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Thread: Heating omega-3s page

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    Clymb's Avatar
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    Heating omega-3s

    Is it ok to heat foods containing omega-3s? I was just always under the impression that they were very fragile when it comes to heat, yet we cook meat/fish/eggs etc. that contain them. Isn't that part of why you aren't supposed to heat flaxseed oil or walnuts, because of how quickly they'll go rancid? Or is that not to do with the omega-3s?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clymb View Post
    Is it ok to heat foods containing omega-3s? I was just always under the impression that they were very fragile when it comes to heat, yet we cook meat/fish/eggs etc. that contain them. Isn't that part of why you aren't supposed to heat flaxseed oil or walnuts, because of how quickly they'll go rancid? Or is that not to do with the omega-3s?
    All of the PUFAs are rather unstable and oxidize easily. Once extracted from their whole food source, they are even more so. Flax (short chain PUFA linoleic) is the most easily oxidized. the other nut oils (also short chain PUFA) , while delicate, are less so than flax.

    The long chain Ω3 still bound up in its food souce (ie salmon) is pretty much fine while cooked though the higher the temps/longer cooking the more damage occurs. Even once incorporated into our bodies (ie cell membranes and other locations) they are easily oxidized which is why we want to overall minimize PUFA (while keeping Ω3:Ω6 balanced) while focusing mostly on SaFA and to a lesser extent, the very stable MUFA (think Mac nut oil, EVOO)

    K

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    When coconut oil is being cooked the saturated fat actually protects the bits of omega 6 from being oxidized, and it is like this in fish and meat. Flax and other polyunsaturated oils are simply high in omega 6 and low in saturated and monounsaturated fats. Mark did a post earlier about how it isn't so bad to cook with olive oil. Generally we don't want to overcook food, though. Best to minimize polyunsaturated fat itself.
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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    Clymb's Avatar
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    Hmmm ok, thanks guys. I just wondered if there was something to the eating-animal-foods-raw thing.

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    Oh, and what about egg protein? I've read time and time again that heat "ruins" the protein in eggs, as it's very delicate. Is this true?

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    I like my egg proteins ruined . Joking aside, a quick search on Wikipedia (good source, I know) tells me that raw egg protein is ~50% available, while cooked it's more like 90%.

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