Tag: omega 3s

Reader Response: Better Fish Choices

Thanks so much to everyone for their comments and emails on last week’s “Farmed versus Wild Salmon” post. The response, both posted and personal, was amazing. It’s what I love about doing the blog – getting you, our MDA readers, the information you want and the resources you can use. Keep those comments and suggestions coming!

I wanted to follow up on a few questions in particular. A number of folks, including David, wanted to know if you could tell how “wild” salmon was from the label. Also, what other kinds of fish would I recommend if salmon, for financial and/or personal environmental commitments, is off the table? Finally, readers like Brett were interested in knowing whether other canned fish like mackerel and sardines were necessarily wild and healthy alternatives.

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Salmon: Factory Farm vs. Wild

Last week I noted in my podcast with Jimmy Moore how expensive genuine wild salmon can cost. Since then, I?ve received a healthy number of emails asking for more info, tips, and the real benefits behind buying ?wild.?

What exactly are salmon ?farms?? How does the farm setting change the nutritional content of salmon? Is there really that much of a difference? Is farmed salmon even worth buying?

First off, salmon farms of some kind make up about 80% of salmon on the market today. (In the United States, the number is higher ? 90% by some estimates.) Thirty percent come from traditional hatcheries, and the remaining 50% are raised in aquaculture or ?open pen nets? just off shore. Farms can ?raise? up to a million salmon at a time. I?ll throw in a visual.

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Dear Mark: Is Flax Bad?

Dear Mark,

I’ve been researching flax and am ready to pull the plug on my dedicated flaxseed grinder. The kicker was seeing flaxseeds associated with prostate cancer. What?s your take?

Thanks to reader Clare for the thoughtful correspondence on flax. This is exactly why I love doing this blog. Research continues to unfold, and the conversation never fails to engage and inspire me.

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Dear Mark: Cooking Omegas

Dear Mark,

What are your thoughts on Barry’s suggestion that there is some sort of problem in cooking O-3 enhanced eggs? I’ve seen similar things related to flax seed oil and roasted & toasted walnuts, etc. What is the bottom line on cooking with omega-3s?

Thanks to Ed and others who offered up similar questions in response to last week’s Enough Omegas? post.

Polyunsaturated fats (which include omega-3 fatty acids) are, indeed, very prone to oxidation when exposed to heat, light or oxygen. This oxidation essentially renders them rancid to some extent, and this will result in less appealing taste (and smell) as well as decreased nutritional value. Add to that the damage imposed by the resulting free radicals, and that “healthy” food has now become a health hazard.

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Dear Mark: Nuts

Dear Mark,

Can you give me more explanation about nuts and seeds? I eat a ton of them and am always confused about which ones are actually nuts and which are seeds and which are legumes. Does it make any difference if you eat them whole, roasted, raw or as nut butter?

Thanks to reader Charlotte for these questions in response to last week’s “Get Primal” post. The classification question does get tricky.

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Enough Omegas?

After much discussion some weeks ago about the importance of omegas, we thought it was time to get down and detailed. How exactly can you get enough omega-3s in your diet? We have some answers. As we mentioned earlier, the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 should partly determine your omega-3 needs, but we recommend 1-3 grams of omega-3 a day.

A big part of the nutritional breakdown relates to the type of omega-3. We’ll look at the three prominent members of the omega-3 group: EPA, DHA, ALA. Many of the food sources we’ve included are what we’d consider good or best sources, but we threw some commonly eaten but less beneficial sources in for comparison sake. The amounts are listed in grams per 100 grams (about 3.5 oz.) of food serving. You can find the full list of omega-3 content on the National Library of Medicine site.

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Dear Mark: Encore on Omegas

The posts involving omega-3s have spurred a lot of discussion and a good number of excellent questions. Thanks to Ed Parsons and company I thought I’d give more time to the topic and see if I can complete the picture a little more. Thank you for your comments and questions.

Dear Mark,

Can you give us some rules of thumb for getting into the 1:1 ratio ballpark? Should I be trying to hit the ratio for every meal, for each day, or by the week, or even over a longer time period?

Just to review, the hailed 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids provides your body with the appropriate balance thought to keep inflammation at bay. I would advise making the ratio a priority each day. Targeting the ratio for every meal can get unnecessarily complicated, and longer spans like a week don’t take into account your body’s constant hormonal production, which is influenced by the fatty acids.

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More on Omega

Last week’s Definitive Guide to Fats gave us a chance to unpack the essential fatty acids. But we thought they deserved a closer look still.

Just to review, omega-3 and omega-6 are known as “essential” fatty acids because the body can’t produce them itself. So, it’s up to us to incorporate them into our diet. The typical Western diet is rich in omega-6. (Think corn, soy, peanut, safflower, and other oils.) As for the prevalence of omega-3? Not so much. (Think fish, flax, algae, walnuts, and animal products from grass fed livestock.)

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Why Lean Meat?

There’s been a lively discussion going on in the comment board of yesterday’s “Dear Mark: Pondering Protein” post. I want to make myself clear about what I mean when I say “lean meats”. Here is a markus’s great comment and my reply:

can’t see why you seem to think that Paleolithic man ate lean meats (certainly not on purpose anyway)

many anthropologists and ethnobiologists since the turn of the century noted traditional societies actively sought out the fat – Aborigines come to mind. Never mind the Samburu and Masai herdsmen or the North American Indians or Eskimo (the latter did not all eat fish).

Are you influenced by Cordain?

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Why Does the FDA Call This Omega-3-Rich Green a Weed?

Purslane belongs in your diet! This abundant “weed” is a deliciously sour green that makes a wonderful addition to salads, stir fries, vegetable dishes, soups, and salsas. It pairs nicely with citrus and melon. It’s a tasty complement to pork, fish, and protein-rich beans such as lentils.

Purslane is the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids of any green, leafy vegetable. Interestingly, purslane contains the EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) form of Omega-3, which is rare for a plant source of fatty acids. Purslane is also naturally high in magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and iron. Pretty incredible, isn’t it!

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