
In 1942 Dr. Hugh Sinclair persuaded the British government to supplement the diet of all children with cod-liver oil, a signiﬁ cant source of omega-3 fats. Sinclair speculated that poor diets could lead to antisocial behavior. His speculation has since been validated by many studies.
Researchers became interested in the hostility-aggression link because it’s a component of the type A personality, a risk factor for heart disease. Some researchers believe that one of the reasons omega-3 fats prevent heart disease may be that it can lessen hostility.
Stress-related feelings, notably hostility and anger, trigger the release of stress hormones into the bloodstream, amplifying aggressive behaviors. Stress hormones constrict arteries; increase heartbeat, blood pressure, and the tendency for blood clotting; and elevate sugar and fats in your blood. The net result is an increased risk of heart disease.
The observation studies on extreme hostility are fascinating. For instance, in a 26-country study, higher rates of homicide are associated with lower rates of ﬁsh consumption. Violent men with antiso
The Ultimate Chill Pill 111 •
cial personality were found to have lower blood levels of DHA and higher levels of omega-6 fats.
Double-blind studies on diverse groups of people, including school-age children, university students, medical students, elderly persons, and even prisoners, show that DHA supplementation markedly lowers aggression and hostility caused by stress. For example, researchers from Japan gave university students either a DHA supplement or a placebo during a stressful period. The students without DHA had a 58 percent increase in stress-induced hostility, while the DHA group had no increase in hostile behaviors.
Omega-3 Fats and Learning Disorders
Even if you are not under stress, omega-3 fats play a remarkable role in learning. Research on children and young animals shows that a deﬁciency in omega-3 fats triggers learning and memory impairment, which can be reversed by omega-3 supplementation. Symptoms of omega-3 deﬁciency parallel some of the cognition problems in learning disorders, including disturbances of perception, attention, and behavior.
What Research Tells Us About Omega-3s and Learning
A highly controlled study published in the May 2005 issue of the journal Pediatrics demonstrated impressive beneﬁ ts of omega-3 fats on literacy skills and behavior.
ABCs and Omega-3s: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
During a three-month period, a team of University of Oxford researchers gave an omega-3 fat supplement to school-age children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia. The supplemented group experienced marked improvement in reading, spelling, and behavior compared with the placebo group. Notably, the children who received the omega-3 supplement made three times the expected normal gain in reading age and twice
• 112 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
the normal gain in spelling age, bringing their average scores toward normal values.
Omega-3s and ADHD
While fatty-acid deﬁciency is associated with attention deﬁ cit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), two double-blind studies showed no beneﬁt of DHA supplementation on ADHD children. There was, however, a signiﬁcant lowering of aggression in a study on ADHD using DHA-fortiﬁ ed food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s.
As of yet, there are no supplementation studies on adults with ADHD, but a recent study found that adults with ADHD have low blood levels of omega-3 fats.
Interestingly, about 75 percent of adults with ADHD also have other disorders that are associated with a deﬁciency in omega-3 fats, including depression and dyslexia.
Omega-3s and Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes difﬁ culty with reading and writing despite the individual having a normal intellect. Omega3s offer hope in this area of learning. A study on 102 dyslexic children, ages 8 to 12 years, showed that omega-3 supplementation improved reading skills relative to the placebo group.
Omega-3s and Autism
Researchers have just scratched the surface on the effects of omega-3 fats on autism. A case report published in the 2003 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that an 11-year-old autistic boy treated with three grams of ﬁsh oil daily had notable improvement, whereas medications had failed.
A small but promising study of autistic children found that they had high blood levels of omega-6 fats and lower blood levels of omega-3 fats, particularly EPA. The autistic children were supplemented with EPA-rich ﬁsh oil (about 215 milligrams of EPA and 75 milligrams of DHA) for six months. Parents reported improvements in cognitive skills, sleep patterns, eye contact, and sociability, as well as reductions in irritability, aggression, and hyperactivity.
The Ultimate Chill Pill 113 •
Omega-3s as the Cerebral Fountain of Youth
The effects of aging on brain function include a decreased ability to make DHA. And a low blood level of DHA is a signiﬁ cant risk factor for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. In a remarkable study, Scottish children born in 1921 and 1936 were followed through age 64. Researchers compared their cognition at the age of 64 with mental-ability test scores from the same subjects at the age of 11 years. Omega-3 fats, especially the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in their blood, played a role in the retention of cognitive function in late life, independent of childhood IQ.
In 2005 the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published a critical review of the impact of omega-3 fats on dementia. According to that report, omega-3 fat consumption, especially DHA, was associated with a signiﬁcant reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Rusty Thinking: A High Ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s Impairs Cognition
Omega-6 fats are implicated as a contributing factor in age-related cognitive disturbances and Alzheimer’s disease. A study comparing cognition scores over a three-year period in two groups of men, aged 69 to 89 years, found that those who ate a diet high in omega-6 fats experienced more cognitive decline. Conversely, high ﬁ sh consumption was protective against impairment.
Fish: The Antidote to Rusty Thinking
The research on the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats—including their food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)-rich source, ﬁ sh—is remarkable:
• 114 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
vides protection against cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
• Speedier thinking. Higher seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) consumption is linked to faster brain processing speed. Slowed brain processing is one of the early pre-clinical signs of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2004, a study involving nearly 1,600 men and women explored the role of omega-3 fats in the middle-aged brain. Eating marine sources of omega-3 fats was found to be associated with less cognitive impairment and better brain processing speed.
How Omega-3s May Prevent Cognitive Decline
Omega-3 fats may help prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in many ways. For example, they may turn on genes that keep our brain optimized and keep the brain’s cell membranes supple. A recent discovery by Louisiana State University researchers is promising. They found that DHA may protect the brain from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. DHA creates a compound called neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), which promotes brain cell survival and reduces inﬂ ammation. Notably, relative to healthy adults, Alzheimer’s patients have about ¹⁄₂₅ of the protective NPD1 in the brain region critical to memory and cognition. NPD1 also appears to prevent accumulation of a toxin called beta amyloid, which is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega-3 fats play an amazing role in protecting the brain from the ravages of stress and inﬂammation, which impacts hostility, learning, and aging. Unbelievably, these fats may offer more beneﬁ ts from preventing obesity to acquiring better skin, as you will see in the next chapter.
The Ultimate Chill Pill 115 •
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On the Horizon
merging studies of omega-3 fats show promise in a variety of health matters, such as preventing obesity, slowing vision loss, improving insulin resistance, alleviating PMS symptoms, and reducing the risk of cancer. This chapter will explore these promising roles.
Will Omega-3 Fats Prevent Obesity?
A striking body of research indicates that omega-3 fats may help prevent obesity, while omega-6 fats amplify the problem. Keep in mind that obesity is complicated, with many causes and variables. No supplement will offset overeating and inactivity, nor do I want to give the impression that omega-3 fats are a magic bullet for this complex issue.
Omega-6 Fats Trigger Fat Making
The rise in obesity over the last decades is not due to genetics, because it has occurred in too short of a period. A team of French scientists
• 118 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
recently reviewed globe-spanning research, leaving no mechanism or relevant study unexplored, including food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) consumption and obesity trends over the past 40 years. They concluded that omega-6 fats are a “remarkable booster of adipogenesis,” meaning the creation of fat. The researchers predict that a disproportionate amount of omega-6 fat in the diet, in conjunction with sedentary lifestyles, will inevitably lead to an increase in the prevalence in obesity worldwide.
So far, animal studies indicate that the omega-6 factor is quite signiﬁcant. Animals get fatter eating the same number of calories when fed diets high in omega-6 fats. Even farm-fed salmon get fatter on diets that are higher in omega-6 fats. Exercising did not offset the effects of a diet high in omega-6; the animals still deposited more fat on their bodies! Why would this occur? Omega-6 fats make the eicosanoid prostacyclin, which triggers the cells to make fat, and inﬂ ammation perpetuates this cycle. Also, omega-6 fats increase insulin resistance, which makes losing weight more difﬁ cult.
Omega-3 Fats Turn Off Fat Making
Studies spanning more than 15 years show ways in which omega-3 fats may help prevent obesity:
Fish Oil Decreases Body Fat and Increases Metabolism. In a small study from France, healthy adults took six grams of ﬁ sh oil daily, and they experienced a signiﬁcant loss of body fat accompanied by an increased metabolic rate without changing their caloric intake! These results are consistent with animal studies in which ﬁ sh oil lowered body fat while keeping calories constant.
On the Horizon 119 •
Omega-3 Fats Increase Insulin Effectiveness
Insulin resistance is a growing health problem worldwide. When left unchecked, insulin resistance leads to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Many researchers believe that the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is a prime factor in developing insulin resistance. A breakthrough study in the late 1980s averted insulin resistance by replacing high levels of omega-6 fat in the diet with omega-3 fats. In fact, diets high in omega-3 fats and low in omega-6 fats help keep insulin at normal levels.
Omega-3 Fats and Diabetes
The American Pima Indians are well known in research circles for their unusually high rates of obesity and diabetes. Scientists discovered that their muscles are much lower in long-chain omega-3 fats. This is important—the more omega-3s in your muscle cells, the better your insulin works.
The Alaska Siberia Medical Research Program discovered one reason for the alarming rise in diabetes among Alaskan Eskimos: they are eating less of their traditional marine diet, which is high in omega-3s and low in saturated fats. In a promising diabetes prevention study on Alaskan Eskimos with impaired blood sugars, participants resumed their traditional diet for four years. Only one of them developed diabetes, while 60 percent improved their blood sugar levels. They also had better blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. The researchers attributed the results largely to eating more omega-3s.
Mounting evidence on the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats prompted the American Diabetes Association to recommend eating two to three ﬁsh servings per week.
Omega-3s and Clear Skin
Acne affects 79 to 95 percent of adolescents in the United States, with a signiﬁcant prevalence in children and adults, too. There have been
• 120 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
clues that acne is nonexistent in non-industrialized cultures. Notably, when indigenous people make the transition to modern life, acne pops up at incidence rates similar to those of Westerners.
Loren Cordain of Colorado State University discovered holes in the widely accepted belief among dermatologists that there is no connection between diet and acne. Her research team traveled the globe to remote regions to conﬁrm her theory that acne is a phenomenon of Western and Westernized cultures.
In Search of a Pimple
Cordain’s group evaluated two such cultures: the native inhabitants of the Kitavan Islands in Papua New Guinea and the Ache population in eastern Paraguay. Both cultures are incredibly healthy; death from heart disease and stroke is extremely rare. All inhabitants were assessed using many health parameters, including a skin evaluation. Upon examination, not a single pimple or blackhead could be found in either population! The researchers concluded that the astonishing difference in acne rates between these cultures and industrialized societies cannot be solely attributed to genetic differences, but likely arises from differing environmental factors, including diet.
Dermatology Dogma Challenged: The Diet-Acne Hypothesis
Cordain believes that diet is a contributing factor to acne, especially because inﬂammation of the skin occurs in acne development. Recall that omega-3 and omega-6 fats play a key role in modulating inﬂ ammation. Notably, a recent study showed that a LOX-blocker medication led to a 70 percent reduction in inﬂammatory acne lesions. Other research shows that diet-induced insulin resistance may amplify the oil production and development of acne. Interestingly, patients with a medical condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a prominent feature of insulin resistance and acne. When these patients are treated with medications to improve insulin metabolism, their acne improves.
Also, EPA has been show to improve symptoms in inﬂ ammatory skin diseases, with improvement in itching, scaling, and patchy rashes. (Patchy rashes are one of the cardinal signs of inﬂ ammation,
On the Horizon 121 •
characterized by an abnormal redness of the skin, which is caused by congestion in the small blood vessels.)
The diet-acne hypothesis is fascinating, but studies are needed to prove cause and effect.
Omega-3s Dampen Pain in Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
The prevalence of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is estimated to range from 20 to 90 percent, and it is the leading cause of recurrent missed school days in teenage girls in the United States. The pain and discomfort of PMS is from an inﬂammation response. Before menstruation, omega-6 fats are released from the cells and initiate a cascade of inﬂammatory eicosanoids (prostaglandins and leukotrienes). The omega-6 eicosanoid assault causes constriction of blood vessels and contractions of the cells in the uterus, which leads to the pain of menstrual cramps. The leukotrienes play an important part in generating the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, bloating, and headaches.
According to a 2005 American Family Physician review on PMS, the best-established initial treatment is the use of nonsteroidal antiinﬂammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. Recall from Chapter 4 that NSAIDs work by blocking the effects of omega-6 fat, by inhibiting COX enzymes, but they have no effect on LOX enzymes. Omega-3 fats found in ﬁsh oil block both the inﬂammatory COX and LOX enzymes.
Fish Oil Eases Menstrual Cramps
In spite of omega-3 fats’ known ability to alleviate inﬂ ammation, there are surprisingly few studies of their impact on PMS. The studies, though small, consistently show beneﬁts with omega-3 fats.
In one study, researchers gave half of 42 teens ﬁsh oil for two months followed by placebo, and the other half of the girls received the same supplementation regime, but in the opposite order. (This is a crossover design, which makes the results more signiﬁ cant.) There was a marked reduction PMS in all groups taking ﬁsh oil compared with placebo.
• 122 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
A diet high in omega-6 fats might worsen the PMS cycle because of its role in inﬂammation. A 1995 Dutch study indicated that a diet high in omega-6 fats was associated with more PMS symptoms. (Keep in mind that the popular over-the-counter PMS pain reliever Midol works by blocking the effects of excess omega-6 fat eicosanoids.)
Omega-3 Fats Dramatically Slow Decline in Eyesight
The long-chain omega-3 fat DHA is required for optimal vision and is highly concentrated in the retina. Eating ﬁsh is protective against the risk of developing many eye disorders, while vision problems are associated with low DHA blood levels.
Omega-3 Fats Prolong Vision in Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disorder that leads to progressive vision loss. Many of those afﬂicted will be legally blind by the age of
40. While there is no cure for this malady, DHA was discovered to play a key role in preventing vision deterioration. Compelling results from a four-year study by a Harvard-led research team, published in 2004, show some encouraging beneﬁ ts:
These results were so extraordinary that the researchers issued an advisory letter to physicians recommending a protocol of 1,200 milligrams of DHA supplementation for the ﬁrst two years of treatment.¹
1. This advisory letter can be found on the Foundation Fighting Blindness website: blindness .org/disease/treatment_detail.asp?type=3&id=17.
On the Horizon 123 •
Omega-3 Fats Decrease the Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment and blindness in the United States and other developed countries. There are not many studies, but there appears to be a protective relationship between omega-3 fats and risk for AMD, if the diet is low in omega-6 fat. But a diet high in omega-6 fats increases the risk for this disorder.
Omega-3 Fats Are Protective for Dry-Eye Syndrome
Dry-eye syndrome affects 10 million Americans and commonly leads to problems in reading, using a computer, and driving at night. A recent study found that women who ate a diet higher in omega-3 fats had a much lower prevalence of this disorder. In contrast, a high proportion of dietary omega-6 fats was associated with greater prevalence of dry-eye syndrome—more than double the lower rate.
Contrary to popular belief, cataracts are not part of “normal aging.” Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. Researchers estimate that if cataract development could be delayed by 10 years, it would reduce surgeries by a whopping 50 percent. Encouraging results from the Nurses’ Health Study indicate that eating greater amounts of omega-3 fats and ﬁsh lowers the risk of cataract development.
Preventing, Fighting, and Treating Cancer
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 85, and it affects nearly every organ in the body. A substantial body of research shows that omega-3 fats not only may prevent cancer, but also may improve the survival rate of patients who already have cancer. In fact, promising animal studies show that omega-3 fats can slow the growth of cancer and increase the beneﬁcial affects of che
• 124 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
motherapy while reducing side effects. The cancers most responsive to the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats are hormone-sensitive cancers including breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Yet there are some conﬂ icting results, many of which are attributed to the scientists not controlling for the amount of omega-6 fat in the diet.
How Omega-3 Fats May Prevent or Slow Cancer in Patients
Here are ways that omega-3 fats may impede cancer (notably, they relate to the interplay with omega-6 fat eicosanoids):
On the Horizon 125 •
Lipidome Theory: Balanced Omega Fats Are the Likely Key to Cancer Prevention
Many researchers believe that the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, not one particular fat, affects the development of cancer. Many studies indicate that to reduce the risk of cancer, you need to reduce the proportion of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 fats, achieving a ratio somewhere in the range of 1-to-1 to 2-to-1.
That’s a dramatic departure from the current Western diet—but it can be done. The chapters in Part 3 will show you how to get started.
• 126 Omega-3 Fats and the Prevention of Diseases
Omega-3 fats provide relief for PMS.
Vision disorders are improved with omega-3 fats.
The balance between dietary omega-6 and omega-3 fats is critical to cancer prevention.
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any of my health-conscious patients have thought they were eating enough omega-3 fats, only to learn, to their dismay, that they were wrong. More often than not, they were eating only one type of omega-3 fat, meaning they weren’t getting enough omega-3 fats overall, which indeed is a problem. It can be confusing to sort out which omega-3 fats really matter.
Lumping all of the omega-3 fats together as one entity in your diet is the equivalent of assuming that you eat enough of the fat-soluble vitamins if you eat primarily vitamin A–rich food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s while ignoring the three other fat-soluble vitamins, D, E, and K, which come from completely different food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s. Similarly, the omega-3 fats have signiﬁ cant differences.
Recall that there are three key omega-3 fats: the plant-based ALA and the long-chain EPA and DHA, which are marine-based. The parent omega-3, ALA, is not the same as the ﬁsh-based omega-3s. If you focus on eating only ALA (for example, ﬂaxseed oil), you will likely be deﬁcient in EPA and DHA, which are the most important omega-3s. In this chapter you will learn how much of the short-chain omega-3 fat, ALA, you need and where to ﬁnd it in your diet.
• 130 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
ALA: The Short-Chain Omega-3 Fat
ALA is considered the essential omega-3, and it’s actually not difﬁcult to get enough of this particular fat. Surprised? That’s because ALA is found even in oils that are dominated by omega-6 fats, such as soybean oil. But the ALA in soybean oil is outnumbered by nearly eight times as much of the omega-6 fat linoleic acid. (This is also the reason you will sometimes read that soybean oil is a good source of ALA in the American diet. It’s true, but the nutritional price is too high because of the level of omega-6 fat also found in it.) You need to take care in choosing food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s containing omega-3 fats, because you don’t want to simultaneously ﬂood your body with omega-6 fats.
How Much ALA Do You Need?
You need to get at least 2,200 milligrams (2.2 grams) of ALA a day in your diet. If you don’t eat ﬁsh, you will need more.
Common Plant-Based Sources of ALA
ALA is found primarily in plant food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, including dark green leafy vegetables, beans, certain oils, and ﬂax and its related products (such as ﬂaxseed oil and ﬂax meal). However, these food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s do not contain the other important omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. The food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s described in the following list can be found in most grocery stores and are summarized in Table 10.1:
• Flax meal and ﬂ axseed oil. Not only are ﬂax food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s an excellent source of ALA, but ﬂax is also very low in omega-6 fats. Unlike any other common vegetable oil, ﬂaxseed oil contains more omega-3s than omega-6 fats. That’s why ﬂax is an especially stellar omega-3 fat food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com). Ground ﬂ axseed, or ﬂ ax meal, is an excellent source of omega-3 fats. A rounded teaspoonful will meet 100 percent of your ALA needs for the day. A notable cold cereal that has been around since long before the omega-3 excitement is Uncle Sam, which is an excellent source of ALA. One cup of this cereal provides more than 100 percent of your ALA needs for the day.
Kidney beans, cooked Black-eyed peas, cooked Navy beans, cooked Pinto beans, canned, cooked
Flax meal Kashi Go Lean Crunch Uncle Sam cereal
Blueberries Raspberries, fresh
OILS AND SPREADS
Canola oil Best food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s Canola Real Mayonnaise Canola oil margarine Flaxseed oil Mustard oil
Broccoli ﬂorets, fresh Grape leaves, canned Romaine lettuce, chopped Spinach, cooked
• 132 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
Get Enough Short-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 133 •
• 134 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
Novel Sources of ALA
Some new food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are wonderful sources of ALA and low in omega-6 fat. Many of the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s listed here can be found at health food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) stores or can be ordered online or by mail. Others are still in the market research phase, so they aren’t yet widely available. Their ALA content is summarized in Table 10.3. Look for any of these new products:
Blueberry oil (1 teaspoon) Boysenberry oil (1 teaspoon) 943 3:1 Cranberry oil (1 teaspoon) 1,071 2:1 Marionberry oil (1 teaspoon) 764 4:1 Red raspberry oil (1 teaspoon) 1,566 2:1
SEEDS AND NUTS
Butternuts (2 tablespoons) 2,470 4:1 Chia seeds (2 tablespoons) 4,980 �1:1
HEMP food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)S
Hemp seed nut butter (2 tablespoons) 2,000 3:1 Hemp ﬂour (2 tablespoons) 600 3:1 Hemp seed oil (1 teaspoon) 833 3:1 Hemp seed nuts (2 tablespoons) 2,000 3:1 Hemp protein powder (1 ounce) 1,200 2.8 Perilla oil (1 teaspoon) 3,045 �1:1 Purslane (1 cup raw) 172 �1:1
SOURCES: For details, see References under Okuyuma, Parry, Parker, Simopoulos, and USDA.
136). While hemp is related to the marijuana plant, it is not the same thing. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species, Cannabis sativa L, but due to the similar leaf shape, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana. Although both plants are from the same species, hemp contains virtually no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The fruit of hemp is not a true seed, but a
• 136 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
tiny nut covered by a hard shell. Hemp use for food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s is becoming mainstream, including hemp nut butter, hemp oil, hemp ﬂ our, and hemp cereal. These products can be found at Trader Joe’s, Whole food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s Market, and in the health food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) aisle in grocery stores.
Get Enough Short-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 137 •
vulnerable to the disease butternut canker, which has wiped out 80 percent of the butternut trees in some eastern states. Fortunately, more than a dozen different kinds of butternut trees are ﬂourishing in Oregon under the protection the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As this chapter has shown, there are several easy ways to get enough ALA in your diet. But regardless of how much ALA you eat, you cannot rely on it to make adequate amounts of the long-chain omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. You can be deﬁcient in EPA and DHA even while eating large amounts of ALA-rich food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, such as ﬂ ax. The next chapter explores how much of the long-chain omega-3 fats you need and what to do if you are a vegetarian or if you don’t like or choose to eat ﬁsh, the main source of these omega-3s.
• 138 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
PA and DHA are vitally important nutrients that are critical to health, but sadly, the average American consumes only 9 to 15 percent of the levels recommended for health. It’s even worse for vegetarians and others who don’t eat ﬁ sh.
If, like most people, you’re not getting enough long-chain omega-3 fats, it’s important to seek out ways to get enough in your diet, whether by eating more seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) and omega-enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s or by taking a supplement (or any combination of these). In this chapter you will learn how much EPA and DHA you need and how to get them in your diet. You’ll discover how to make the best of your ﬁ sh choices (if you are willing) and what to do if you shun ﬁsh or are vegetarian. You will also learn how a loophole in the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)-labeling law makes it especially confusing to determine whether a food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) is a good source of omega-3 fat.
How Much EPA and DHA Do You Need?
You need to get at least a combined total of 650 milligrams (less than 1 gram) of long-chain omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) a day in your diet. Of this combined total, you need at least 220 milligrams each of
• 140 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
EPA and DHA. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the minimum DHA requirement increases to 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, the total requirement for long-chain omega-3 fats is nearly doubled to 1,000 milligrams. The requirements are summarized in Table 11.1.
Most experts agree that you cannot depend on ALA, the omega-3 fat in plant food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, to create enough EPA or DHA in your body. It just doesn’t happen reliably, and when it does, the levels are quite small. For example, one study showed that if you ate 1,000 milligrams of ALA, only a minuscule amount of long-chain omega-3s is created—just 27 milligrams. Since the average American eats 1,300 to 1,700 milligrams of ALA, this means, at best, your body will make 35 to 46 milligrams of long-chain omega-3 fats, less than 1 percent of your needs for EPA and DHA. Also, when you factor in that the typical American diet is too high in omega-6 fats, it is even less likely that ALA will be made into the long-chain omega-3s in your body.
That’s why if you rely only on eating ﬂax and other plant sources
DHA 220 (minimum) 300 Not speciﬁed
Total long-chain 650 650 1,000 (DHA � EPA)
SOURCE: Based on the 2000 international recommendations made by the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL), described in detail in Chapter 3.
Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 141 • • 142 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Sources of Long-Chain Omega-3s
The major dietary source of EPA and DHA is seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com), but these long-chain omega-3s can also be found in lean red meat, organ meats such as liver and brain, and eggs. Very small amounts are also found in dairy products, and EPA is found in small amounts in seaweed and purslane (described in the last chapter).
If you don’t eat ﬁsh, you will need to ﬁ nd other options, or else you will not eat enough long-chain omega-3 fats. There are ways around this issue, however. First, let’s look at ﬁsh and its surrounding issues, as it’s not so straightforward even if you enjoy it. Then we’ll look at enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, a promising yet perplexing new way of getting more omega-3s into our diet.
The Seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Chain
While ﬁsh are great sources of long-chain omega-3 fats, they, like humans, are not adept at making them. Surprised? EPA and DHA are accumulated up the aquatic food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) chain (big ﬁsh eats little ﬁ sh), so it’s not that ﬁsh are inherently high in omega-3 fats.
What a ﬁsh eats will determine its ﬂesh content of EPA and DHA. In the ocean, algae or phytoplankton make the omega-3 fat ALA. The small sea critters (zooplankton) eat the algae and elongate its ALA into the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Consequently, ﬁsh acquire EPA and DHA directly by eating the plankton (or by eating other ﬁsh that have eaten those microbes).
The good news is that several ﬁsh are rich sources of long-chain omega-3 fats. See Table 11.2 for a list of these sources.
If you eat four fatty-ﬁsh-based meals each week (including salmon, halibut, or sardines), you will meet the current international recommendations for long-chain omega-3 fats (650 milligrams a day).
The Fish Dish: Is It Safe to Eat?
Despite their valuable omega-3 fat and nutritious qualities, ﬁ sh can pose health risks when contaminated with heavy metals such as mercury and industrial chemicals such as dioxin. This problem is not limited to oceans, rivers, and lakes. It’s also an issue of farm-raised
TABLE 11.2 Rich Sources of Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats (EPA and DHA)
You need at least 650 milligrams of the long-chain omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) each day. Of this, at least 200 milligrams each of EPA and DHA need to be eaten.
Anchovies, European, canned with oil, drained
Bass Sea, mixed species Striped
Geﬁ lte ﬁ sh
Halibut Atlantic/Paciﬁ c Greenland
Mackerel Atlantic King Paciﬁ c and Jack Spanish
Sableﬁ sh Fillet Smoked
Salmon Atlantic, farmed Atlantic, wild Chinook Chinook, smoked
430 150 560 250
590 350 860 160 1,100
590 190 1,020 810
1,220 620 230 1,750
340 1,580 1,060
1,830 1,570 1,480 390
Sockeye, with bone, canned
Mackerel, Paciﬁc and Jack
White, canned in water, drained
Whiteﬁsh, mixed species
Wolfﬁ sh, Atlantic 350 340 310 460 450 480
430 860 240
220 280 400 180
310 300 560 200
330 740 560 590 640 600 750
790 800 760
580 700 440 230
970 950 1,020 530
1,090 900 900
1,100 1,050 1,230
1,220 1,660 1,000
800 980 840 410
1,280 1,250 1,580 730
SOURCE: USDA Nutrient Database, nal.usda.gov/fnic/food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)comp/search.
Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 145 •
ﬁsh. But if you choose carefully, the beneﬁts of eating ﬁsh far outweigh the health risks.
Salmon Savvy: Problems on the Farm. Over half of the salmon sold globally is farm-raised. In fact, during the past 20 years, the output of farmed salmon has risen from about 24,000 to over 1 million metric tons! This may seem like good news because more salmon is available to eat, but that isn’t necessarily so. Recently, researchers have discovered problems with farmed salmon.
One recent study evaluated farmed versus wild salmon from around the world. Researchers collected salmon totaling two metric tons, which included Atlantic salmon from 51 farms in six countries, 135 wild Paciﬁc salmon, and farmed salmon purchased from 16 cities throughout North America and Europe. The research team found several problems with farmed salmon:
SOURCE: Foran, J. A., et al. “Quantitative Analysis of the Beneﬁts and Risks of Consuming Farmed and Wild Salmon.” Journal of Nutrition 135 (2005): 2639–43.
are really no different from cattle when it comes to diet. What the animals eat will ultimately become an integral part of their ﬂ esh. Farmed salmon eat a diet higher in omega-6 fat, so that’s what ends up in their ﬂ esh.
Beneﬁts Beyond the Risks. While this information may be distressing, the research team analyzed the beneﬁts and risks of eating farmed salmon compared with wild salmon and had encouraging conclusions. Eating wild salmon was considered 900 times more beneﬁcial relative to any adverse health risk. But even the farmed salmon, with its inherent problems, had 300 times greater beneﬁ t than health risk.
Not all ﬁsh farming is adverse to your health or the environment. Farmed mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels, bay scallops) are one of the least ecologically harmful forms of aquaculture. They require no feed, since they strain their food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) (plankton) out of the water. Their way of feeding helps ﬁlter the water and in some cases improves the water quality.
Tackling the Mercury Dilemma. The health risk from consuming mercury depends on the amount of seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) eaten and its level of mercury. Mercury occurs naturally in the environment, but it also ﬁ nds its way into streams and the ocean through industrial pollution. The bacteria in the ocean convert mercury into a more toxic
Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 147 •
form, methylmercury, which ﬁsh accumulate through eating and by the water passing through their gills. Generally, larger predatory ﬁ sh that live longer have more time to accumulate mercury than small and younger ﬁsh. Mercury and all its compounds are toxic to virtu
• 148 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
ally all forms of life, especially to the brain and nervous system of unborn babies and young children.
FDA/EPA Safe-Seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Recommendations. The food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidelines to help consumers reap the beneﬁ ts of eating seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) while minimizing exposure to mercury. While the guidelines are aimed at pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children, it makes sense for most people to follow them, with the exception of limiting your ﬁsh to 12 ounces per week. After all, if the goal is to eat more ﬁ sh, it seems prudent to limit your risk of mercury exposure. While your body has ways to get rid of mercury naturally, it may take over a year for the levels to drop signiﬁ cantly.
Here are the recommendations by the FDA and EPA:
Making the Most of Your Fish Choices. Fish high in omega-3s that are caught or farmed in an ecologically sound manner and are low in
Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 149 •
contaminants include wild salmon from Alaska (fresh, frozen, and canned), Atlantic mackerel, herring, sardines, sableﬁ sh, anchovies, and farmed oysters. Here’s what to consider when choosing ﬁ sh for a meal:
• Look for the Environmental Defense Fund’s good “eco-choices,” which are recommendations for ﬁsh that are healthy choices for both the oceans and you, being safe to eat as well as not endangered. Table 11.5 is adapted from OceansAlive.org, an ocean protection group sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund. At their website, you can download this information (free) in a pocket-sized format.
Meat, Poultry, and Eggs
Meat can be a signiﬁcant source of long-chain omega-3 fats. Unfortunately, U.S. domestic meats (beef, chicken, pork, and turkey) contain very small or undetectable amounts, since cattle are fed grains that are low in omega-3. In contrast, the fat of wild animals contains EPA
TABLE 11.5 Best and Worst Eco-Choices for Fish
|Catﬁsh, U.S. farmed||Grouper|
|Caviar, U.S. farmed paddleﬁsh and sturgeon eggs||Halibut, Atlantic|
|Clams, butter, geoducks, hard, littlenecks, Manila||Marlin|
|Crab, Dungeness, snow from Canada, stone||Monkﬁsh/gooseﬁsh|
|Crawﬁsh, U.S.||Orange roughy|
|Halibut, Alaskan||Rockﬁsh, Paciﬁc|
|Herring, Atlantic sea herring||Salmon, farmed or Atlantic|
|Mahimahi/dolphinﬁsh, U.S., from the Atlantic||Shrimp/prawns, imported|
|Mussels, farmed blue, New Zealand green||Skate|
|Oysters, farmed Eastern, European, Paciﬁc||Snapper|
|Sableﬁsh/black cod from Alaska||Sturgeon, wild|
|Salmon, wild chinook, chum, coho, pink, sockeye||Swordﬁsh, imported|
|Scallops, farmed bay||Tuna, blueﬁn|
|Shrimp, northern from Newfoundland, U.S. farmed|
|Striped bass, farmed|
• 152 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
(4 percent of the fat is EPA) because wild animals dine on mosses and ferns that contain long-chain omega-3 fats.
Studies comparing the meat of pasture-fed (also known as free-range) animals with those eating traditional feedlot cuisine consistently demonstrate a higher omega-3 fatty-acid proﬁle in the pasture-fed meat. For example, one study showed that DHA content increased 300 percent and EPA increased by nearly 700 percent when bulls ate in the pasture instead of the feedlot.
The signiﬁcance of what meat could offer in the way of long-chain omega-3 fats is illustrated quite clearly in a recent study. Researchers found that meat, poultry, and game accounted for 43 percent of long-chain omega-3 fat content in the diets of Australians (who on average eat six times more meat, poultry, and game than seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)). So why don’t we have similar omega-3 intake (if not double?). In Australia, animals raised for consumption are typically pasture fed, which increases their long-chain omega-3 fat content.
What to do? When possible, choose meats that are free-range or pasture fed. Many stores, including Trader Joe’s and Whole food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s Market, carry free-range meats. You can also buy directly from the
Extra large 3 21 24 Jumbo 2 23 25
Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 153 •
Seaweed and Mosses
Wild greens (ferns, mosses, and liverworts)—including those that grow in the sea, such as algae and seaweed—contain long-chain omega-3 fats, primarily EPA. Therefore, both the plant itself and the animals that feed on it (be they with ﬁ ns or feet) are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fats. Keep in mind that to make a signiﬁ cant difference, you’d need a steady diet of these greens, which is possible with many Asian cuisines that include sushi and seaweed salad.
Omega-3-Enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s for Fish Haters, Vegetarians, and Supplement Refusers
The good news is that food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s enriched with the right type of omega-3 fats can make a signiﬁcant impact on getting your needs met. That’s especially important if you seldom eat ﬁ sh, are vegetarian, or don’t like taking supplements. The types of enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s to choose are those with the long-chain omega-3 fats, especially DHA. But identifying them can be confusing.
Most of the omega-3-enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s you ﬁnd in supermarkets or health food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) stores add the short-chain omega-3 fat ALA, most often in the form of ﬂax. On one hand it’s wonderful to get more omega-3 fats in your diet to help offset our lopsided omega-6 fat imbalance. But the added ﬂax will do little, if anything, to increase your intake of EPA or DHA. For example, Odwalla’s Berries GoMega bar proclaims on its food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) label that it contains “500 mg of Vegetarian Omega 3’s.” To the uninformed consumer, that may seem like a great thing. In this case, the omega-3 fat source is ﬂax, which means ALA, not the coveted EPA or DHA.
DHA-Enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s
Surprisingly, the United States has not caught up with the rest of the world in terms of the number of DHA-enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s available at the grocery store. Fortunately, that should change soon, thanks to a 2005 FDA ruling that allows the addition of menhaden oil (a type of ﬁsh oil) to 29 categories of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com). Studies show that eating food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s
• 154 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 155 •
enriched with long-chain omega-3 fats can be an effective boost. In other countries, there are a variety of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s with enriched DHA, including breads, deli meats, yogurt, sausages, and juice. Currently in the United States, only a few key food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s with added long-chain omega-3s are widely available:
Brave New World of Meats and Poultry
Because of the growing interest of health-conscious consumers, plentiful research has been conducted on ways to increase the omega-3 fat content of various meats and poultry. When animals are fed diets enriched with ﬁsh oil or ﬁsh meal, the EPA and DHA content of their meat increases considerably (just as with humans). These food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are not commercially available yet but likely will be in the near future.
Harvard University researcher Jing Xuan Kang discovered a novel way to increase the omega-3 fat content of livestock by creating “transgenic animals.” These animals are given the gene that allows them to easily make omega-3 fats while keeping the omega-6 fat low, with an optimal ratio of 1-to-1. Kang and his colleagues recently
Get Enough Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet 157 •
achieved success by creating a transgenic pig, and work is under way with chickens and cows. They have great hope that this approach will be a sustainable solution to increasing omega-3 fats in the diet, especially for those who don’t care for seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com).
If you are not able or not willing to eat seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) or the selected omega-3-enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, then you will need a supplement. A variety of options are discussed in the next chapter.
• 158 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
The health beneﬁts of eating ﬁsh far outweigh risks. To minimize your exposure to contaminants take care in how you prepare your ﬁ sh.
If you seldom eat ﬁsh or are vegetarian choose omega-3-enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s.
nless you consume seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) regularly, you will likely need a supplement to get the required amount of omega-3s in your diet. But when you look at the overﬂowing supplement shelves, how do you know which omega-3 supplement is best for you? I witnessed this problem repeatedly when I began recommending omega-3 fat supplements to my patients. Without fail, they’d come back with ﬂ axseed oil supplements because the “helpful” clerk told them that ﬂaxseed oil is a good source of omega-3 fat. That’s when I started explaining why ﬂaxseed oil is not a substitute for ﬁ sh oil.
Yet even among the ﬁsh oil supplements, there are many different types, with considerable variation in their content of DHA and EPA. Which is best? This chapter will give you the best bets and tell you what to avoid when choosing omega-3 fat supplements. Solutions for vegetarians, kids, and those who don’t like swallowing big capsules also will be discussed.
How to Choose an Omega-3 Fat Supplement
There seem to be endless choices of omega-3 supplements. How do you choose between cod-liver oil and shark-liver oil, salmon oil and
• 160 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
tuna oil? There’s pure EPA or pure DHA, and then there are the 3-6-9 supplements, also known as the essential-fatty-acid supplements. Does “molecularly distilled” make a difference? And how much should you take?
Don’t Bother Buying What Your Body Doesn’t Need
We don’t need any more omega-6 fats in our diet, yet unbelievably, there are omega-3 fat supplements that boast of their added omega-6 fat content, as if that were advantageous. These supplements typically have names like “Omega 3-6-9.” The 3 represents the sought-out omega-3 fat; the 6 signiﬁ es the omega-6 fat. Omega-9, you may recall, is the family that olive oil belongs to, and our bodies do not require this fat. Omega-9 won’t hurt you, but why spend the money on something you don’t need and can enjoy eating in olives and olive oil?
Similarly, supplements that say they provide all of your essential fatty acids will contain omega-6 fat along with omega-3 fat. These supplements usually have names like “EFAs” or “complete essential fatty acids.” Don’t waste your money on these types of supplements either.
Forget about the specialty plant oils, too, as they don’t contain the coveted EPA and DHA. Flaxseed, hemp, and perilla seed oil are high in the short-chain omega-3 fat ALA. This won’t hurt you, but you aren’t getting what you need from these oils: EPA and DHA.
Forget about evening primrose oil and borage oil. People often take these oils in hopes of reducing inﬂ ammation-related maladies such as PMS or joint pain. But these oils are very high in omega-6 fat. Primrose oil and borage oil contain 86 percent and 67 percent omega-6, respectively. The last thing you need is to dump more omega-6 fat in your diet by way of a supplement. Your best choice is ﬁsh oil supplements, which are much more powerful and effective.
What’s the Right Dose?
The food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) and Drug Administration (FDA) considers a safe level to be 3 grams (3,000 milligrams) of EPA and DHA, combined. Inter
Consider Taking an Omega-3 Supplement 161 •
national guidelines for general health recommend 650 milligrams of EPA plus DHA, with a minimum of 220 milligrams from each. And as discussed in the previous chapter, the American Heart Association recommends 1,000 milligrams combined EPA and DHA if you have heart disease. Aim for 650 to 3,000 milligrams, combined. Table 12.1 lists dosages typical of oil from different kinds of ﬁsh. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor, especially if you are taking medications. Be sure to inform your doctors and any other health care providers that you are taking ﬁ sh oil.
If you take more than 3,000 milligrams, some doctors worry that you could bleed a little more easily, and they might want you to temporarily discontinue the supplements if you are having sur-
Salmon oil 590 827 1,417 Menhaden oil 597 387 984 Sardine oil 460 483 943 Cod-liver oil 313 497 810 Herring oil 283 190 473
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18 (2005) (nal.usda.gov/fnic/food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)comp/search).
• 162 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
They found no signiﬁcant increased incidence of bleeding. The most common side effect is burping and, sometimes, gastrointestinal upset, but this usually occurs at doses higher than 3,000 milligrams. When the American Heart Association reviewed possible side effects from ﬁsh oil supplementation, they found minimal problems, which are summarized in Table 12.2.
How to Choose the Best Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil is the only type of omega-3 fat supplement that contains both EPA and DHA. There are many good choices from which to select. Often, it really comes down to how many pills you are willing to swallow each day and the price you are willing to pay.
The omega-3 supplement industry recently established uniform standards for purity and quality, through its trade organization, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). While the standards are voluntary, there’s a lot at stake for companies amid the booming but competitive ﬁsh oil supplement industry. Environmental Defense, a leading nonproﬁt organization, uses the CRN criteria to determine the best and worst choices of ﬁsh oil supplements and makes its choices public via its website at oceansalive.org/eat.cfm?sub
|TABLE 12.2 Risk of Side Effects from Fish Oil Supplements|
|Dose per Day||Fishy Aftertaste|
�1,000 mg Very low Very low Low 1,000–3,000 mg Moderate Very low Moderate
�3,000 mg Moderate Low Likely
SOURCE: Kris-Etherton, P. M., et al. “Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease.” Circulation 106 (2002): 2754.
Consider Taking an Omega-3 Supplement 163 •
lowest price. When in doubt, follow these guidelines in selecting a ﬁsh oil supplement, and you’ll do just ﬁ ne:
But note that the beneﬁts of ﬁsh oil (long-chain omega-3 fats) are also an Achilles’ heel when it comes to stability. These fats are
• 164 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
more vulnerable to damage from oxygen. Vitamin E is usually added to protect and keep the omega-3 fats stable. This is a valuable addition, not hype.
When selecting ﬁsh oil supplements, you’ll also have some other options to consider. Before you buy, weigh the pros and cons of each of these products:
TABLE 12.3 What You Get in Fish Oil Concentrates
Milligrams of Omega-3
Brand Dose EPA DHA
CVS ﬁsh oil concentrate 2 capsules 360 240
Kirkland Signature ﬁsh oil concentrate 2 capsules 360 240 Nordic Natural’s Ultimate-Omega 2 capsules 650 450 Trader Joe’s Trader Darwin’s Odorless Omega-3 1 capsule 400 200 Vitamin Shoppe EPA-DHA omega-3 ﬁsh oil 1 capsule 300 200 Walgreen’s Finest natural ﬁsh oil concentrate 2 capsules 520 350
• Krill oil. This ﬁ sh oil is the new kid on the block. Krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans (zooplankton) that feed the largest animal in the world, the blue whale. Along with EPA and DHA, krill oil also contains some other types of fats called phospholipids that may be beneﬁ cial.
Special Considerations: Vegetarians, Kids, and Pill Haters
Choosing an omega-3 supplement can be a little more challenging for people with certain needs. Vegetarians are looking for choices other than ﬁsh oil. Kids and adults who have difﬁculty swallowing pills want alternatives that are easier to take than the standard ﬁsh oil capsule.
If you are a strict vegetarian who consumes no ﬁsh or animal products, the only way you’re going to get enough omega-3s in your diet is through a supplement. There are vegetarian, algae-based supplements, rather than ﬁsh oil, that provide DHA. There is little EPA in this type of supplement, but DHA can “retroconvert” into EPA. Table
12.4 lists examples of vegetarian DHA supplements.
NuTru O-Mega-Zen3 1 gel — 300 No gelatin. Algae-based.
Vitamin Shoppe Neuromins DHA 1 gel — 100 Contains gelatin. Algae-based.
Kids and Adults Who Hate to Swallow Pills
Whether you are a kid or an adult who dislikes swallowing pills, ﬁ sh oil supplements can be quite a challenge because of their larger-thanaverage size.
Liquid Assets. Fortunately, kids and adults can try one of the many liquid options, which are now available in a variety of ﬂ avors (see Table 12.5). The biggest difference among the liquid options for kids is the potency and the packaging. Regardless of your age, you do need to be cautious with the cod-liver oil. Cod-liver oil naturally contains large amounts of vitamins A and D, which can be dangerous when taken at high levels. This shouldn’t be a problem if you take the standard dose, but do be aware of the levels of these vitamins if you are taking other supplements, to prevent a toxic overload.
Omega-3 Supplements for Kids. Beyond liquid ﬁsh oils, there are a variety of options for kids: powders that you mix with water (or perhaps could throw into a yogurt), condiment-size pudding packets,
TABLE 12.5 Liquid Options for Fish Oil Supplements
Milligrams of Omega-3s
Brand Dose EPA DHA Comment
Carlson Laboratories 1 teaspoon 800 500 Lemon ﬂavor
|Jarrow Max DHA Liquid||1 teaspoon||425–600||740–850||Lemon ﬂavor|
|Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid||½ teaspoon||813||563||Lemon ﬂavor|
|Nordic Naturals Omega3 Liquid||1 teaspoon||825||550||Lemon and orange ﬂ avor|
|Nordic Naturals Artic cod-liver oil||1 teaspoon||410||625||Plain, lemon, orange, and peach ﬂavors. Provides up to 40% of daily value for vitamin A and up to 10% for vitamin D. Also avail|
|able in individual|
|Spectrum Essentials cod-liver oil (lemon)||1 teaspoon||340||540||Warning: This dose provides 25% of vitamin A, which means potential for toxicity if taken in excess.|
and chewable supplements (see Table 12.6). Lastly, if the child is willing, there are pea-sized gel caps that are easier for the smaller mouth to swallow. These supplements are rather pricey, though, so be sure you can get a refund if your kid absolutely hates them; some of the liquid oils aren’t as pleasant-tasting as their name sounds.
While there are a variety of ways to get your long-chain omega-3 fats through supplements (or food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)), they will do little good if your diet is being assaulted by omega-6 fats, among other omega-3 oppo
Health from the Sea ½ teaspoon 125 187 Fruity ﬂavored; A� Kids Pure Fish Oil pleasant scent but a
ﬁ shy aftertaste
Nordic Naturals ½ teaspoon 205 313 Strawberry-ﬂavored Berry Keen Children’s cod-liver oil; pleasant 100% scent but a ﬁshy
Nordic Naturals 4 gels 82 125 Source is cod-liver oil; Children’s DHA pea-sized gels (very Chewable Soft Gels easy to swallow)
Carlson Labs 1 gel 50 100 Orange ﬂavor Chewable DHA
nents. You still need the right background diet to allow the beneﬁ cial work of the omega-3 fats to shine through. The next chapter will address how to get rid of the adversarial components in the diet.
Consider Taking an Omega-3 Supplement 169 •
When choosing a supplement:
If you are vegetarian, choose an algae-based supplement.
Check for alternative forms if you have difﬁculty swallowing pills.
Kids need ﬁsh oil too (if they don’t regularly eat ﬁ sh).
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Nix the Six
Limit food(Buy now fromhttp://www.drugswell.com)s High in Omega-6 Fats
oday our food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) supply contains more omega-6 fats than ever, and it’s all too easy to overload on this fat, even if you eat a low-fat diet. Omega-6 fats make powerful hormone-like compounds that, when produced in excess, are associated with heart attacks, stroke, arthritis, asthma, headaches, PMS, inﬂ ammation, cancer, insulin resistance, mood disorders, and osteoporosis. Clearly, too much omega-6 fat is not good for your health.
Yet how are you supposed to tell which food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are high in omega-6 fats, especially when this information is not required on food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) labels? It is especially tricky, as these fats are not even listed as “omega-6” in the ingredient list; labels give only their common names, such as soybean oil. There are no consumer advocates or food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) police groups waging campaigns to nix the omega-6 in the American diet. In fact, many people don’t even know what an omega-6 fat is—including many of the employees of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) companies I called requesting this information.
In this chapter, we’ll look at how to identify the key sources of omega-6 fats and practical ways to replace them. You’ll also learn how little of this nutrient your body needs.
• 172 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
How Much Omega-6 Fat Do You Need?
Linoleic acid (LA), the dominant omega-6 fat in our diet, occurs naturally in nearly every food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com). It is an essential fat, which means you need it in your diet to stay healthy, but the amount needed is grossly exaggerated by many.
In 2003, Stephen Cunnane from the University of Toronto found a major mistake in the studies used to determine the dietary requirement for LA. The generally accepted dietary requirement for LA is based on diets that were inadvertently deﬁcient in omega-3 fats, and this was not taken into account. (To evaluate nutritional needs, scientists often put animals on a diet deﬁcient in a speciﬁc nutrient and then systematically add back the particular nutrient to determine the dose needed to correct the problem.) Cunnane says this error overestimates LA requirements, so they are 5 to 15 times higher than what is needed for healthy people, because the omega-6 oils added back into the deﬁcient diets also contained trace amounts of omega-3 fats. Correcting the deﬁciency took more omega-6 oil because they were simultaneously correcting the omega-3 fat deﬁcit. The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, an American nonproﬁ t organization, not only ignored this big oversight but recommended that Americans continue to eat their current high levels of omega-6 fats, ranging from 11,000 to 16,000 milligrams daily.
Fortunately, international guidelines recommend a more sensible level of LA: 2,200 milligrams is considered adequate for health, with a maximum of 6,600 milligrams per day. Even this level is likely a two- to fourfold overestimate—and the average American eats nearly double that amount (13,000 milligrams).
Keep in mind that no health agency or omega-3 fat expert is recommending that we get rid of omega-6 fats entirely. Rather, the goal is to bring the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats back into balance.
Even if you limit your fat intake by avoiding such food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s as margarine or mayonnaise, you can still get an adequate amount of omega-6 fat in your diet. (It’s similar to sodium; you can get plenty of this mineral in your diet without lifting a salt shaker, because
Nix the Six 173 •
it’s naturally present in many food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, even though you can’t taste it.) For example, just two slices of whole-wheat bread provide 500 milligrams of LA, nearly 25 percent of the international recommendation. If you put one teaspoon of margarine on each bread slice, you have met the recommendation with over 3,000 milligrams of LA.
Nix the Six: How to Reduce Omega-6 Fats
Omega-6 fat is abundant in many processed food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, fast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, nuts, seeds, oils, salad dressings, and margarine. Soybean oil is the greatest contributor of linoleic acid in the American diet. It is all too easy to overload on omega-6 fat, so it’s vitally important to become familiar with the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s and oils that are high in omega-6.
Identify High-Omega-6 Fats and Oils
Most of the time, the only hint you’ll ﬁnd regarding a food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)’s omega-6 fat content is on the ingredient list, since omega-6 content need not be listed on the label. To keep your omega fats in balance, for every 1,000 milligrams of omega-6 fat you eat, you’ll need another 500 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fat.
Oils, Spreads, and Dressings
When you discover how many food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are high in omega-6 fats, correcting the problem can be overwhelming. The best strategy is to begin by focusing on the changes that will have the biggest beneﬁt, rather than trying to change everything in your diet at once. From there, you can ﬁ ne-tune your food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) choices, so that it will be less daunting. Your selection of visible fats has the most signiﬁ cant impact, because they are the biggest sources of omega-6 fats in the diet. So let’s start there.
Most dietary omega-6 fat comes from salad dressings, cooking oils, margarines, and spreads. The top three omega-6 fat oils consumed in the United States are cottonseed oil, corn oil, and soybean oil. In 2001–2002, 93 percent of margarines and 72 percent of salad
|Wheat germ oil||55||7,450||8:1|
|Sunﬂ ower oil||66||5,410||180:1|
|SPREADS (PER TABLESPOON)|
|Margarine, tub regular||33||3,760||20:1|
|Margarine, stick regular||26||2,920||9:1|
|SALAD DRESSINGS (PER 2 TABLESPOONS)|
|Thousand Island, generic||45||4,590||7:1|
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18 (2005). The food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Processor SQL versions 9.8 and 10.0.
Nix the Six 175 •
The key to reducing omega-6 fats in your diet is to use the following alternatives:
For a summary of oils, spreads, and salad dressings that are low in omega-6 fats, see Table 13.2.
TABLE 13.2 Oils, Spreads, and Salad Dressings Low in Omega-6 Fat
OILS (PER TABLESPOON)
Olive oil 10 1,320 13:1 Flaxseed oil 13 1,730 0.3:1.0 Avocado oil 13 1,750 14:1 High-oleic safﬂower oil 14 1,952 N/A Canola oil 20 2,840 2:1
SPREADS (PER TABLESPOON)
Mayonnaise, canola 22 2,200 2:1 Mayonnaise, fat-free 44 190 1:1 Margarine, canola oil 18 2,000 2:1 Margarine, fat-free 51 150 6:1 Smart Beat Superlight 22 450 3:1
SALAD DRESSINGS (PER 2 TABLESPOONS)
Ranch, fat-free 0 0 N/A Italian, fat-free 21 50 5:1 Blue-cheese fat-free 52 140 7:1 Italian, diet 21 400 4:1 Caesar, low-calorie 47 620 7:1
*Available in Australia.
Use the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Label to Nix the Six
When the low-carbohydrate craze swept the nation, food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) companies quickly responded. In no time, you could easily ﬁ nd new low
• 178 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
carbohydrate food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, even ghastly ones like low-carbohydrate milk. The food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) makers added more carbohydrate information on the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) label, even though it was not required.
It’s not so easy to ﬁnd information on the omega-6 fat content of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s. Unlike the carbohydrate craze, there has been no consumer demand for “low-omega-6” food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s or for this information, and the information is not required, as it is for trans fat or total fat content.
Regardless of your food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) choices, you’ll need to become familiar with two key parts of the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) label—the ingredient list and the nutrition facts panel—to help ﬁgure out the omega-6 fat content. Here are some tips:
Nix the Six 179 •
that are labeled fat-free must meet a strict deﬁ nition: less than 500 milligrams of fat per serving. Therefore, these food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s will have less omega-6 fat.
• Don’t assume omega-3-enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are low in omega-6 fats. Omega-3-enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s can be loaded with omega-6 fat. For example, Spectrum’s Essentials omega-3 spread lists soybean oil as its ﬁrst ingredient, so it is likely high in omega-6 fat (although the manufacturer did not have omega-6 fat content available upon request). Why eat an enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) if it adds other ingredients that you don’t need—or that can even be hazardous? You are better off taking ﬁsh oil or another enriched food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) with known nutrition contents. One serving of LifeStream’s Flax Plus or Hemp Plus Wafﬂ es has a whopping 3,400 to 3,500 milligrams of omega-6 fat.
• 180 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
I analyzed my diet via a free computer program that I realized the error of my ways. I was shocked to see the high level of omega-6 fat in my diet from my walnut oil. If you want to check out the omega fat balance in your diet, see the sidebar about computer analysis.
• Contact a food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) company to get omega fat information. Some companies will provide omega-6 fat content if you ask for it. Other food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) companies have no idea of the omega-6 fat content of their products. Still, frequent requests might prompt food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) companies to make this information available, so no phone call or e-mail is a wasted effort.
Nix the Six 181 •
Nuts, Seeds, and Soybeans
As a group of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, nuts, seeds, and soybeans are generally high in omega-6 fats. (The exceptions are macadamia nuts, chestnuts, chia seeds, and ﬂaxseeds.) However, when these food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are eaten in a less-processed form, they are usually lower in omega-6 fats. For example, soybeans in the form of tofu contain only about one-ﬁfth the level of omega-6 fats found in the concentrated form of soybean oil. Peanuts are another good example. Peanut oil has nearly twice the omega-6 fat content of whole peanuts (see Table 13.3).
When you eat a whole food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) such as nuts or soybeans, you are obtaining a host of other beneﬁcial nutrients, including ﬁ ber, vita
|½ cup green soybeans (edamame)||2,390|
|1 tablespoon margarine||2,920|
|2 tablespoons Thousand Island salad dressing||4,590|
|1 tablespoon mayonnaise||5,200|
|1 tablespoon soybean oil||6,940|
|PEANUT-BASED food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)S|
|1 tablespoon peanuts||2,225|
|1 tablespoon peanut butter, chunky||2,350|
|1 tablespoon peanut oil||4,320|
• 182 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
omega-6 load, they are good sources of omega-3 fats. These food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s can ﬁt in a healthful diet with careful use, but it’s best to opt for the nuts and seeds that are lower in omega-6 fat. Macadamias, cashews, and hazelnuts are primarily made up of monounsaturated fats and are not signiﬁcant sources of omega-6 fats. The same is true for their pulverized version, nut butters. Cashew butter is lower in omega-6 fat than peanut butter (see Table 13.4, which summarizes the omega-6 fats from nuts and seeds).
|Hemp nut seeds||7,700|
|Pumpkin and squash seeds, dried||5,870|
Nix the Six 183 •
linoleic acid of a vegetarian frank, but it’s true! In fact, vegetarian franks have a higher omega-6 content than hot dogs made from turkey, chicken, or beef (see Table 13.5).
Here are some more examples:
Find out the omega-6 content of the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s you eat. Free information is available online and in this book’s tables and Appendix A.
How to Nix the Most Potent Omega-6: Arachidonic Acid
While the majority of arachidonic acid (AA) in our body is made
SOURCE: USDA Nutrient Database, nal.usda.gov/fnic/food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)comp/search.
• 184 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
is the fatty acid that gets directly converted to the compounds that cause inﬂammation and blood clotting, among other problems.
To illustrate how potent AA is, a ﬁsh oil study on arthritis patients found that when this potent omega-6 fat was limited to less than 90 milligrams day in the diet, patients experienced the most improvement in symptom reduction (pain, tender and swollen joints), compared with patients who ate a regular diet supplemented with the same amount of ﬁsh oil or no ﬁsh oil at all. Notably, to reduce AA to this level, patients had to limit their meat intake to a maximum of eight ounces for the entire week. Also, the more AA eaten, the higher the disease activity.
You might think that higher-fat animals have more AA, but that’s not necessarily the case, as the examples in Table 13.6 illustrate. Since AA lines the membranes of all cells, it is highly concentrated in the tissue (meat) of the animal. Yes, it’s found in its fat, too. Note in the table that farmed and Atlantic salmon have more AA than beef or pork, and at least three times the AA content of wild salmon. Beef sirloin has one of the lowest amounts.
What Can You Do? The Power of One
Does the fact that omega-6 fats are not listed on food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) labels frustrate you? Until the slow wheels of policy and scientiﬁc consensus change, here’s what you can do:
TABLE 13.6 Arachidonic Acid Content of Common food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s
food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Arachidonic Acid
|Egg, one whole large||156|
|Lamb, New Zealand||20|
|Pork loin, trimmed||63|
*A hybrid of American buffalo and beef. Beefalo yields leaner beef than conventional breeds of cattle.
SOURCE: USDA Nutrient Database, nal.usda.gov/fnic/food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)comp/search and see References under Taber.
These action steps might seem fruitless, but keep in mind that every time you make a request to a food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) company for omega-6 fat content information, the company takes notice; meeting consumer demands and needs is a way to stay competitive in the market. Each single action you take paves the way for critical mass to take place, until the power of one tips the scales for a change. Remember, that’s how low-carb food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s became popular in grocery stores, and it’s the reason why you can get four kinds of milk at Starbuck’s, from soy-milk to regular cream.
|regular||based granola||omega-6 fat. The following cereals by|
|Nature’s Path have 500 milligrams or less of|
|omega-6 fat, with a good dose of omega-3:|
|Flax Plus with raisins; Optimum Power; Opti|
|mum Rebound; Mesa Sunrise.|
|Wheat germ||Flax meal (ground||Flax meal is widely available at health food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)|
|ﬂaxseed)||stores and many grocery stores. Bob’s Red|
|Mill is a brand in many stores nationwide, or|
|you can order it at bobsredmill.com.|
|SPREADS AND DRESSINGS|
|Peanut||Almond butter, cashew||Available at Trader Joe’s and Whole food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s|
|butter||butter, macadamia nut||Market. These nut butters are lower in|
|butter||omega-6 fats than peanut butter.|
|Salad||Fat-free, low-fat||LiteHouse is a brand that uses canola oil.|
|Shortening||Fat-free shortening||Many brands are available at your local|
|Tahini||Macadamia nut butter||Tahini is made up of ground sesame seeds|
|and used in hummus. Macadamia nut butter|
|can be found where tahini is sold and is an|
|Margarine,||Canola oil margarine||Canola Harvest offers a margarine made from|
|Margarine,||Smart Balance Omega||Even “heart-healthy” types of margarine|
|heart-healthy||Plus, Benecol light||often use soybean oil or vegetable oil blends|
|type||that are high in omega-6 fats.|
|Nix the Six||187 •|
|Nondairy||Fat-free nondairy||Nondairy creamers are made from soybean|
|Eggs||Omega-3 (DHA-||Gold Circle Farms is one source of enriched|
|enriched) eggs||whole eggs and egg whites. Available|
|FROZEN food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)S|
|Frozen meals||Meals using low-||Amy’s Kitchen meals (available at major|
|omega-6 oil||grocery stores) use primarily high-oleic oils|
|and olive oil.|
|Wafﬂes||Brands using low||Nature’s Path Optimum Power Wafﬂes|
|omega-6 oil||contain 750 milligrams of omega-6 and|
|500 milligrams of omega-3.|
|Potato chips,||Baked chips; chips made||Kettle Chips use monounsaturated sunﬂower|
|regular||with olive oil and high-||oil, which is low in omega-6 fats.|
|Tortilla chips,||Baked or light chips||Tortilla chips are usually made with oils that|
|regular||are very high in omega-6: sunﬂower oil or|
|MEATS AND POULTRY|
|Chicken,||Free-range; white meat||Dark meats of chicken and turkey have a|
|turkey||(breast)||higher arachidonic acid content. You can ﬁnd|
|free-range meats at Trader Joe’s, specialty|
|grocery stores, and online. Free-range turkey|
|is abundant around Thanksgiving. Brands|
|include Shelton’s poultry.|
|Meats||Free-range||Available at Trader Joe’s, specialty grocery|
|stores, and online. Brands include Niman|
|Ranch and U.S. Wellness Meats.|
|Lamb||New Zealand||New Zealand lamb is raised on the pasture, so|
|it’s naturally lower in omega-6 fats.|
|Sausage||Fat-free and low-fat||Sausages are very high in omega-6 fats.|
|Tuna in oil||Light tuna in water||Many brands are available at your local gro|
|Sardines in oil||Check the oil||Sardines are a great source of long-chain|
|omega-3s. But take care to check the oil they|
|are packed in.|
• 188 How to Omega-Optimize Your Diet
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y now you should have a pretty good idea of the core aspect of omega-optimizing your diet: increase omega-3 fats (both long- and short-chain) and decrease omega-6 fats to a more healthful level. This chapter will help you put it all together in a practical manner, with strategies to ﬁt your lifestyle. The ﬁrst part of the chapter will show you how omega-optimizing principles ﬁt into an overall healthful diet, including tips for eating out. Then you’ll see how different eating styles can be converted into a realistic yet better fat balance in your diet.
Omega-Optimize Your Diet for Life
After learning about the beneﬁts of omega-3 fats and the hazards of omega-6 fats, you might be inclined to load up on ﬁsh oil pills, switch all your oils to olive, ﬂaxseed, and canola, and believe you hit the omega-optimize mark for balancing your diet. Not quite.
We don’t eat in a vacuum. There are factors in food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) that can optimize or detract from the beneﬁts of balanced omega fats in your diet. The nutrients from the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s you eat act as one giant metabolic symphony in your body. Some key vitamins and minerals help omega-3
• 192 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
fats do their amazing work in the body. Other substances, including saturated fat, trans fat, and alcohol (in excess) can be problematic. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind, so that you don’t inadvertently create a problem while trying to solve the omega fat imbalance. Many of the pillars of healthy eating still remain.
Quantity and Quality of Fats
It’s still important to moderate your fat intake, and perhaps you are already skilled at doing so. But if you switch to canola oil and use it indiscriminately, you could still have too much fat in the diet—and too much omega-6 fat as well. Canola oil is among the most healthful oils, but you can still overdo it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to seek out lower-fat versions of canola-oil-based mayonnaise, margarine, and salad dressings. The same applies to dairy products and meats. But honor your taste buds; taste counts! And keep in mind that naturally “oily” ﬁsh is still lower in fat than most meats.
Total Fat. Overall, most experts agree that a healthful target is for 20 to 35 percent of your calories to come from fat, distributed into the three classes of dietary fat: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated (see Figure 14.1). The way the fats are distributed is where the big distinction lies between the omega-optimize and traditional healthful diet paradigms. While the percent of total fat calories remain the same in both the traditional and the omega-optimize diets, their distribution is quite different when you balance omega-6 and omega-3 fats. For instance, most of the fats you eat will come from monounsaturated fats like olive oil, and far less from polyunsaturated fats, which are dominated by omega-6 fats. The distribution in Figure 14.1 is based on guidelines issued by omega-3 fat experts from the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids. The up and down arrows in the ﬁgure indicate the change (increase and decrease) from the traditional recommendations.
Saturated Fat. There is universal consensus that saturated fat needs to be kept low in the diet. Besides clogging arteries, saturated fat
FIGURE 14.1 Omega-Optimize: Target Calories from Fat
While the percent of total fat calories remains the same in both the traditional and omega-optimize diets, their distribution is quite different when omega-6 and omega-3 fat is balanced. This distribution is based on guidelines issued from omega-3 fat experts from the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL). The arrows indicate the change from the traditional recommendations.
interferes with the metabolism and beneﬁts of omega-3 fats. Saturated fats are found primarily in meats, sausage, poultry skin and fat, full-fat dairy products such as butter and ice cream, and tropical oils such as palm kernel and coconut oil. Saturated fats should be limited to less than 8 percent of your total calories.
Trans fat is a type of fat that also interferes with omega-3 fats, and it’s a fat our body does not need. It raises the detrimental cholesterol,
• 194 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
LDL, and lowers the beneﬁcial cholesterol, HDL. Trans fats are on their way out of the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) supply, thanks to new food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)-labeling laws that put this ingredient in the consumer spotlight, but they can still be found in many processed and fried food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s.
Monounsaturated Fat. The bulk of our fats should come from monounsaturated fats, which have no negative impact on omega-3 fats and also lower cholesterol. Olive oil and the specialty high-oleic oils are monounsaturated fats. Keep in mind, however, that oils, regardless of the source, are calorie-dense.
Polyunsaturated Fat. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are made up of both omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Traditionally health organizations have indiscriminately recommended increasing polyunsaturated fat, without distinguishing between the two types of PUFA. More recently, some organizations have made recommendations for each type:
The bottom line is that 2 to 3 percent of your fat calories should come from omega-6 PUFAs and 1.3 percent from omega-3 PUFAs. This is quite a substantial change from the standard recommendation to obtain 10 percent of fat calories from polyunsaturated fats. Total PUFA calories are reduced to 3.3 to 4.3 percent of the diet—a consequence of increasing omega-3 fats and lowering omega-6 fats to a balanced level.
The Ultimate Omega-3 Makeover 195 •
Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, you still need to eat your veggies. No amount of ﬁsh oil can take the place of what fruits and vegetables do for your health. Plants are truly Mother Nature’s medicine chest, and they are an important part of a healthful diet. They offer more than just vitamins and minerals. Researchers are just scratching the surface of identifying their natural beneﬁcial compounds, such as plant sterols and phytochemicals, both of which have health beneﬁts for preventing cancer and heart disease. Fresh, frozen, or canned, they are beneﬁ cial. Minimally, aim for two and a half cups to six and a half cups of fruits and vegetables daily.
Whole grains are found in food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s such as whole wheat, rolled oats, and brown rice. Unfortunately, they took a nosedive when low-carbohydrate fad diets were touted as the way to lose weight. Look for ﬂax-based cereals, for their high omega-3 content. Toss ﬂ ax meal into hot cereal, pancake batters, and mufﬁns. Aim for at least three whole grains a day.
Protein food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s
Many health organizations, from the American Heart Association to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommend eating at least two ﬁsh dishes a week (as discussed earlier, four times a week would be even better). You get more than just long-chain omega-3 fats from eating ﬁsh. Every ﬁsh dish you eat will usually displace a meal that would have been higher in the saturated and omega-6 fats.
Adequate protein is important for omega-3 fats to work optimally in your body. Dried beans such as pinto and kidney beans are a good source of protein and also have the short-chain omega-3 fat, ALA. Soybeans, when eaten in their less-processed forms such as edamame, low-fat tofu, and low-fat soymilks, are good sources of protein with less omega-6 fat. Many vegetarian food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, such as meatless patties, are high in omega-6 fats.
• 196 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Calcium-Rich food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s
Aim for at least three servings of calcium-rich food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s daily for that all-important bone-contributing nutrient. Yogurt, nonfat and low-fat milk, and low-fat cheeses are good sources of calcium.
Omega-Optimize When Eating Out
Eating out is a wonderful opportunity to explore ﬁsh, prepared in a variety of ways, from casual to elegant and even specialty fast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com). There are three key questions to ask when eating out:
What’s the Fish Dish?
Regardless of the cuisine, it seems that you can get ﬁ sh—especially salmon, shrimp, and tuna—at almost any restaurant. When ordering ﬁsh, be sure to ask how it is prepared. Grilled is preferable, as it tends to use the least amount of added fat.
Here’s a brief list of ﬁsh-based dishes, by cuisine:
The Ultimate Omega-3 Makeover 197 •
What if I Don’t Eat Fish? Even if you’re not a ﬁsh eater, you can still improve your choices. Go for the free-range meat selections that are popping up on many menus. Regional areas such as Denver often have game meats or specialty meats such as buffalo, which are lower in omega-6 fat and higher in omega-3. And unless you are allergic to ﬁsh or a strict vegetarian, keep an open mind about trying ﬁ sh.
Also choose food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s with plant-based omega-3s. Choose entree salads made with deep leafy greens such as romaine. Try bean-based dishes, such as hoppin’ John, chili, and pinto beans for a good source of omega-3s (short-chain, plant-based ALA).
What Kind of Oil Is Used for Sauces, Cooking, and Salad Dressings?
Take the time to inquire about a restaurant’s use of oils. Fortunately, in many places, it’s very easy to request and get olive oil. If the salad dressings are not made with canola or olive oil, ask for the simple olive-oil-and-vinegar option. Many restaurants also offer light and fat-free dressings, which can be good choices.
What’s in Your Spreads and Dips?
If a sauce or spread is mayonnaise-based, it’s likely to be made with soybean oil, which means it is high in omega-6. Pesto sauces are usually made with olive oil. Opt to dip your bread in olive oil rather than spreading it with margarine. Better yet, fresh bread unadorned is fantastic.
Fast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com): Do You Want Omegas with That?
When you ﬁ nd yourself pressed for time, you can still choose well from fast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s or take-out menus.
• 198 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
It doesn’t take drastic changes to omega-optimize your diet, nor do you suddenly have to become a ﬁsh lover (although that would clearly be an asset). If you consider yourself a healthy eater, don’t assume that your omega-6 and omega-3 fats are balanced—it’s likely not the case. I have to admit that I was stunned at how many apparently healthy eaters had diets too high in omega-6. I had this humbling revelation when I ﬁrst started evaluating my patients’ diets for their omega-6 and omega-3 fat content. The following examples describe two different types of healthy eaters. Notice that it took only a couple of changes to make a signiﬁcant improvement in their fat balance.
The Low-Fat, High-Veggie Eater
A new patient who had just ﬁnished therapy for cancer (with an excellent prognosis) sought my help to do everything nutritionally
The Ultimate Omega-3 Makeover 199 •
possible to keep the cancer from coming back. She wanted to be sure she was “eating right.” Here’s the humbling part. If she had consulted me before my foray into balancing the omega-6 and omega-3 fats, I would have concluded that she’s doing great, because her diet included lots of veggies and was high in ﬁber and low in fat. But I took my evaluation one step further, and when I analyzed her diet for her fat balance, I discovered that her ratio was 11-to-1.
With realistic changes in her diet, I was able to get her ratio down to about 1.5-to-1. The most signiﬁ cant changes for her were adding ﬂax meal regularly, incorporating Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette (see the recipe in Chapter 16), and changing her margarine.
The Diligent Healthy Eater
A colleague of mine suffers from a chronic inﬂammation disorder. I had a hunch she was eating too much omega-6 fat, even though she was a careful, healthy eater. At my urging and because she was curious, she let me evaluate a typical day of her eating. She was surprised to learn that her diet was too high in omega-6 fats, with a ratio of 10-to-1 (which even factored in her ﬁ sh oil supplements).
We made two signiﬁcant changes to correct her imbalance. First, she replaced her margarine with a spread that is low in omega-6 fat. The biggest change, however, was replacing her daily high dose of walnuts (¼ cup a day) with a combination of hemp nut seeds and dried fruit. While nuts can certainly be part of a healthful diet, she was getting too much of an omega-6 load with that quantity.
The next section shows more examples of simple changes that make a big difference in balancing the fats in your diet, regardless of your eating and cooking style.
Omega-Optimize Makeover of a “Heart-Healthy” Diet
Even a “heart-healthy” diet needs to be omega-optimized. Consider the sample menu in the “Before” column of Table 14.1. At ﬁ rst glance, it might appear to be optimal: low in both overall and saturated fat, and high in fruits in vegetables. This diet is reﬂ ective of a health-conscious eater, but it’s too high in omega-6 fat and too
with light margarine Latte with nonfat milk
Lunch Turkey-ham sandwich
on wheat Light mayonnaise 1 slice low-fat cheese Strawberries Granola bar
Dinner Salad (iceberg) with fat-free
Italian dressing Grilled skinless chicken breast Steamed carrots Baked potato 2 tablespoons light
sour cream 1 cup fruit sorbet
Total fat 25 grams (17% of calories)
Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3
Banana 2 slices whole-wheat toast with honey Latte with nonfat milk
on wheat Light canola mayonnaise 1 slice low-fat cheese StrawberriesFruit leather bar
Salad (romaine) with fat-free Italian dressing and
Grilled skinless chicken breast Steamed carrots Baked potato 2 tablespoons light
sour cream 1 cup fruit sorbet
29 grams (20% of calories)
2:1 margarine with honey to reduce omega-6 fat.
Switched to light canola mayo to reduce the omega-6. Replaced granola bar with fruit leather to reduce the omega-6.
Used romaine lettuce rather than iceberg, and added kidney beans for more omega-3.
The Ultimate Omega-3 Makeover 201 •
Omega-Optimize Makeover of a “Dash ’n’ Go” Diet
Many of my clients eat on the run, grabbing food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) from take-out places, including fast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com). Their intentions to eat healthy are sin
|1 fresh fruit cup||are high in omega-6|
|Large nonfat latte||fat. Added fruit and|
|nonfat latte to round|
|out the meal|
|Fast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com): Traditional||Fast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com): Fresh-Mex Style||Fried ﬁsh is high in|
|Filet o’ Fish sandwich||2 grilled ﬁsh tacos on corn||omega-6 fat. Replaced|
|French fries, medium||tortillas, topped with salsa||it with grilled ﬁsh|
|Diet Coke||Side of whole pinto beans||tacos. Replaced|
|Iced tea||omega-6-laden fries|
|with an omega-3-rich|
|side, pinto beans.|
|Takeout Pizza||Takeout Pizza||Lowered omega-6 fat|
|2 slices pan cheese pizza,||2 slices thin-crust pizza,||by replacing pan-style|
|medium||medium, topped with||pizza with a thin crust,|
|Garden salad with Italian||peppers and mushrooms||and added veggies.|
|dressing||Garden salad with fat-free||Used fat-free dressing|
|Diet Coke||dressing||rather than regular.|
TABLE 14.2 Omega-Optimize Makeover of a “Dash ’n’ Go” Diet (continued)
|McDonald’s chocolate-chip cookie||McDonald’s low-fat vanilla cone||Replaced cookie withlow-fat soft-serve cone to lower the omega-6 fat.|
|Total fat 103 grams (43% of calories)||41 grams (21% of calories)|
|Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 9:1||2:1|
What changes do you need to make to your diet to balance your omega-6 and omega-3 fats? Does the task sound too daunting? You can do it, because the next chapter gets you started with seven days’ worth of menus for a variety of lifestyles, from hate-to-cook and eating out to kid-friendly and vegetarian.
t’s easy to put together tasty meals and at the same time balance the omega-3 and omega-6 fats in your diet, even if you dislike ﬁ sh and hate to cook. To show you how easy it is to omega-optimize your diet, I created seven days’ worth of menus based on different lifestyle themes, from cooking styles to food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) preferences. All of these menu days provide a balanced and low ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. Remember, the lower the ratio, the lower the risk of disease.
These meals feature all sorts of delicious whole food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s, plus particular brands of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) products, all currently available in standard supermarkets. Label readers will ﬁnd more possibilities as food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) companies meet the growing demand for food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s rich in omega-3 and low in omega-6.
Keep in mind that the measurements provided for the food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are not intended to be rigid; they are merely a guide and served as the basis for the nutrient analysis and its data. The omega fat proﬁ le that accompanies each recipe is based on these quantities. Dishes printed in italics have recipes in the next chapter.
• 204 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Throw and Go Cook Menu
This day relies on food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) staples that you are likely to have in the pantry or freezer. These are menus that you can generally throw together at the last minute.
1 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal 1 cup nonfat milk 1 whole-wheat English mufﬁn with 2 teaspoons honey 1 banana
Turkey and avocado sandwich: 2 slices rye bread with 1 teaspoon light canola mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon mustard, 2 ounces turkey breast, 1 slice low-fat cheddar cheese, and 2 slices avocado
1 ounce pretzels 1 cup watermelon cubes
1 Nature’s Path hemp granola bar 1 ounce string cheese
The Ultimate Omega-3 Menus 205 •
Some people just do not like ﬁsh—no ifs, ands, or buts. While I’d like you to keep an open mind about trying seafood(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com), this day of meals is ﬁshless, and you still get plenty of the plant type of omega-3 fat, ALA. But since you can’t rely on your body to convert a signiﬁ cant amount of ALA to the important long-chain omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, you will beneﬁt from taking a ﬁsh oil supplement regularly (see Chapter 12).
Scrambled eggs, made with 1 omega-3 egg plus 2 egg whites from regular eggs 2 slices whole-wheat toast with 1 teaspoon SmartBeat Omega Plus
buttery spread and honey ½ cantaloupe 1 cup nonfat milk
Roast beef sandwich: 2 slices whole-wheat bread, 2 ounces roast
beef, lettuce, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard ½ cup raspberries 1 cup nonfat milk
1 Blueberry Mufﬁ n
Omega Mixed Greens Salad with 1 serving Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette
1½ cups ranch-style barbeque chili beans topped with 2 tablespoons low-fat cheddar cheese 1 cup sorbet
Remember that eating out is a great opportunity to eat ﬁ sh and try new varieties. Every meal on this menu can be eaten out.
Bagel with lox and light cream cheese 1 8-ounce nonfat caffe latte ½ cup orange juice
Caesar salad with grilled skinless chicken breast and low-calorie,
oil-free dressing French roll, plain Iced tea
16-ounce berry/banana smoothie
The Ultimate Omega-3 Menus 207 •
These meals are familiar kiddy fare (such as pancakes) but are omega-optimized. It’s best to provide an eating environment that encourages tasting new food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s. Ironically, the more a parent pressures a child to eat something, the less likely the child will be to want to eat it! It takes children an average of eight to nine times of actually tasting a new food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) before they adopt it as their own.
Fluffy Flax Buttermilk Pancakes with 2 tablespoons warm maple
syrup ½ cup orange juice 1 cup nonfat milk
Grilled cheddar cheese sandwich: 2 slices whole-wheat bread and
1½ tablespoons shredded low-fat cheddar cheese 5 baby carrots with fat-free ranch dressing ½ cup grapes 1 Chewy Omega Oatmeal Cookie 1 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon almond butter 1 apple, cut into wedges
Crispy Fish Sticks with 1 tablespoon catsup ½ cup broccoli
Omega Onion Rings
1 cup nonfat milk Ice-cream sundae: ½ cup light vanilla ice cream with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
This is a very simple menu; you basically just assemble food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s at home. It’s designed for a day when you want to relax at home, rather than linger in a restaurant, yet not be fussing about in the kitchen. This menu does not require the use of a microwave.
1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt 1 cup Uncle Sam cereal ½ cup sliced strawberries
Swiss cheese sandwich: 2 slices whole-wheat bread, 1 ounce low-fat Swiss cheese, 1 teaspoon mustard, 2 slices tomato, and 2 romaine lettuce leaves
½ cup baby carrots 1 medium pear
1 cup baked tortilla chips ¼ cup chunky chili salsa
Spinach salad: 3 ounces light tuna (water packed), 2 cups spinach leaves (sold prewashed in bags), ¼ cup mandarin oranges, ¼ cup sliced mushrooms, 2 tablespoons feta cheese, 1 tablespoon sliced olives, 1 tablespoon chopped avocado, and 1 serving Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette
2 plain breadsticks 1 cup nonfat frozen yogurt topped with 1 cup fresh blueberries
Ironically, out of all the menu themes, this was one of the most challenging in terms of “nixing the six” (omega-6 fats). Many vegetarian food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s are loaded with soybean oil, so take care to check the ingredient labels, and be sure that the primary oils used are canola, ﬂ axseed, and olive oil. Like the no-ﬁ sh folks, vegetarians are advised to take an omega-3 supplement that contains EPA and DHA. Look for those that provide omega-3s from algae, a vegetable source.
¾ cup Nature’s Path FlaxPlus raisin bran cereal 1 cup nonfat soymilk 2 slices whole-wheat toast spread with 2 teaspoons honey 1 cup mixed fresh melon cubes
Omega Mixed Greens Salad with 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
and 1 serving Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette Fast Fiesta Burrito (hold the cheese) 1 medium peach
Orzo Pasta Salad (hold the cheese) 1 cup vegetarian chili Baked potato chips 1 cup strawberries
This is a menu for a day when you’ve got the time—and the inclination—to explore new recipes, most likely on the weekend.
1 serving/slice Double Streusel Coffee Cake 2 wedges honeydew melon 1 cup nonfat milk
1 serving Omega Kidney Bean Salad 1 serving Pesto Bruschetta 1 fresh pear
t is surprisingly easy to omega-optimize your diet with a few recipes and staples on hand. Each recipe was developed to provide a healthier proportion of fats, less omega-6, and more omega-3 fats. The omega-optimize technique is highlighted in each recipe so that you can incorporate it into your own favorite recipes. The nutrition proﬁle of each recipe is based on eating one serving of the recipe, which includes the amounts of calories, different fats, carbohydrates, protein, ﬁber, and the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.
Here are some staples to keep on hand. This list is far from comprehensive, but it will give you a good idea of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s to stock in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
• 212 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Stock your refrigerator with these great omega-3-rich options.
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 213 •
the fat. Keep in mind that organic is not the same thing as free range. Organic means that no pesticides or chemicals were used to feed the animal.
Keep these tasty items in your freezer so you’ll have healthy options available when you can’t get to the store.
Each recipe that follows has an Omega-Optimize Technique section that highlights the ingredients used to lower the omega-6 fat and increase the omega-3 fat. The Omega-Optimize Nutrition Proﬁle lists the nutrition information for each serving of the recipe.
• 214 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Many breakfast food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s feature eggs. Look for eggs enriched with DHA, usually labeled “omega-3 eggs.”
Fluffy Flax Buttermilk Pancakes
Have these pancakes for breakfast, and you’ll start the day ahead in omega-3s.
Omega-Optimize Technique Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) eggs Canola oil Flax meal
|1 teaspoon baking soda||1½ teaspoons vanilla|
|1 cup low-fat buttermilk||¾ cup whole-wheat ﬂ our|
|1 omega-3 egg||¼ cup ﬂ ax meal|
|2 teaspoons canola oil, plus||2 teaspoons sugar|
|extra for coating the griddle||¼ teaspoon cinnamon|
In a small bowl dissolve the baking soda into buttermilk. Let stand at least 1 minute. Add the egg, canola oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the ﬂ our, ﬂax meal, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the buttermilk mixture. Coat the griddle with the remaining canola oil.
For each pancake, pour about ¼ cup batter onto the hot griddle. Adjust the heat so that the bottom of the pancakes brown in 2 to 4 minutes. Note that the ﬁ rst batch will require higher heat. Flip the pancakes when they are cooked on the bottom, and continue to cook until the second side is lightly browned.
An omelet is great vehicle for delivering your veggies in the morning. In this case, you get bell pepper.
Omega-Optimize Technique Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) egg Canola oil, rather than butter Swiss cheese, a better source of omega-3s than the cheddar cheese typically used in omelets
|1 omega-3 egg||1 teaspoon canola oil|
|2 egg whites from||¼ cup diced green bell pepper|
|conventional eggs||¼ cup diced onion|
|⅛ teaspoon salt||2 tablespoons shredded|
|Dash black pepper||reduced-fat Swiss cheese|
In a small bowl, beat together the egg, egg whites, salt, and pepper.
Heat the canola oil in a small nonstick omelet pan or small skillet. Add the bell pepper and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, and stir over medium heat until onion is translucent.
Add the egg mixture, and cook without stirring until the omelet begins to set around the edges, about 10 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, lift the edges of the cooked portion of the omelet to let the uncooked egg mixture ﬂow under it. Repeat until most of the omelet is set. Cover the pan with a lid, and cook 30 to 45 seconds, or until the eggs are cooked to desired doneness. Top with cheese. Slide the omelet halfway onto a plate, and then ﬂip the omelet over itself so it folds in half.
|Omega-6 mg||2,230||Carbs g||12|
|Omega-3 mg||1,200||Protein g||20|
|Ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3||2:1||Fiber g||4|
Double Streusel Coffee Cake
This beautiful coffee cake has two cinnamony ribbons of streusel running throughout. Shhh, the streusel is ﬁlled with ﬂ ax meal!
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal in place of walnuts
Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) eggs
1 cup brown sugar ½ cup ﬂ ax meal 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 cups cake ﬂ our ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup “white” whole-wheat ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg ﬂour (see page 218) 3 omega-3 eggs
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 217 •
1 cup sugar 1 16-ounce carton fat-free 1½ teaspoons baking powder sour cream 1½ teaspoons baking soda ¾ cup applesauce
2 tablespoons powdered sugar ¾ teaspoon nonfat milk
Make the streusel in a small bowl by mixing the brown sugar, ﬂ ax meal, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with canola oil nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the cake and whole-wheat ﬂours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
In another large bowl, using an electric mixer on the high setting, beat the eggs for 2 minutes. Beat in the sour cream and applesauce. Add half of the ﬂour mixture, and beat until moist. Add the remaining ﬂour mixture, and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. (The batter will be quite thick.)
Pour one-third of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel evenly over the batter. Repeat with another one-third of the batter and the remaining streusel. Spoon the remaining batter over the streusel.
Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out
• 218 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Many of these recipes call for “white” whole-wheat ﬂour. This is actually a whole-grain ﬂour but is much ﬁ ner in texture and less gritty than regular whole-wheat ﬂour. Look for this product at Trader Joe’s and in natural-food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) stores. If it’s not available, you can substitute standard whole-wheat ﬂ our.
Blueberry Mufﬁ ns
These mufﬁns are a family favorite.
Yield: 12 mufﬁ ns
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil Flax meal in place of part of the wheat ﬂ our Blueberries, one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fats (80 milligrams per cup) Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) egg
¾ cup “white” whole-wheat 1 omega-3 egg
ﬂ our ¾ cup buttermilk ¼ cup ﬂ ax meal ¼ cup canola oil ¾ cup sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 cup fresh blueberries 1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray mufﬁ n tin (12 2-inch-diameter cups) with canola oil nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the ﬂ our, ﬂ ax meal, sugar, lemon zest, and baking powder. Make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir in the blueberries. Divide the batter into mufﬁ n cups, ﬁ lling each three-quarters full. Bake 22 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of mufﬁn comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Serve immediately, or transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
You can make up a batch of these mufﬁns year-round, since the recipe calls for dried cranberries, not fresh. Dried cranberries are sold in upscale markets and natural-food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) stores.
Yield: 12 mufﬁ ns
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal Walnuts Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) eggs Canola oil
¾ cup whole-wheat ﬂour or 1 omega-3 egg
“white” whole-wheat ﬂ our ⅔ cup buttermilk ¼ cup ﬂ ax meal ⅓ cup canola oil ¾ cup sugar ⅔ cup dried sweetened 1 tablespoon baking powder cranberries 2 teaspoons grated orange zest 3 tablespoons ﬁ nely chopped
(zest of 1 orange) walnuts ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray mufﬁ n tin (12 2-inch-diameter cups) with canola oil nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the ﬂ our, ﬂ ax meal, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, and oil. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir in the cranberries. Divide the batter into mufﬁn cups, ﬁ lling each three-quarters full. Scatter the walnuts on top of the mufﬁn batter. Bake 20 to 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Serve immediately, or transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Omega Honey Cornbread
Shhh, don’t tell anyone this is so healthful. This cornbread pairs nicely with soup and tastes fabulous as a simple snack.
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal Omega-3 (DHAenriched) eggs Canola oil
1 cup corn meal 1¼ cups low-fat buttermilk ¾ cup all-purpose ﬂ our ⅓ cup honey ½ cup sugar ¼ cup canola oil ¼ cup ﬂax meal 2 omega-3 eggs 1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat oven 400°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square pan with canola
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 221 •
Fast Fiesta Burritos
Try one of these burritos for a quick and satisfying entree rich in ﬁber, protein, and omega-3 fats. To save prep time, you can purchase chopped onion in the freezer or produce section of your local supermarket. Vegans can enjoy the burrito, too; just hold the cheese.
Yield: 6 burritos
Omega-Optimize Technique Pinto beans Canola oil
2 15-ounce cans whole 6 whole-wheat tortillas or
pinto beans, drained wraps (made with either 2 teaspoons canola oil olive oil or canola oil) 1 medium onion, chopped ¾ cup shredded reduced-fat 1 cup salsa cheddar cheese ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Drain the pinto beans. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add drained beans, salsa,
• 222 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Omega Onion Rings
These baked onion rings make an irresistible snack and are so much healthier than the traditional fried rings. Mix up a batch when you feel like nibbling!
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal for part of the crispy coating
Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) egg
|3 large onions, sliced ½ inch||1 omega-3 egg|
|thick||1 egg white|
|1 cup buttermilk||¾ cup cornﬂ ake crumbs|
|½ cup all-purpose ﬂ our||¼ cup ﬂ ax meal|
|½ teaspoon salt||½ teaspoon salt|
Preheat oven to 400°F. Separate the onion slices into rings. Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl, add the onion rings, and mix to coat. Stir occasionally. Set aside.
Spray a baking sheet with canola oil nonstick spray, and set aside. In a shallow dish, combine the ﬂour and salt. In a second shallow dish, lightly beat the whole egg and egg white. In a third shallow
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 223 •
Easy Omega Onion Dip
In this recipe, instant onion soup turns plain sour cream into a savory dip.
Yield: 1 cup (8 servings of 2 tablespoons each)
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal
1 16-ounce carton fat-free sour cream
Bruschetta is one of my favorite snacks. It’s also ideal for a small meal, along with a green salad.
Omega-Optimize Technique Omega Pesto Sauce, rather than olive oil
1 8-ounce baguette, 2 inches in diameter ¼ cup Omega Pesto Sauce 2 medium tomatoes, chopped ½ cup ﬁnely shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese
Pesto and Peppers Pizza
Here’s a homemade pizza that is yummy and colorful. It’s also easy to make using prepared whole-wheat pizza dough. You can ﬁnd this handy product fresh in the deli section of your supermarket or frozen in the freezer section. Be sure to check the list of ingredients on the package of pizza dough for the type of oil. Preferably it’s made with olive or canola oil.
Omega-Optimize Technique Omega Pesto Sauce
1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough ½Omega Pesto Sauce recipe 1½ cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese ½ yellow bell pepper, chopped ½ red bell pepper, chopped
Heat oven to 400°F. Spray a pizza pan or baking sheet with canola oil nonstick spray. Place the dough on the baking sheet, and press outward to form a 12-inch circle. Spray the dough with canola oil nonstick spray. Spread the pesto evenly over the dough. Scatter the
This is my son’s favorite soup. It’s a great recipe for getting a lot of vegetables into your diet.
Omega-Optimize Technique Kidney beans Canola oil Kale and basil, which contain omega-3s
2 teaspoons canola oil 3 cups chicken broth 1 large onion, chopped 1 cup chopped kale (fresh or 3 garlic cloves, chopped frozen) 2 celery stalks, chopped 1 cup chopped fresh basil 2 medium carrots, sliced 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, 2 4-ounce boneless, skinless drained
chicken breasts (see note) 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled 1 27-ounce can diced tomatoes 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 4-quart soup pan. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook and stir until onions are browned, about 10 minutes. Add chicken breasts, and brown on both sides. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, kale, basil, kidney beans, bacon, and oregano. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer 1 hour or more.
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 227 •
Omega Kidney Bean Salad
This colorful salad tastes even better when chilled overnight.
Omega-Optimize Technique Kidney beans Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette
2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 yellow bell pepper, trimmed and chopped 1 green bell pepper, trimmed and chopped ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves ¼ cup minced chives ½ cup (1 recipe) Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon cumin ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 228 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Omega Mixed Greens Salad
This is a basic garden salad with the dark green lettuces that add omega-3s. Bags of these greens already washed and chopped are sold in the produce section of supermarkets. If you serve this with the Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette, you can then omit the walnuts and ﬂ ax meal in the recipe.
Omega-Optimize Technique Walnuts Flax meal Dark green leaf lettuce, rather than iceberg
|8 cups romaine lettuce||2 medium cucumbers, chopped|
|4 cups baby spinach||½ cup grated carrots|
|1 cup chopped fresh basil||2 tablespoons chopped walnuts|
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 229 •
I usually make a double batch of this salad. On the ﬁrst day I enjoy it as a salad. Then I marinate the leftovers overnight and spoon it on hot pasta.
Omega-Optimize Technique Flaxseed oil Olive oil, a neutral fat, low in omega-6s Basil Spinach
4 medium tomatoes, chopped ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, stems removed and chopped 2 tablespoons fresh spinach leaves, chopped 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon ﬂ axseed oil 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 230 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Orzo Pasta Salad
Orzo, a tiny rice-shaped pasta, provides plenty of pasta surface for soaking up ﬂavor. It’s also easier to eat than less manageable noodles, making orzo a good choice when you’re serving buffet-style at a party.
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette Basil
1½ cups dry orzo ⅓ cup minced chives 1 cup shredded carrots ¼ cup chopped parsley 3 medium tomatoes, chopped 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cheese
chopped ½ cup (1 recipe) Flax–Olive Oil ½ cup sliced black olives Vinaigrette
Cook the orzo according to the instructions on the package. When
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 231 •
Spinach and Feta Sauté
This is one of my favorite vegetable dishes, and it’s very easy to assemble at the last minute.
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil Spinach, a plant source of alpha-linolenic fatty acids Feta, a good source of omega-3
2 teaspoons canola oil 1 tablespoon dried minced onion 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, partially thawed 4 ounces crumbled light feta cheese
• 232 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Cajun Collard Greens
This recipe gives you a head start on the preparation by using frozen collard greens. If you like your food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s on the tame side of spicy, use the smaller amount of red pepper ﬂ akes.
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil Collard greens, a good source of omega-3 fats
2 slices bacon 2 teaspoons canola oil 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion) ¼to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper ﬂ akes ½ teaspoon salt 1 pound frozen chopped collard greens
In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Place on a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Set aside.
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 233 •
This is one of my favorite ways to eat spinach.
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil Spinach, a good source of omega-3 fats
2 teaspoons canola oil 2 tablespoons dried minced onion 2 cloves garlic 1 pound frozen chopped spinach, partially thawed ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 234 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Flax–Olive Oil Vinaigrette
This simple dressing is a staple in my home because it is so easy to make and delicious. Just 1 tablespoon meets nearly all your daily requirement for short-chain omega-3 (ALA)!
Yield: 8 1-tablespoon servings
Omega-Optimize Technique Flaxseed oil Olive oil, a neutral fat, predominantly monounsaturated and low in omega 6s
2 tablespoons ﬂ axseed oil
Honey Sesame Vinaigrette
This ﬂavorful Asian dressing with its sweet-sour tang will perk up any salad. While sesame oil is one of the oils higher in omega-6 fats, it doesn’t take much of this oil to add its special ﬂ avor.
Yield: 12 1-tablespoon servings
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 235 •
Omega-Optimize Technique Flaxseed oil, a rich source of omega-3s
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 tablespoons unsweetened 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Omega Pesto Sauce
Enjoy this no-cook sauce that is incredibly delicious and easy to make. It functions as a dip, dressing, or spread.
Yield: 12 1-tablespoon servings
Omega-Optimize Technique Flaxseed oil in place of part of the olive oil Flax meal and walnuts replacing the usual pine nuts
Basil, a good source of omega-3 fat
3 cloves garlic ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts 3 tablespoons ﬂ axseed oil 1 tablespoon ﬂax meal 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 cups fresh basil leaves ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 237 •
Pesto Sole Florentine
The green of the pesto sauce is a ready-made garnish for this savory ﬁ sh dish.
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil Spinach, a plant source of omega-3 Sole, a good source of long-chain omega-3 fats
2 teaspoons canola oil 2 tablespoons dried minced onion 2 cloves garlic 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, partially thawed ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 4 4-ounce ﬁllets of sole 4 tablespoons Omega Pesto Sauce
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook until heated through. Add the Parmesan. Cook and stir until heated through. Remove pan from heat, and set aside, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Place sole ﬁ llets on a sheet of waxed paper. Using one-fourth of the spinach mixture for each ﬁllet, spread evenly on ﬁ sh. Roll up each ﬁ llet, and secure with a wooden toothpick. Place in a shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick canola oil spray. Drizzle pesto sauce over ﬁsh. Bake about 10 minutes or until ﬁ sh is opaque. Serve immediately.
Salmon with Parmesan-Olive Topping
This is a great meal to make at the last minute when unexpected company arrives. Every time I serve this, I get rave reviews on the savory topping.
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal, rather than bread crumbs
Salmon, naturally high in omega-3s
1 clove garlic 1 3-ounce jar stuffed green olives, drained 2 tablespoons chicken broth 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon ﬂ ax meal 4 salmon ﬁllets (about 1 pound)
Preheat the broiler. Coat a broiler pan with canola oil nonstick spray. In a small food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) processor or blender, pulse the garlic until ﬁ nely chopped. Add the olives, and pulse until chopped. Add the chicken broth, Parmesan, and ﬂax meal, and pulse until fairly smooth.
Arrange the salmon in the prepared pan in a single layer. Spread a thin layer of the olive paste over each ﬁ sh ﬁ llet. Broil the ﬁllets 3 to 4 inches from the heat without turning, about 8 to 10 minutes, until the ﬁ sh ﬂakes easily. Serve immediately.
Crispy Fish Sticks
These ﬁsh sticks have a great crispy texture without frying. Any ﬁ rm white ﬁsh will work in this recipe.
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal, replacing some of the cornﬂ akes Cod, a rich source of omega-3 fats Omega-3 (DHAenriched) egg
½ cup buttermilk ½ cup cornﬂakes, crushed into 1 pound cod, cut into 8 pieces crumbs ⅓ cup ﬂ our ¼ cup ﬂ ax meal 1 omega-3 egg, slightly beaten 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Pour buttermilk into a shallow dish or pie pan. Add pieces of ﬁsh, and turn each to coat. Arrange three shallow dishes on a workspace. In one, place the ﬂ our. In another, place the egg. In the third, combine the cornﬂake crumbs, ﬂax meal, and lemon pepper. Dredge the ﬁsh in the ﬂour, evenly coating both sides; dip in the egg, and then coat the ﬁsh with the cornﬂake crumb mixture.
Lightly coat a baking dish with canola oil nonstick spray. Arrange ﬁsh pieces in a single layer so they don’t touch; spray the top of the ﬁsh with the nonstick spray. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the ﬁ sh is opaque and ﬂaky. Do not turn.
Crunchy Chicken variation: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in place of the ﬁ sh.
This is a crowd-pleasing recipe and one of my favorites. This sauce is delicious on any ﬁ sh.
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil Small amount of sesame oil for ﬂ avor Halibut, a good source of long-chain omega-3s
1 teaspoon canola oil ⅓ cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce ½ teaspoon sesame oil 4 4-ounce halibut ﬁ llets
Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the canola oil, brown
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 241 •
This convenient recipe uses canned salmon, which is a good item to keep on hand in your omega-3 pantry.
Omega-Optimize Technique Canned salmon Omega-3 (DHAenriched) egg Light canola mayonnaise
1 7-ounce can smoked salmon 2 egg whites ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard ¼ cup minced chives 3 dashes hot pepper sauce 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Dash Worcestershire sauce
basil 1 cup cornﬂ akes, crushed into 1 tablespoon fat-free canola crumbs
mayonnaise 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a large bowl, mix together the salmon, red pepper, chives, basil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, egg whites, mustard, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Shape the mixture into four patties, about ⅓
• 242 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Sweet and Sour Shrimp Stew
These very simple ingredients make for a very ﬂavorful dish, one of my favorites. It’s especially easy because it uses frozen shrimp.
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil Flax meal Shrimp, a good source of omega-3 fats
1 teaspoon canola oil ½ cup catsup 1 large onion, chopped ¼ cup brown sugar 1 green bell pepper, cut into ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¾-inch pieces 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons ﬂ ax meal ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 pound frozen large cooked
ﬂakes shrimp (tail off), thawed
In a 3-quart skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 243 •
Incredible Omega Brownies
These are hands-down the best brownies I’ve ever made. Don’t skimp on the chocolate. The brand you choose makes a big difference in taste and texture. I ﬁ nd that Scharffenberger, Ghirardelli, and Valrohna work very well.
Yield: 12 brownies
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola oil and applesauce in place of butter Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) eggs Flax meal incorporated into the ﬂ our Reduced amount of walnuts (scattered on top)
¼ cup canola oil ½ teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces ﬁ ne-quality bittersweet ½ teaspoon salt
chocolate (not unsweetened), 2 omega-3 eggs
coarsely chopped 1 egg white 1 cup white sugar ¼ cup applesauce ½ cup all-purpose ﬂour 2 teaspoons vanilla 3 tablespoons ﬂax meal 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square pan with canola oil nonstick spray. In a medium-size bowl that can be used in the microwave, combine the oil and chocolate. Microwave on High 30 seconds, and stir to thoroughly combine mix. If chocolate is not smooth and melted, microwave again for 30 seconds and stir. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, ﬂ our, ﬂax meal, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, egg white, applesauce, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Add a small dollop of chocolate mixture, and whisk until smooth. Repeat this process until
Chewy Omega Oatmeal Cookies
These chewy and satisfying cookies are one of my favorites.
Yield: 30 cookies
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal Omega-3 (DHAenriched) egg Canola oil
|¾ cup all-purpose ﬂ our||½ cup canola oil|
|½ cup brown sugar||1 omega-3 egg|
|¼ cup ﬂax meal||1 egg white|
|¼ cup granulated sugar||2 teaspoons vanilla|
|1 teaspoon cinnamon||1¼ cups rolled oats|
|½ teaspoon baking soda||⅓ cup currants (or chopped raisins)|
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with canola oil nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the ﬂour, brown sugar, ﬂ ax meal, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, beat together the canola oil, whole egg, egg white, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the ﬂour mixture and mix. Add the oats and currants. Mix all ingredients until blended.
Not only are these easy-to-make bars a good source of omega-3 fats, but they contain as much ﬁber as a slice of whole-wheat bread.
Yield: 16 bars
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal Omega-3 (DHAenriched) eggs Canola oil
1 cup all-purpose ﬂ our 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¾ cup whole-wheat ﬂour 1 teaspoon powdered ginger ½ cup brown sugar 1¼ cups low-fat buttermilk ¼ cup ﬂ ax meal ½ cup molasses 1 tablespoon baking powder ⅓ cup canola oil 1 teaspoon chopped 2 omega-3 eggs
crystallized ginger 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9��13� cake pan with canola oil nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, combine the ﬂours, sugar, ﬂ ax meal, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, molasses, canola oil, and eggs. Mix until smooth, and add to the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool to room temperature, and cut into 16 bars.
If you enjoy the taste of lemon, you will love these bars.
Yield: 12 bars
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal in graham cracker crust
Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) eggs
1 Graham Cracker Flax Crust 1 tablespoon lemon zest 3 omega-3 eggs ¼ cup fresh lemon juice ¾ cup sugar ¼ teaspoon baking powder 4 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with canola oil nonstick spray. Lightly press the graham cracker crust into the pan, and bake 10 minutes.
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 247 •
These bars are absolutely delicious. The raspberry ﬁ lling is easy to make, but if you want to skip that step or are short on time, you can substitute raspberry preserves.
Yield: 12 bars
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal in place of part of the oats Margarine made with canola oil Raspberries, one of the fruits highest in omega-3 fats (150 milligrams per cup) Walnuts
½ cup brown sugar 1 recipe Raspberry Topping and 1 cup “white” whole-wheat ﬂ our Filling, made with 3 teaspoons ⅔ cup rolled oats cornstarch, or ¾ cup raspberry ⅓ cup ﬂ ax meal preserves ⅓ cup canola margarine 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square pan with canola oil nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, ﬂour, oats, and ﬂax meal. Add the margarine, and using a pastry blender or fork, cut the margarine into the ﬂour until the mixture is crumbly. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared
• 248 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
Raspberry Topping and Filling
Raspberries are a staple in my freezer, which makes it easier to throw together a sauce or ﬁlling. This recipe is especially simple because you throw three ingredients in the pan at the same time. This topping tastes great over pancakes, ice cream, and vanilla yogurt.
6 ¼-cup servings
Omega-Optimize Technique Raspberries, one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fats
1 12-ounce package frozen raspberries ⅔ cup sugar 1 to 3 teaspoons cornstarch (see note)
Graham Cracker Flax Crust
Flax meal blends beautifully with graham cracker crumbs for a perennial favorite: graham cracker crust.
Yield: 1 crust
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 249 •
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal in place of part of the graham cracker crumbs Canola margarine (soft tub) in place of butter
½ cup graham cracker crumbs ½ cup ﬂ ax meal 3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons ﬁnely chopped walnuts 3 tablespoons canola margarine, melted
Omega Strawberry Cheesecake Squares
This cheesecake recipe is especially easy because it’s made in a 9�� 13� pan rather than the traditional springform pan. Just remember to drain the yogurt the night before you plan to make this fabulous dessert.
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal in graham cracker crust Omega-3 (DHA-enriched) eggs Equal parts light cream cheese and vanilla yogurt in place of full-fat cream cheese
• 250 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
1 16-ounce carton low-fat (not fat-free) vanilla yogurt 1 recipe Graham Cracker Flax Crust (unbaked) 2 8-ounce packages light cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 4 teaspoons all-purpose ﬂ our 4 omega-3 eggs 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled ¼ cup raspberry or strawberry jam
Line a strainer with a large coffee ﬁlter or cheesecloth. Place the lined strainer over a bowl, and put the yogurt in the strainer so that any excess liquid drains into the bowl. Cover, chill, and let drain at least 8 hours or overnight. Discard liquid.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9��13� pan with foil, and lightly coat with canola oil nonstick spray. Press the graham cracker crust mixture ﬁrmly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake 10 minutes, and remove from oven.
In a large bowl, beat together the drained vanilla yogurt, light cream cheese, sugar, and ﬂour. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Bake 55 minutes or until almost
The Ultimate Omega-3 Recipes 251 •
Omega Frosted Carrot Cake
Traditional carrot cake is usually made with at least 1 cup of oil. I’ve used applesauce in place of the oil for years, and the taste and texture are wonderful.
Yield: 16 servings
Omega-Optimize Technique Flax meal Omega-3 (DHAenriched) eggs Applesauce, replacing oil, which is high in omega-6 fats
|1 cup all-purpose ﬂ our||2 egg whites|
|¾ cup whole-wheat ﬂ our||1½ cups sugar|
|¼ cup ﬂ ax meal||½ cup buttermilk|
|2 teaspoons baking soda||1 cup unsweetened applesauce|
|2½ teaspoons cinnamon||2 teaspoons vanilla|
|½ teaspoon nutmeg||3 cups shredded carrots|
|¼ teaspoon cloves||⅓ cup currants or raisins|
|2 omega-3 eggs|
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9��13� baking pan with canola oil nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the ﬂ ours, ﬂ ax meal, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg whites 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add the buttermilk, applesauce, and vanilla to the egg mixture. Combine the egg mixture with ﬂour mixture. Stir in the carrots and then the currants or raisins. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Frost if desired with Light Cream Cheese Frosting.
Light Cream Cheese Frosting
This is a versatile frosting that tastes great not only on carrot cake, but also with other sweet breads such as gingerbread. This frosting also pairs nicely with strawberries.
Yield: Approximately 16 tablespoons
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola soft tub margarine (and less of it) Light cream cheese Vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese, softened 3 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt 1½ tablespoons canola margarine 1 cup powdered sugar
In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, yogurt, and margarine until smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, and beat all ingredients until smooth.
It’s hard to believe that this delicious dessert delivers 8 grams of ﬁ ber per serving (from the berries, ﬂax, and oats).
Omega-Optimize Technique Canola soft tub margarine Flax meal Berries, a good source of omega-3 fats
1 16-ounce package frozen blackberries, unthawed 1 12-ounce package frozen raspberries, unthawed ⅓ cup sugar 3 tablespoons all-purpose ﬂ our 2 tablespoons ﬂ ax meal ½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup old-fashioned oats ½ cup brown sugar ⅓ cup all-purpose ﬂ our 2 tablespoons ﬂ ax meal 1 teaspoon cinnamon 4 tablespoons canola margarine, melted
Preheat oven to 375°F. To make the ﬁlling, combine the berries, sugar, 3 tablespoons ﬂour, 2 tablespoons ﬂax meal, and lemon zest
• 254 The Ultimate Omega-3 Lifestyle
in a large bowl; toss to coat berries. Transfer the berry mixture to an 8-inch square pan.
To make the topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, ⅓ cup ﬂour, 2 tablespoons ﬂax meal, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the melted margarine to the oat mixture; using a pastry blender
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Total Fat Amount (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|Butter||1 Tbsp 11.3||380 40||10||380 0||40 0||0|
|Buttermilk, cultured, reduced fat||1 cup 4.9||100 70||1||100 0||70 0||0|
|Buttermilk, prepared from powder with water||1 cup 1.4||30 20||2||30 0||20 0||0|
|Cheese substitute, mozzarella, 1� cube||1 ounce 3.5||470 20||24||470 0||20 0||0|
|Cheese, American, pasteurized, processed, fat-free, 1� cube||I ounce 0.2||0 0||na||0 0||0 0||0|
|Cheese, American, pasteurized, processed, low-fat, 1� cube||1 ounce 2.0||40 20||2||40 0||20 0||0|
|Cheese, blue, crumbled||1 ounce 8.2||150 70||2||150 0||70 0||0|
|Cheese, brie, sliced||1 ounce 7.9||150 90||2||150 0||90 0||0|
|Cheese, camembert||1 ounce 6.9||130 80||2||130 0||80 0||0|
|Cheese, cheddar, 1� cube||1 ounce 9.4||160 100||2||160 0||100 0||0|
|Cheese, cheddar, low-fat, 1� cube||1 ounce 2.0||40 20||2||40 0||20 0||0|
|Cheese, cheshire||1 ounce 8.7||150 100||2||150 0||100 0||0|
|Cheese, colby, 1� cube||1 ounce||9.1||190||80||2||190||0||80||0||0|
|Cheese, colby, low-fat, 1� cube||1 ounce||2.0||40||20||2||40||0||20||0||0|
|Cheese, emmentaler, 1� cube||1 ounce||7.9||180||100||2||180||0||100||0||0|
|Cheese, feta, crumbled||1 ounce||6.0||90||80||1||90||0||80||0||0|
|Cheese, fontina, 1� cube||1 ounce||8.8||240||220||1||240||0||220||0||0|
|Cheese, gjetost||1 ounce||8.4||140||120||1||140||0||120||0||0|
|Cheese, goat, hard||1 ounce||10.1||240||0||na||240||0||0||0||0|
|Cheese, goat, semi-soft||1 ounce||8.5||200||0||na||200||0||0||0||0|
|Cheese, goat, soft||1 ounce||6.0||140||0||na||140||0||0||0||0|
|Cheese, gruyere, 1� cube||1 ounce||9.2||370||120||3||370||0||120||0||0|
|Cheese, monterey jack, 1� cube||1 ounce||8.6||180||70||3||180||0||70||0||0|
|Cheese, mozarella, low moisture,||1 ounce||5.7||130||50||3||130||0||50||0||0|
|part-skim, 1� cube|
|Cheese, parmesan, fat-free, topping||1 ounce||1.4||30||20||2||30||0||20||0||0|
|Cheese, parmesan, grated||1 ounce||8.1||270||50||5||270||0||50||0||0|
|Cheese, parmesan, hard, 1� cube||1 ounce||7.3||80||80||1||80||0||80||0||0|
|Cheese, provolone||1 ounce||7.6||140||80||2||140||0||80||0||0|
Omega-3 and -6 Fat Content and Ratio of food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s 257 •
Total Total Total Omega-6 Omega-3
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Cheese, ricotta, part-skim||1 ounce||2.2||50||20||3||50||0||20||0||0|
|Cheese, ricotta, whole milk||1 ounce||3.7||80||30||3||80||0||30||0||0|
|Cheese, Swiss||1 ounce||7.9||180||100||2||180||0||100||0||0|
|Cheese, Swiss, low-fat||1 ounce||1.5||30||20||2||30||0||20||0||0|
|Cottage cheese, 1% fat||1 ounce||0.3||10||0||na||10||0||0||0||0|
|Cottage cheese, 2% fat||1 ounce||0.6||10||0||na||10||0||0||0||0|
|Cottage cheese, small curd||1 ounce||1.3||30||10||3||30||0||10||0||0|
|Cream cheese||1 ounce||9.9||220||140||2||220||0||140||0||0|
|Cream cheese, fat-free||1 ounce||0.4||10||0||na||10||0||0||0||0|
|Cream cheese, low-fat||1 ounce||5.0||110||70||2||110||0||70||0||0|
|Egg, hard-boiled, large||1||5.3||670||40||17||590||70||20||0||20|
|Egg, Healthy Horizons DHA||1||4.5||na||350||na||na||na||na||0||100|
|Egg, Omega-3-enriched 350, large||1||6.0||750||350||2||na||na||250||0||100|
|Egg, whole, raw, large||1||5.0||640||40||16||570||70||20||0||20|
|Ice cream, vanilla||½ cup||7.3||180||120||2||180||0||110||0||0|
|Milk, nonfat/skim||1 cup||0.4||10||0||na||10||0||0||0||0|
|Milk, 1%||1 cup||2.4||70||10||7||70||0||10||0||0|
|Milk, 2%||1 cup||4.8||150||20||8||150||0||20||0||0|
|Milk, whole, 3.25%||1 cup||7.9||290||180||2||290||0||180||0||0|
|Milk, condensed , sweetened||1 cup||26.6||660||370||2||660||0||370||0||0|
|Milk, evaporated, 2%||1 cup||4.9||110||70||2||110||0||70||0||0|
|Milk, evaporated, fat-free/skim, canned||1 cup||0.5||10||10||1||10||0||10||0||0|
|Milk, goat||1 cup||10.1||270||100||3||270||0||100||0||0|
|Milk, Indian buffalo||1 cup||16.8||170||190||1||170||0||190||0||0|
|Yogurt, frozen, all ﬂavors||½ cup||3.1||60||30||2||60||0||30||0||0|
|Yogurt, frozen, chocolate, nonfat||½ cup||0.8||20||0||na||20||0||0||0||0|
|Yogurt, fruit, low-fat||1 cup||2.7||50||20||3||50||0||20||0||0|
|Yogurt, plain, skim||1 cup||0.4||10||0||na||10||0||0||0||0|
|Yogurt, plain, whole milk||1 cup||8.0||160||70||2||160||0||70||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Total Fat Amount (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|Milk substitute, non-soy||1 cup 4.9||2,830 30||94||2,830 0||30 0||0|
|Rice milk||1 cup 2.1||1,100 20||55||1,100 0||20 0||0|
|Soy milk, regular||1 cup 4.7||1,660 210||8||1,660 0||210 0||0|
|Soy milk, chocolate||1 cup 4.7||1,800 240||8||1,800 0||240 0||0|
|FAST food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)S BURGER KING|
|Cheeseburger, Whopper||1 order 48.4||10,480 1,480||7||10,480 0||1,480 0||0|
|Cheeseburger, Whopper, double||1 order 68.1||10,350 1,560||7||10,350 0||1,560 0||0|
|Chicken, tenders, 5-piece serving||1 order 12.8||1,560 30||52||1,520 40||30 0||0|
|French fries, medium, serving||1 order 20.4||1,310 30||44||1,310 0||30 0||0|
|Hamburger||1 order 14.7||1,360 140||10||1,360 0||140 0||0|
|Hamburger, Whopper||1 order 37.4||8,023 800||10||210 10||800 0||0|
|Sandwich, chicken, original||1 order 31.4||9,878 1,280||8||240 30||1,280 0||0|
|Sandwich, chicken, Whopper||1 order||28.6||11,520||1,420||8||11,520||0||1,420||0||0|
|Pizza, cheese, crunchy thin crust, 14�||2 slices||13.1||2,480||360||7||2,470||10||360||0||0|
|Pizza, cheese, hand tossed, 14�||2 slices||17.8||2,670||320||8||2,650||20||320||0||0|
|Pizza, cheese, ultimate deep dish, 14�||2 slices||25.0||4,220||430||10||4,200||20||430||0||0|
|Pizza, ExtravaganZZa Feast, 14�||2 slices||33.5||3,870||380||10||3,810||60||380||0||0|
|Pizza, pepperoni, hand tossed, 14�||2 slices||25.3||3,460||380||9||3,410||50||370||0||0|
|Pizza, pepperoni, ultimate deep dish, 14�||2 slices||31.2||4,660||460||10||4,610||50||460||0||0|
|Hamburger, Quarter Pounder||1 order||19.8||420||40||11||410||10||40||0||0|
|Sandwich, Filet-O-Fish||1 order||20.5||6,250||730||9||6,250||0||730||0||0|
|Big Mac||1 order||25.4||6,780||910||7||6,740||40||910||0||0|
|Breakfast, big, w/eggs, sausage,||1 order||50.4||6,120||220||28||6,010||110||220||0||0|
|hash browns, and biscuit|
|Burrito, sausage, breakfast||1 order||17.1||2,240||110||20||2,140||90||110||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|FAST food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)S, continued|
|Cheeseburger, Big Mac||1 order||32.8||580||80||7||580||0||80||0||0|
|Cheeseburger, Quarter Pounder||1 order||28.3||720||90||8||700||20||90||0||0|
|Chicken, breast strips, premium, Selects||1 order||7.2||2,310||80||29||2,300||10||80||0||0|
|Chicken, nuggets, McNuggets,||1 order||16.4||5,170||230||22||5,120||50||230||0||0|
|Cookie, chocolate chip, package||1 order||12.8||670||60||11||650||20||60||0||0|
|Cookie, McDonaldland, package||1 order||8.8||1,190||30||40||1,190||0||30||0||0|
|Dessert, apple dipper, w/low-fat||1 order||0.7||30||30||na||30||0||30||0||0|
|Eggs, scrambled, serving||1 order||13.6||1,340||20||67||1,260||80||20||0||0|
|French fries, medium||1 order||18.0||1,020||190||5||1,020||0||190||0||0|
|Frozen dessert, McFlurry, M&M’s,||1 order||22.5||900||80||11||880||20||80||0||0|
|Frozen dessert, McFlurry, Oreo, regular||1 order||19.1||1,160||70||17||1,140||20||70||0||0|
|Frozen dessert, sundae, hot caramel||1 order||8.9||390||30||13||380||10||30||0||0|
|Frozen dessert, sundae, hot fudge||1 order||10.6||360||30||12||350||10||30||0||0|
|Frozen dessert, sundae, strawberry,||1 order||7.0||310||20||16||300||10||20||0||0|
|Honey mustard, tangy, dipping||1 packet||2.5||990||160||6||990||0||160||0||0|
|Ice cream cone, vanilla, low-fat||1 order||4.4||250||20||13||240||0||20||0||0|
|Milk shake, chocolate, triple thick, med||1 order||21.3||920||80||12||900||20||80||0||0|
|Milk shake, strawberry, triple thick, med||1 order||20.8||920||80||12||900||20||80||0||0|
|Milk shake, vanilla, triple thick, med||1 order||20.8||930||80||12||900||20||80||0||0|
|Nuts, sundae style, serving||1 order||3.7||980||0||na||980||0||0||0||0|
|Pancakes, Hotcake||1 order||2.9||1,320||160||8||1,320||0||160||0||0|
|Pie, apple||1 order||12.1||800||0||na||800||0||0||0||0|
|Potatoes, hash browns, serving||1 order||9.2||2,120||90||24||2,120||0||90||0||0|
|Sandwich, chicken, crisp deluxe||1 order||25.0||9,510||1,040||9||9,470||40||1,040||0||0|
|Sandwich, chicken, grilled, McGrill||1 order||16.8||6,110||770||8||6,060||50||770||0||0|
|Sandwich, sausage and egg, w/biscuit||1 order||35.5||3,720||160||23||3,640||80||160||0||0|
|Sandwich, sausage, w/biscuit||1 order||28.5||2,960||130||23||2,920||40||130||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Total Fat Amount (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|FAST food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)S, continued|
|Sauce, barbeque||1 packet 0.3||120 20||6||120 0||20 0||0|
|Sauce, creamy ranch||1 ounce 14.8||7,070 920||8||7,070 0||920 0||0|
|Sauce, spicy buffalo||1 ounce 4.4||2,120 270||8||2,120 0||270 0||0|
|Sausage, pork patty||3 ounces 33.7||3,780 170||22||3,710 70||170 0||0|
|Sweet roll, cinnamon||1 order 19.1||2,860 90||32||2,830 30||90 0||0|
|Sweet roll, cinnamon, deluxe||1 order 26.3||3,090 130||24||3,090 0||130 0||0|
|Pizza, cheese, pan, large, 14�||2 slices 23.6||4,670 600||8||4,650 20||600 0||0|
|Pizza, cheese, pan, medium, 12�||2 slices 25.1||4,900 610||8||4,870 30||610 0||0|
|Pizza, pepperoni, pan, medium, 12�||2 slices 27.3||5,920 690||9||5,870 50||690 0||0|
|Burrito, bean||1 order 13.6||1,490 260||6||1,490 0||260 0||0|
|Burrito, beef, supreme||1 order 20.0||1,770 250||7||1,770 0||250 0||0|
|Burrito, steak, supreme||1 order||18.0||1,690||220||8||1,670||20||220||0||0|
|Nachos, supreme, serving||1 order||26.6||2,530||260||10||2,530||0||260||0||0|
|Nachos, serving||1 order||22.0||2,480||60||41||2,480||0||60||0||0|
|Salad, taco, w/salsa and shell||1 order||48.9||3,490||520||7||3,490||0||520||0||0|
|Taco, beef||1 order||10.5||1,540||100||15||1,520||10||100||0||0|
|Taco, soft, beef||1 order||10.3||930||70||13||920||10||70||0||0|
|Taco, soft, chicken||1 order||7.3||990||60||17||960||30||60||0||0|
|Taco, soft, steak||1 order||15.4||3,960||470||8||3,930||30||470||0||0|
|Cheeseburger, classic double||1 order||44.0||3,320||470||7||3,220||90||470||0||0|
|Cheeseburger, classic single||1 order||27.4||2,870||380||8||2,820||50||380||0||0|
|Chicken nuggets, 5-piece serving||1 order||17.4||4,220||100||42||4,180||40||100||0||0|
|French fries, medium||1 order||23.1||5,190||110||47||5,190||0||110||0||0|
|Frozen dessert, Frosty, dairy, medium||1 order||7.8||300||50||6||300||0||50||0||0|
|Hamburger, classic single||1 order||23.1||2,900||370||8||2,850||50||370||0||0|
|Sandwich, chicken ﬁllet, homestyle||1 order||18.6||6,540||540||12||6,500||40||540||0||0|
|Sandwich, chicken, Ultimate Grill||1 order||11.3||3,640||430||8||3,600||40||430||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Anchovies, European, canned w/oil,||3 ounces||8.3||320||1,760||� 1||310||10||10||650||1,100|
|Bass, sea, mixed species, ﬁllet,||3 ounces||2.2||30||650||� 1||30||na||na||180||470|
|Bass, striped, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||2.5||20||840||� 1||20||0||20||180||640|
|Blueﬁsh, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||4.6||70||840||� 1||70||0||0||270||570|
|Carp, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||6.1||730||680||1||560||170||290||260||120|
|Cisco, smoked||3 ounces||10.1||400||1,760||� 1||310||90||10||650||1,100|
|Cod, Atlantic, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||0.7||30||140||� 1||10||20||0||0||130|
|Flounder, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||1.3||50||440||� 1||10||40||10||210||220|
|Geﬁ lte ﬁ sh||3 ounces||3.3||330||580||1||220||100||100||140||340|
|Haddock, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||0.8||30||200||� 1||10||20||0||60||140|
|Halibut, Atlantic/Paciﬁc, ﬁllet,||3 ounces||2.5||180||470||� 1||30||150||70||80||320|
|Halibut, Greenland, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||15.1||200||1,050||� 1||130||70||50||570||430|
|Herring, Atlantic, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||9.9||210||1,830||� 1||140||70||110||770||940|
|Mackerel, Atlantic, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||15.2||170||1,120||� 1||130||40||100||430||590|
|Mackerel, King, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||2.2||40||340||� 1||40||0||0||150||190|
|Mackerel, Paciﬁc and Jack, ﬁllet,||3 ounces||8.6||220||1,630||� 1||130||90||50||560||1,020|
|Mackerel, Spanish, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||5.4||230||1,160||� 1||90||140||100||250||810|
|Orange roughy, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||0.8||70||30||2||50||20||0||10||20|
|Pompano, Florida, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||10.3||350||660||1||110||230||120||170||370|
|Sableﬁsh, smoked||3 ounces||17.1||300||1,670||� 1||180||120||110||760||800|
|Sableﬁsh, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||16.7||290||1,620||� 1||180||110||100||740||780|
|Salmon, Atlantic, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||10.5||1,650||1,930||1||570||1,080||100||590||1,240|
|Salmon, Atlantic, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||6.9||480||1,890||� 1||190||290||320||350||1,220|
|Salmon, chinook, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||11.4||290||1,570||� 1||120||170||90||860||620|
|Salmon, chinook, smoked||3 ounces||3.7||400||390||1||400||0||0||160||230|
|Salmon, chum, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||4.1||100||720||� 1||70||30||40||250||430|
|Salmon, chum, w/bone, canned, drained||3 ounces||4.7||110||1,040||� 1||50||60||40||400||600|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Salmon, coho, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||7.0||400||1,150||� 1||320||80||60||350||740|
|Salmon, coho, ﬁllet, baked/broiled, wild||3 ounces||3.7||70||950||� 1||50||20||50||340||560|
|Salmon, pink, canned, drained||3 ounces||4.1||90||950||� 1||60||30||50||310||590|
|Salmon, pink, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||3.8||140||1,140||� 1||50||80||40||460||640|
|Salmon, sockeye, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||9.3||130||1,100||� 1||100||30||50||450||600|
|Salmon, sockeye, w/bone, canned,||3 ounces||6.2||130||1,300||� 1||100||30||70||480||750|
|Sardines, Atlantic, w/bones, w/oil,||3 ounces||9.7||3,010||1,260||2||3,010||0||420||400||430|
|Sashimi, eel, ﬁllet, mixed species||3 ounces||9.9||250||490||1||170||80||370||70||50|
|Sashimi, mackerel, Paciﬁc and Jack, ﬁllet||3 ounces||6.7||170||1,270||� 1||100||70||40||430||790|
|Sashimi, salmon, chinook, ﬁllet||3 ounces||8.9||230||1,740||� 1||100||130||80||860||800|
|Sashimi, snapper, ﬁllet, mixed species||3 ounces||1.1||60||270||� 1||20||40||0||40||220|
|Sashimi, tuna, blueﬁn, ﬁllet||3 ounces||4.2||90||1,000||� 1||50||40||0||240||760|
|Sashimi, tuna, skipjack, ﬁllet||3 ounces||0.9||40||220||� 1||10||20||0||60||160|
|Sashimi, tuna, yellowﬁn, ﬁllet,||3 ounces||0.8||30||200||� 1||10||20||10||30||150|
|w/o bone, 1� cube|
|Smelt, rainbow, baked/broiled||3 ounces||2.6||110||810||� 1||50||60||50||300||460|
|Snapper, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||1.5||60||270||� 1||20||40||0||40||230|
|Spot, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||5.3||170||710||� 1||40||130||20||240||450|
|Sucker ﬁsh, white, baked/broiled||3 ounces||2.5||190||590||� 1||70||110||60||210||320|
|Tileﬁsh, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||4.0||170||770||� 1||40||130||0||150||620|
|Trout, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||7.2||400||970||� 1||190||210||170||220||580|
|Trout, rainbow, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||6.1||840||1,050||1||810||30||70||280||700|
|Trout, rainbow, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||5.0||350||1,000||� 1||240||100||160||400||440|
|Trout, sea, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||3.9||280||410||1||70||210||0||180||230|
|Tuna, blueﬁn, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||5.3||110||1,280||� 1||60||50||0||310||970|
|Tuna, dried||3 ounces||5.2||110||1,250||� 1||60||50||0||300||950|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Tuna, light, w/oil, drained, can||3 ounces||7.0||2,280||170||13||2,280||0||60||20||90|
|Tuna, light, w/water, drained, unsalted,||3 ounces||0.7||40||230||� 1||10||30||0||40||190|
|Tuna, skipjack, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||1.1||50||280||� 1||20||30||0||80||200|
|Tuna, smoked||3 ounces||8.6||220||1,630||� 1||130||90||50||560||1,020|
|Tuna, white, w/water, drained, canned||3 ounces||2.5||90||790||� 1||50||40||60||200||530|
|Whiteﬁsh, ﬁllet, baked/broiled,||3 ounces||6.4||540||1,580||� 1||300||240||200||350||1,030|
|Wolfﬁsh, Atlantic, ﬁllet, baked/broiled||3 ounces||2.6||120||690||� 1||20||100||10||330||340|
|Salmon oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||300||4,390||� 1||210||90||140||1,770||2,480|
|Menhaden oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||450||3,160||� 1||290||160||200||1,790||1,160|
|Sardine oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||510||3,010||� 1||270||240||180||1,380||1,450|
|Cod-liver oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||260||2,560||� 1||130||130||130||940||1,490|
|Herring oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||200||1,530||� 1||160||40||100||850||570|
|Cherries, red, sour, fresh||1 cup||0.5||70||70||1||70||0||70||0||0|
|Cherries, sweet, fresh||1 cup||0.3||40||40||1||40||0||40||0||0|
|Gooseberries, Chinese||1 cup||0.9||430||70||6||430||0||70||0||0|
|Mango, slices||1 cup||0.5||20||60||� 1||20||0||60||0||0|
|Melon, honeydew, diced||1 cup||0.2||40||60||1||40||0||60||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||Total Fat (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|Raspberries, red||1 cup||0.8||310 150||2||310 0||150 0||0|
|Strawberries||1 cup||0.4||130 90||1||130 0||90 0||0|
|Watermelon, diced||1 cup||0.2||80 0||na||80 0||0 0||0|
|Whortleberries||1 cup||0.5||130 80||2||130 0||80 0||0|
|Amaranth||½ cup||6.4||2,760 60||46||2,760 0||60 0||0|
|Barley, pearled, cooked||½ cup||0.4||150 20||8||150 0||20 0||0|
|Bran, rice, crude||2 Tbsp||3.1||1,050 50||21||1,050 0||50 na||na|
|Bran, wheat, crude||2 Tbsp||0.3||150 10||15||150 0||10 0||0|
|Buckwheat||½ cup||2.9||820 70||12||820 0||70 0||0|
|Buckwheat, groats, roasted, cooked||½ cup||0.5||150 10||15||150 0||10 0||0|
|Millet, cooked||½ cup||0.9||420 20||21||420 0||20 0||0|
|Millet, puffed||½ cup||0.4||200 10||20||200 0||10 0||0|
|Oats, unprocessed whole grain||½ cup||5.4||1,890||90||21||1,890||0||90||0||0|
|Quinoa, dry||½ cup||4.9||1,880||110||17||1,880||0||110||0||0|
|Rice, brown, long grain, cooked||½ cup||0.9||300||10||30||300||0||10||0||0|
|Rice, white, long grain, unenriched,||½ cup||0.2||50||10||5||50||na||10||na||na|
|Triticale, grain, dry||½ cup||2.0||820||60||14||820||0||60||0||0|
|Wheat, bulgur, dry||½ cup||0.9||360||20||18||360||0||20||0||0|
|Wheat, durum, grain||½ cup||2.4||890||50||18||890||0||50||0||0|
|Wheat, germ, crude||2 Tbsp||1.4||760||100||8||760||0||100||0||0|
|Wheat, hard red winter, whole grain,||½ cup||1.5||580||30||19||580||0||30||0||0|
|Beans, black, cooked||½ cup||0.5||110||90||1||110||0||90||0||0|
|Beans, black-eyed, cooked||½ cup||0.5||120||70||2||120||0||70||0||0|
|Beans, black-eyed, plain, canned||½ cup||0.7||180||100||2||180||0||100||0||0|
|Beans, catjang cowpeas, cooked||½ cup||0.6||160||90||2||160||0||90||0||0|
|Beans, cowpeas, cooked||½ cup||0.5||120||70||2||120||0||70||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Beans, cowpeas, plain, canned||½ cup||0.7||180||100||2||180||0||100||0||0|
|Beans, cranberry, cooked||½ cup||0.4||100||80||1||100||0||80||0||0|
|Beans, cranberry/roman, canned||½ cup||0.4||90||70||1||90||0||70||0||0|
|Beans, fava, cooked||½ cup||0.3||130||10||13||130||0||10||0||0|
|Beans, fava/broad, canned, not drained||½ cup||0.3||110||10||11||110||0||10||0||0|
|Beans, garbanzo, cooked||½ cup||2.1||910||40||23||910||0||40||0||0|
|Beans, garbanzo, canned||½ cup||1.4||590||20||30||590||0||20||0||0|
|Beans, Great Northern, cooked||½ cup||0.4||90||70||1||90||0||70||0||0|
|Beans, Great Northern, canned||½ cup||0.5||120||90||1||120||0||90||0||0|
|Beans, kidney, all types, cooked||½ cup||0.4||90||150||1||90||0||150||0||0|
|Beans, kidney, all types, canned||½ cup||0.8||80||60||1||80||na||60||na||na|
|Beans, lentils, cooked f/dry w/o salt||½ cup||0.4||140||40||4||140||na||40||na||na|
|Beans, lima, baby, cooked||½ cup||0.4||110||50||2||110||0||50||0||0|
|Beans, lima, large, canned||½ cup||0.2||60||30||2||60||0||30||0||0|
|Beans, mung, cooked||½ cup||0.4||120||10||12||120||0||10||0||0|
|Beans, navy, cooked||½ cup||0.6||80||110||1||80||na||110||na||na|
|Beans, navy, canned||½ cup||0.6||130||110||1||130||0||110||0||0|
|Beans, pink, cooked||½ cup||0.4||100||80||1||100||0||80||0||0|
|Beans, pinto, cooked||½ cup||0.6||70||90||1||70||0||90||0||0|
|Beans, pinto, canned||½ cup||1.0||150||200||1||150||0||200||0||0|
|Beans, pinto, red, small, cooked||½ cup||0.4||60||80||1||60||0||80||0||0|
|Beans, roman, cooked||½ cup||0.4||100||80||1||100||0||80||0||0|
|Beans, white, cooked||½ cup||0.3||70||60||1||70||0||60||0||0|
|Beans, white, canned||½ cup||0.4||90||70||1||90||0||70||0||0|
|Soybeans, cooked||½ cup||7.7||3,840||510||8||3,840||na||510||na||na|
|Soybeans, green, cooked, drained||½ cup||5.8||2,390||320||7||2,390||0||320||0||0|
|Soybeans, roasted, unsalted||½ cup||21.8||10,870||1,460||7||10,870||na||1,460||na||na|
|Tofu, fermented and salted, block||3 ounces||6.8||3,390||450||8||3,390||0||450||0||0|
|Tofu, okara||3 ounces||1.5||570||80||7||570||0||80||0||0|
|Tofu, regular, w/calc. sulfate, ¼ block||3 ounces||4.1||2,020||270||7||2,020||0||270||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||Total Fat (g)||Total (mg) Omega-6||Total (mg) Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|MARGARINES AND SPREADS|
|Buttery spread, Earth Balance, natural||1 Tbsp||11.0||na||440||na|
|Buttery spread, Earth Balance, whipped||1 Tbsp||9.0||3,180||370||9|
|Buttery spread, Promise, 60% vegetable oil||1 Tbsp||8.0||3,400||400||9|
|Buttery spread, Promise, light||1 Tbsp||5.0||200||250||1|
|Buttery spread, Smart Balance Omega-Plus||1 Tbsp||9.0||2,200||550||4|
|Buttery spread, Smart Balance Organic, whipped||1 Tbsp||9.0||2,720||340||8|
|Buttery spread, Smart Balance, light, 37% vegetable oil||1 Tbsp||5.0||1,200||300||4|
|Margarine, 80% fat, tub||1 Tbsp||11.4||3,760||190||20||3,760||na||190||na||na|
|Margarine, 80% fat, stick||1 Tbsp||11.4||2,920||310||9||2,920||na||310||na||na|
|Margarine, Canola Harvest||1 Tbsp||11.0||2,000||1,000||2|
|Margarine, Canola Harvest Natural Selections||1 Tbsp||12.0||2,250||1,050||2|
|Margarine, Canola Harvest w/calcium||1 Tbsp||2,000||800||3|
|Margarine, Canola Harvest w/ﬂax||1 Tbsp||12.0||2,250||1,500||2|
|Margarine, Earth Balance, 1-lb||1 Tbsp||3,380||410||8|
|Margarine, fat-free, Smart Squeeze||1 Tbsp||0.3||150||24||6|
|Margarine, Nucoa, quarters||1 Tbsp||11.0||3,400||520||7|
|Margarine, Nucoa, soft||1 Tbsp||10.0||4,090||640||6|
|Margarine, Smart Balance||1 Tbsp||9.0||2,300||400||6|
|Margarine, Smart Balance Light||1 Tbsp||5.0||1,300||220||6|
|Margarine, Smart Beat Superlight||1 Tbsp||2.0||450||140||3|
|Margarine, Soy Garden||1 Tbsp||11.0||3,400||430||8|
|Mayonnaise, Best food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)s/Hellman’s,||1 Tbsp||10.0||2,200||1,100||2|
|Mayonnaise, fat-free, Smart Beat||1 Tbsp||0.2||190||30||6|
|Mayonnaise, imitation, soybean||1 Tbsp||2.9||1,350||240||6||1,350||0||240||0||0|
|Mayonnaise, imitation, tofu||1 Tbsp||4.7||2,190||300||7||2,190||na||300||na||na|
|Mayonnaise, Smart Balance Light||1 Tbsp||5.0||1,190||420||3|
|Mayonnaise, soybean oil||1 Tbsp||10.8||5,200||690||8||5,200||0||690||0||0|
|Total Fat food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Amount (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|MARGARINES AND SPREADS, continued|
|Spread, Benecol, light 1 Tbsp 5||1,100 600||2|
|Spread, Benecol, regular 1 Tbsp 8||1,800 300||6|
|Spread, Earth Balance, quarters 1 Tbsp 11||2,800 330||8|
|Spread, Smart Balance 5-lb 1 Tbsp 9||2,700 470||6|
|Spread, Take Control, light 1 Tbsp 5||2,000 200||10|
|Spread, Take Control, regular 1 Tbsp 8||3,400 350||10|
|Beef, bottom round roast, braised, 3 ounces 6.6 select, 0� trim||210 30||7||180 30||30 0||0|
|Beef, brains, cooked 3 ounces 9.0||340 730||� 1||30 300||0 0||730|
|Beef, brisket, ﬂat half, lean, braised, 3 ounces 5.0 select, 0� trim||160 10||16||140 20||10 0||0|
|Beef, chuck arm pot roast, lean, 3 ounces 4.9 braised, select, 0� trim||160 10||16||140 20||10 0||0|
|Beef, ﬂank steak, broiled, select, 0� trim||3 ounces||6.1||170||70||2||150||20||70||0||0|
|Beef, hamburger patty, broiled, 5% fat||3 ounces||5.6||240||40||6||200||40||40||na||na|
|Beef, hamburger patty, broiled, 10% fat||3 ounces||10.0||310||50||6||270||40||50||0||0|
|Beef, hamburger patty, broiled, 15% fat||3 ounces||13.2||350||50||7||310||40||50||na||na|
|Beef, hamburger patty, broiled, 20% fat||3 ounces||15.2||380||50||8||340||40||50||na||na|
|Beef, hamburger patty, broiled, 25% fat||3 ounces||15.9||390||40||10||350||40||40||na||na|
|Beef, porterhouse steak, broiled, select, 0� trim||3 ounces||15.3||450||160||3||420||30||160||0||0|
|Beef, rib-eye steak, lean, broiled, select, 0� trim||3 ounces||5.2||170||10||17||150||20||10||na||na|
|Beef, short ribs, lean, braised, choice, ¼� trim||3 ounces||15.4||410||40||10||370||40||40||na||na|
|Beef, T-bone steak, broiled, select, 0� trim||3 ounces||11.9||390||140||3||330||60||140||0||0|
|Beef, tenderloin, ﬁlet mignon, broiled, select, 0� trim||3 ounces||8.4||260||50||5||230||30||50||0||0|
|Beef, top loin, strip steak, broiled, select, 0� trim||3 ounces||5.2||160||30||5||140||20||30||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Total Fat Amount (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|Beef, top round steak, broiled, select, 0� trim||3 ounces 3.9||130 20||7||110 20||20 0||0|
|Beef, tri-tip roast, sirloin, roasted, select, 0� trim||3 ounces 8.3||230 40||6||200 30||40 0||0|
|Hot dog, pork||3 ounces 20.1||1,700 130||13||1,660 40||130 na||na|
|Hot dog, pork and turkey||3 ounces 25.4||3,420 200||17||3,350 70||190 0||0|
|Hot dog, pork, turkey, and beef, light||3 ounces 12.7||1,630 110||15||1,630 0||110 0||0|
|Kidney, beef, cooked||3 ounces 4.0||670 10||67||390 280||10 na||na|
|Kidney, lamb, braised||3 ounces 3.1||370 160||2||220 140||80 50||30|
|Kidney, pork, braised||3 ounces 4.0||310 10||31||210 100||10 0||0|
|Kidney, veal, braised||3 ounces 4.8||740 170||5||470 270||60 80||30|
|Lamb, Australian, average of all cuts, lean, cooked, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces 8.2||240 100||2||210 30||100 na||na|
|Lamb, Australian, center slice, lean, broiled, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces 6.5||240 90||3||200 40||90 na||na|
|Lamb, Australian, leg, shank half, lean, roasted, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||6.2||210||80||3||180||30||80||na||na|
|Lamb, Australian, leg, whole, lean, roasted, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||6.9||220||90||2||190||30||90||na||na|
|Lamb, Australian, rib, lean, roasted, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||9.9||260||110||2||230||30||110||na||na|
|Lamb, Australian, sirloin half, lean, roasted, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||9.1||280||110||3||250||na||110||na||na|
|Lamb, average of all cuts, cooked, choice, ¼� trim||3 ounces||17.8||1,030||260||4||970||60||260||na||na|
|Lamb, brains, braised||3 ounces||8.7||260||500||1||30||230||0||0||500|
|Lamb, NZ, average of all cuts, cooked f/fzn||3 ounces||18.9||540||340||2||520||20||340||na||na|
|Lamb, NZ, foreshank, braised f/fzn, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||13.5||390||240||2||370||20||240||0||0|
|Lamb, NZ, leg, whole, roasted f/fzn, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||11.9||370||210||2||350||20||210||0||0|
|Lamb, NZ, loin chop, broiled f/fzn, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||18.1||510||320||2||490||20||320||na||na|
|Lamb, NZ, rib, roasted f/fzn, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces||21.9||620||400||2||590||30||400||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Total Fat Amount (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|Lamb, NZ, shoulder, whole, braised f/fzn, ¹/8� trim||3 ounces 20.4||700 370||2||660 30||370 0||0|
|Lamb, sweetbread, braised||3 ounces 12.9||380 250||2||240 140||250 0||0|
|Liver, beef, braised||3 ounces 4.5||520 20||26||320 190||20 na||na|
|Liver, lamb, braised||3 ounces 7.5||1,010 100||10||480 530||100 0||0|
|Liver, pork, braised, 1� cubic piece||3 ounces 3.7||800 60||13||350 450||30 0||30|
|Liver, veal, braised||3 ounces 5.3||830 30||28||550 280||30 na||na|
|Pork, backribs, roasted||3 ounces 25.2||1,810 80||23||1,740 70||80 na||na|
|Pork, chop, blade loin, lean, broiled||3 ounces 11.8||870 30||29||830 30||30 na||na|
|Pork, chop, center loin, broiled||3 ounces 11.1||760 30||25||710 40||30 na||na|
|Pork, chop, sirloin, lean, w/bone, broiled||3 ounces 8.6||700 20||35||650 40||20 na||na|
|Pork, chop, top loin, broiled||3 ounces 5.3||460 20||23||390 60||20 na||na|
|Pork, cured ham, center slice||3 ounces 11.0||730 120||6||660 70||120 na||na|
|Pork, ham, shank half, lean, roasted,||3 ounces||8.9||760||20||38||700||60||20||0||0|
|Pork, shoulder, arm, lean, roasted||3 ounces||10.7||950||30||32||880||70||30||na||na|
|Pork, shoulder, blade, Boston roast,||3 ounces||16.0||1,370||50||27||1,320||50||50||na||na|
|Pork, shoulder, ham hocks, cooked||3 ounces||19.8||1,800||60||30||1,720||80||60||na||na|
|Pork, tenderloin, lean, roasted||3 ounces||4.1||330||10||32||300||30||10||na||na|
|Sausage, beef and pork, smoked, link,||3 ounces||24.4||3,050||180||17||2,960||70||180||na||na|
|Sausage, beef, precooked||3 ounces||32.0||690||60||12||660||30||60||na||na|
|Sausage, bratwurst, beef and pork,|
|Sausage, bratwurst, pork, cooked||3 ounces||24.8||2,140||100||21||2,040||100||100||na||na|
|Sausage, Polish, pork and beef, smoked||3 ounces||22.6||2,120||280||8||2,120||0||280||0||0|
|Veal, average of all cuts, lean, cooked||3 ounces||5.6||480||30||2||380||90||30||0||0|
|Veal, brains, braised||3 ounces||8.2||80||0||na||80||na||na||na||na|
|Veal, breast, whole, lean, braised||3 ounces||8.3||610||30||20||530||80||30||na||na|
|Veal, ground, broiled, 8% fat||3 ounces||6.4||430||40||11||350||80||40||0||0|
|Veal, leg, top round steak, lean, roasted||3 ounces||2.9||230||20||12||180||50||20||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||Fat (g)||(mg) Omega-6||(mg) Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Veal, loin chop, lean, roasted||3 ounces||5.9||450||30||15||360||90||30||0||0|
|Veal, short ribs, lean, roasted||3 ounces||6.3||540||30||18||430||100||30||na||na|
|Veal, sirloin steak, lean, roasted||3 ounces||5.3||370||30||12||300||70||30||na||na|
|Bacon substitute, vegetarian, strips||3 ounces||25.1||11,700||1,430||8||11,700||0||1,430||0||0|
|Beef substitute, vegetarian, ﬁllet||3 ounces||15.3||7,050||880||8||7,050||0||880||0||0|
|Beef substitute, vegetarian, meatballs||3 ounces||7.7||3,530||440||8||3,530||0||440||0||0|
|Beef substitute, vegetarian, meatloaf, slice||3 ounces||7.7||3,530||440||8||3,530||0||440||0||0|
|Beef substitute, Morningstar Farms, recipe crumbles||3 ounces||10.0||3,400||410||8||3,400||0||410||0||0|
|Burger substitute, Morningstar Farms, black bean, spicy||1||0.8||310||40||8||310||0||40||0||0|
|Burger substitute, Morningstar Better ’n Burger, frozen||1||0.5||140||20||7||140||0||20||0||0|
|Burger substitute, Morningstar Farms,||1||3.8||2,120||40||53||2,120||0||40||0||0|
|Garden Veggie Patties|
|Burger substitute, Gardetto’s,||1||4.1||240||20||12||240||0||20||0||0|
|Harvest Burger, original|
|Burger substitute, vegetarian, soy||3 ounces||5.1||1,780||220||8||1,780||0||220||0||0|
|Chicken substitute, vegetarian||3 ounces||10.8||3,790||480||8||3,790||na||480||na||na|
|Chili, vegetarian, w/beans, canned||1 cup||0.7||200||170||1||200||na||170||na||na|
|Fish sticks substitute, vegetarian||3 ounces||15.3||7,050||880||8||7,050||0||880||0||0|
|Hot dog substitute, Worthington,||1||6.2||3,230||80||40||3,230||0||80||0||0|
|Mayonnaise, imitation, tofu||1 Tbsp||4.7||2,190||300||7||2,190||na||300||na||na|
|Sausage substitute, Morningstar Farms,||1||2.8||1,250||60||21||1,250||0||60||0||0|
|Almond butter||1 Tbsp||9.2||1,860||70||27||1,860||na||70||na||na|
|Almond butter, unsalted||1 Tbsp||9.5||1,900||70||27||1,900||na||70||na||na|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Almonds, dry roasted, whole||1 ounce||15.0||3,590||0||na||3,590||0||0||0||0|
|Brazil nuts||1 ounce||18.8||5,820||10||582||5,820||0||10||0||0|
|Cashew butter||1 Tbsp||7.9||1,310||30||44||1,310||na||30||na||na|
|Chestnuts, European, dried||1 ounce||1.3||450||50||9||450||0||50||0||0|
|Chia seeds||1 ounce||8.7||1,640||4,980||� 1||1,640||0||4,980||0||0|
|Hemp nuts||1 ounce||13.2||7,700||2,430||3||7,700||na||2,430||na||na|
|Hickory nuts||1 ounce||18.3||5,850||300||20||5,850||na||300||na||na|
|Macadamia nuts||1 ounce||21.5||370||60||6||370||0||60||0||0|
|Mixed nuts, with peanuts||1 ounce||14.6||2,990||50||60||2,990||na||50||na||na|
|Nuts formed f/wheat, unﬂavored||1 ounce||16.4||5,950||480||12||5,950||0||480||0||0|
|Peanut butter, chunky||1 Tbsp||8.0||2,350||10||235||2,350||0||10||0||0|
|Peanut butter, chunky, vitamin and||1 Tbsp||8.2||2,330||10||233||2,330||0||10||0||0|
|Peanut butter, creamy||1 Tbsp||8.1||2,210||10||221||2,210||0||10||na||na|
|Peanut butter, creamy, reduced fat||1 ounce||9.6||2,590||10||259||2,590||na||10||na||na|
|Peanut butter, reduced sodium||1 Tbsp||8.0||2,280||10||228||2,250||30||10||na||na|
|Peanuts, oil roasted||1 ounce||14.0||4,420||0||na||4,420||na||0||na||na|
|Peanuts, Spanish, oil roasted||1 ounce||13.9||4,820||0||na||4,820||na||0||na||na|
|Peanuts, Spanish, raw||1 ounce||14.1||4,870||0||na||4,870||na||0||na||na|
|Peanuts, Valencia||1 ounce||13.5||4,670||0||na||4,670||na||0||na||na|
|Peanuts, Virginia||1 ounce||13.8||4,160||10||416||4,150||10||10||0||0|
|Pine nuts, pignolia||1 ounce||19.4||9,400||50||188||9,400||0||50||na||na|
|Pine nuts, pinon/pinyon||1 ounce||17.3||7,050||220||32||7,050||na||220||0||0|
|Pistachio nuts||1 ounce||12.6||3,750||70||53||3,750||10||70||0||0|
|Pumpkin and squash seeds, kernels,||1 ounce||13.0||5,870||50||117||5,870||na||50||na||na|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Pumpkin and squash seeds, kernels,||1 ounce||11.9||5,390||50||108||5,390||na||50||na||na|
|Pumpkin and squash seeds, whole,||1 ounce||5.5||2,480||20||124||2,480||na||20||na||na|
|Sunﬂower seed butter||1 Tbsp||7.6||5,030||10||503||5,030||na||10||na||na|
|Sunﬂower seeds, dried||1 ounce||14.1||9,250||20||463||9,250||na||20||na||na|
|Sunﬂower seeds, oil roasted||1 ounce||14.5||9,700||20||485||9,700||na||20||na||na|
|Walnuts, black||1 ounce||16.7||9,380||570||16||9,380||0||570||0||0|
|Walnuts, English||1 ounce||18.5||10,800||2,570||4||10,800||na||2,570||na||na|
|Avocado oil||1 Tbsp||14||1,750||130||13||1,750||0||130||0||0|
|Black raspberry seed oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||8,098||5,107||2||8,098||na||5,107||na||na|
|Blueberry oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||6,308||3,640||2||6,308||na||3,640||na||na|
|Boysenberry oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||7,801||2,828||3||7,801||na||2,828||na||na|
|Canola oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||2,840||1,300||2||2,840||na||1,300||na||na|
|Caraway oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||8,494||35||243||8,094||na||35||na||na|
|Carrot oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||1,913||41||47||1,913||na||41||na||na|
|Cocoa butter oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||380||10||38||380||na||10||na||na|
|Coconut oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||240||0||na||240||0||0||na||na|
|Corn oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||7,280||160||46||7,280||na||160||na||na|
|Cottonseed oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||7,020||30||234||7,000||na||30||na||na|
|Cranberry oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||6,567||3,231||2||6,425||na||3,231||na||na|
|Flaxseed oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||1,730||7,250||� 1||1,730||0||7,250||0||0|
|Grapeseed oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||9,470||10||947||9,470||na||10||na||na|
|Hemp oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||8,694||2,803||3||8,694||na||2,803||na||na|
|Hemp nut oil||1 Tbsp||11.7||8,265||2,755||3||8,265||na||2,755||na||na|
|Marionberry oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||9,106||2,291||4||9,106||na||2,291||na||na|
|Mustard oil||1 Tbsp||14||2,150||830||3||2,150||0||830||0||0|
|Oat oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||5,310||240||22||5,310||0||240||0||0|
|Olive oil||1 Tbsp||13.5||1,320||100||13||1,320||0||100||0||0|
|Palm kernel oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||220||0||na||220||0||0||0||0|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||(g)||Omega-6||Omega-3||6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|Palm oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||1,240||30||41||1,240||0||30||na||na|
|Peanut oil||1 Tbsp||13.5||4,320||0||na||4,320||0||0||0||0|
|Red raspberry oil||1 Tbsp||14.5||7,685||4,698||2||7,685||na||4,698||na||na|
|Rice bran oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||4,540||220||21||4,540||0||220||0||0|
|Safﬂower oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||10,149||trace||77||10,150||0||0||0||0|
|Sesame oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||5,620||40||141||5,620||na||40||na||na|
|Sheanut oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||670||40||17||670||0||40||0||0|
|Soybean oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||6,940||920||8||6,940||na||920||na||na|
|Soybean oil, hydrogenated||1 Tbsp||13.6||4,750||350||14||4,750||na||350||na||na|
|Soybean oil, part hydrogenated,||1 Tbsp||13.6||1,170||30||39||1,170||na||30||na||na|
|Sunﬂower oil, greater than 70% oleic||1 Tbsp||14||500||30||17||500||0||30||0||0|
|Sunﬂower oil, hydrogenated, linoleic||1 Tbsp||13.6||4,800||120||40||4,800||na||120||na||na|
|Sunﬂower oil, less than 60% linoleic||1 Tbsp||13.6||5,410||30||180||5,410||na||30||na||na|
|Tea seed oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||3,020||100||30||3,020||na||100||na||na|
|Tomato seed oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||6,910||310||22||6,910||0||310||0||0|
|Walnut oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||7,190||1,410||5||7,190||0||1,410||0||0|
|Wheat-germ oil||1 Tbsp||13.6||7,450||940||8||7,450||0||940||0||0|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, breast, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||3.0||550||50||71||500||50||30||10||20|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, breast, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||6.6||1,260||90||14||1,200||60||50||10||30|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, dark meat, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||8.3||1,710||130||13||1,590||120||80||10||40|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, dark meat, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||13.4||2,710||180||15||2,590||120||120||20||40|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, drumstick, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||4.8||1,020||90||11||920||100||40||10||40|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, drumstick, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||9.5||1,920||120||16||1,820||100||80||10||30|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, light meat, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||3.8||700||70||10||630||70||30||10||30|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Amount||Total Fat (g)||Total (mg) Omega-6||Total (mg) Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, light meat, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||9.2||1,760||120||16||1,680||80||80||10||30|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, thigh, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||9.3||1,900||140||14||1,790||121||90||10||40|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, thigh, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||13.2||2,650||170||16||2,540||110||120||10||40|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, wing, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||6.9||1,240||130||10||1,100||140||50||20||60|
|Chicken, broiler/fryer, wing, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||16.6||3,170||200||16||3,040||130||130||20||50|
|Chicken, capon, whole, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||9.9||1,960||130||16||1,890||70||90||10||30|
|Chicken, stewing, light meat, w/o skin, stewed||3 ounces||6.8||1,320||120||11||1,070||250||50||na||70|
|Chicken, stewing, whole, w/skin, stewed||3 ounces||16.1||3,210||230||15||3,000||210||140||20||70|
|Cornish game hen, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||3.3||730||60||15||590||140||30||10||20|
|Cornish game hen, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||15.5||2,880||180||17||2,720||160||140||20||20|
|Duck, whole, w/o skin, roasted, domesticated||3 ounces||9.5||1,100||120||9||1,100||0||120||0||0|
|Duck, whole, w/skin, roasted, domesticated||3 ounces||24.1||2,860||250||11||2,860||0||250||0||0|
|Sausage, turkey, cooked||3 ounces||8.9||2,140||150||14||2,030||110||150||na||na|
|Turkey, avg, breast, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||6.3||1,370||100||15||1,230||140||70||na||30|
|Turkey, avg, dark meat, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||6.1||1,690||110||15||1,470||220||60||0||50|
|Turkey, avg, dark meat, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||9.8||2,420||160||15||2,220||200||120||na||40|
|Turkey, avg, light meat, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||7.1||1,530||120||14||1,390||140||90||na||30|
|Turkey, avg, wing, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||10.6||2,260||170||14||2,120||140||140||na||30|
|Turkey, fryer/roaster, breast, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||0.6||140||10||14||110||61||na||na||10|
|Turkey, fryer/roaster, leg, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||3.2||890||60||18||780||110||30||0||30|
|Turkey, fryer/roaster, leg, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces||4.6||1,170||80||15||1,050||110||50||0||30|
|Turkey, fryer/roaster, light meat, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces||1.0||230||20||12||180||50||10||na||10|
|food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)||Total Fat Amount (g)||Total Total (mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||Omega-6 LA AA||Omega-3 ALA EPA||DHA|
|Turkey, fryer/roaster, wing, w/o skin, roasted||3 ounces 2.9||670 50||13||520 150||20 na||30|
|Turkey, leg, w/o skin, cooked||3 ounces 6.1||1,690 110||15||1,470 220||60 0||50|
|Turkey, patty||3 ounces 12.9||3,070 260||12||3,030 40||240 0||20|
|Turkey, thigh, prebasted, w/skin, roasted||3 ounces 7.3||1,860 120||15||1,680 180||90 0||30|
|Antelope, roasted||3 ounces 2.3||410 80||5||280 130||80 0||0|
|Bear, cooked||3 ounces 11.4||1,610 70||23||1,340 270||40 na||30|
|Beaver, roasted||3 ounces 5.9||910 240||4||910 0||240 0||0|
|Beefalo, roasted||3 ounces 5.4||120 50||2||120 8||50 0||0|
|Bison, ground, pan-broiled||3 ounces 12.9||540 70||8||470 70||70 0||0|
|Bison, rib-eye steak, lean, 1� thick, broiled||3 ounces 4.8||200 30||7||170 20||30 0||0|
|Bison, roasted||3 ounces||2.1||170||30||6||110||60||30||0||0|
|Bison, shoulder clod roast, lean, braised||3 ounces||4.6||190||20||10||170||20||20||0||0|
|Bison, top sirloin steak, lean 1� thick,||3 ounces||4.8||200||30||7||170||20||30||0||0|
|Boar, wild, roasted||3 ounces||3.7||520||30||17||430||90||30||0||0|
|Caribou, roasted||3 ounces||3.8||420||80||5||260||150||30||na||50|
|Deer, chop, cooked||3 ounces||8.0||1,970||200||10||1,860||110||200||na||na|
|Deer, ground, pan broiled||3 ounces||7.0||290||80||4||220||70||80||na||na|
|Deer, loin, lean, 1� thick steak, broiled||3 ounces||2.0||60||20||3||50||10||20||0||0|
|Deer, roasted||3 ounces||2.7||450||80||6||340||110||80||0||0|
|Deer, tenderloin, lean, broiled||3 ounces||2.0||80||20||4||60||20||20||na||na|
|Deer, top round steak, lean, 1� thick,||3 ounces||1.6||80||30||3||60||20||30||0||0|
|Elk, ground, pan broiled||3 ounces||7.4||280||60||5||210||70||60||na||na|
|Elk, loin, lean, broiled||3 ounces||3.3||120||30||4||90||30||30||na||na|
|Elk, round, lean, broiled||3 ounces||2.3||80||20||4||60||20||20||na||na|
|Elk, roasted||3 ounces||1.6||290||50||6||200||90||50||0||0|
|Elk, tenderloin, lean, broiled||3 ounces||2.9||110||20||6||80||30||20||na||na|
|Fat food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com) Amount (g)||(mg) (mg) Omega-6 Omega-3||Ratio 6:3||LA||AA||ALA||EPA||DHA|
|WILD MEATS, continued|
|Goat, broiled 3 ounces 2.6||180 20||9||110||70||20||0||0|
|Moose, roasted 3 ounces 0.8||240 30||8||160||80||30||0||0|
|Opossum, roasted 3 ounces 8.7||2,480 60||41||2,480||0||60||0||0|
|Pheasant, whole, cooked 3 ounces 10.3||900 110||8||900||na||110||na||na|
|Rabbit, roasted, domestic 3 ounces 6.9||1,050 270||4||1,050||0||270||0||0|
|Squirrel, roasted 3 ounces 4.0||1,130 100||11||990||140||20||0||80|
|Venison, chop, cooked 3 ounces 8.0||1,970 200||10||1,860||110||200||na||na|
|Venison, roasted 3 ounces 2.7||450 80||6||340||110||80||0||0|
|Water buffalo, roasted 3 ounces 1.5||270 40||7||180||90||40||0||0|
|PROCESSED AND CONVENIENCE food(Buy now from http://www.drugswell.com)S|
|Bar, granola, chocolate chip, uncoated, 1 7.1 soft, ¹/5 oz||800 40||20||800||0||40||0||0|
|Bar, granola, nut and raisin, uncoated, 1 5.8 soft, 1 oz||1,520 50||30||1,520||0||50||0||0|
|Bar, granola, plain, hard||1||4.9||2,940||10||294||2,940||0||10||0||0|
|Bar, granola, raisin, uncoated, soft||1||7.6||1,290||70||18||1,290||0||70||0||0|
|Biscuit, buttermilk, art ﬂvr, refrig dough||1||1.4||290||20||15||290||0||20||0||0|
|Biscuit, buttermilk, refrig dough||1||8.7||190||20||10||190||0||20||0||0|
|Bread, 7 grain, slice, toasted||1 piece||1.0||230||20||12||230||0||20||0||0|
|Bread, Armenian||1 piece||0.7||260||20||13||260||0||20||0||0|
|Bread, banana, homemade||1 piece||6.0||1,700||80||21||1,690||10||80||na||20|
|w/margarine, loaf, indiv size|