Flax and Chia are Better Sources of Omega 3 than Fish
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are fatty acids that are an essential part of our diet. Hundreds of studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death (by 45%), protects against hypertension, stroke, and improves blood pressure, vascular function, lipid metabolism, inflammation and cardiac function.
The omega-3 fatty acid-rich oils have also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, including many studies in diabetics. The omega-3 fatty acids are being recommended to treat or prevent not only high cholesterol levels, but also high blood pressure, other cardiovascular diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, and many others.
Since the start of the 1900s the industrialised nations, have had diets becoming increasingly deficient in these essential fatty acids. Further, the dietary ratio between omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid omega-3 increased continuously over the same period. These fatty acids are “essential” lipids because the body cannot synthesize them from new. They must therefore be provided through food and their dietary balance is essential to maintain optimal health and brain functions.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the only essential fats that humans need from dietary sources. Although studies are inconsistent, some evidence indicates that consuming more omega-3s relative to omega-6s could be beneficial to the cardiovascular system and possibly have other health benefits as well. A common strategy to get more omega-3s has been to eat fish. A new mainstream twist is to have genetically modified soy produce a substance with a chemical structure similar to fish oil. At Nushie’s Natural we do not believe that genetically modifylng the food chain can be good for us.
Fish oil is made up of a long chain Omega-3 fatty acid which it has been assumed is better absorbed by the body than short chain omega-3 fatty acids found in plants.
A recent European study has found that the plant based short chain omega-3 such as ground Flaxseed or Chia is a superior alternative to either fish oil or synthetically produced plant based long chain omega-3 fatty acids.
As Natural News explains:
Animals cannot make either omega- 6 or omega-3 fats, so they must get these essentials from plants. Since wild fish eat omega-3-rich wild plants (or eat other fish that ate wild plants), these animals have relatively high amounts of omega-3 fats stored in their bodies. That is why wild fish and fish oil are high in omega-3s. In fact, the original source of this nutrient is marine algae.
Fish and fish oil supplements have numerous problems of their own, which can outweigh any omega-3 benefits. Fish are a concentrated source of heavy metals (such as mercury), persistent organic pollutants, and cholesterol. Even the so-called pure or distilled brands of fish oil capsules have been found to contain dangerous persistent organic pollutants (toxic manmade chemicals that accumulate in the environment).
Even more concerning, overfishing and pollution are driving numerous fish species to extinction. Over 90% of the large fish in the oceans have been destroyed. There are not enough fish left in degraded ecosystems to supply omega-3s to seven billion people on the planet.
Industry is now getting ready to push genetically modified soy, engineered to produce long-chain omega-3 fats, as another choice. The resulting soy oil can be added to an endless list of processed foods in order to “enrich” them with omega-3s. Considering the hazards of GMOs, this could be viewed as presenting just another disastrous alternative.
Ground flax seed is the solution for consumers wanting to avoid persistent organic pollutants, depleting sea life, and genetically modified oils.
The popular press has raised concerns that humans cannot convert the short-chain omega-3s in flax and other foods (such as walnuts and chia seeds) into the long-chain forms the body actually uses. A recent study out of Europe proves this concern is unfounded. Research on over 14,000 adults found that those on a 100% plant-based diet had circulating levels of long-chain omega-3s comparable to the levels of those who ate large amounts of fish. The researchers theorize that the body becomes more efficient at producing long-chain omega-3s when less is eaten.
In addition, ground flax seed is packed with fiber. As a final bonus, flax is high in lignans, a phytochemical (beneficial plant-based nutrient) that is protective against breast and prostate cancer. A target amount is two tablespoons a day of ground flax seed to get all the omega-3s required.
Flax seed has also been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Nushie’s Natural believes in the benefits of whole foods and the natural nutrients that they contain. Our Organic Flaxseed Crackers (77% Flaxseed) and Organiic Chia Crackers (20% Chia) are made from the natural rolled seeds and are dehydrated not cooked thereby maintaining the integrity of their nutrients. They are gluten and refined sugar free, contain no artificial additives or preservatives and they taste fabulous.
Sources, further reading:
Textbook of Natural Medicine 2nd Edition Volume 2 by Michael T. Murray, ND
The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs by Robert S. McCaleb, Evelyn Leigh, and Krista Morien
Demark-Wahnefried W, Price DT, Polascik TJ, et al. Pilot study of dietary fat restriction and flaxseed supplementation in men with prostate cancer before surgery: exploring the effects on hormonal levels, prostate-specific antigen, and histopathologic features Urology 2001 Jul;58(1):47-52
For a detailed study of the benefits of flaxseed go to: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81