Tag: omega 3s

You’re Krilling Me

I’ve gotten so many emails from you all asking about the possible superior health benefits of krill oil over fish oil, we should discuss it here at the blog. Nutrition fads come and go and some of the claims are certainly amusing. If it’s not pomegranate it’s goji berries or acai. If it’s not red wine it’s kombucha. We’ve covered many of these in previous blog posts (see the links below). Krill oil is claimed by some to be superior to fish oil. No doubt, I think we all ought to be getting more Omega-3’s into our bodies. But should you go for the krill?

Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans and they are the primary food source of baleen whales (a single whale gleans 4 tons of these tiny shrimp every day). Krill feed on plankton and as such are a critical part of the increasingly fragile Antarctic ecosystem. In general, of course, all our oceans are a mess – whether from over-fishing or pollution or a combination thereof. There’s no question that Omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources are excellent for human health; the trouble is finding the best, safest, purest, and most environmentally responsible source.

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The 16 Most Powerful Foods

Here they are: perhaps the most nutritionally potent, anti-aging, bang-for-your-buck super foods nature has to offer, as recommended by Mark. If you can shoot for getting these power foods into your diet on a weekly basis, you’ll be doing very well indeed. Bookmark the list or print it out and keep it on the fridge. There are dozens more powerful foods, of course, so be sure to add your favorite recommendations in the comments at the bottom of the post!

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Best Brain Foods

Nourish your noggin. Here are 10 excellent foods that enhance hormone production, brain chemistry, memory, mood, and cognition. Think of these foods as brainiac batteries. (Solutions to Sudoku not included.)

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8 Essential Aging Hacks

We face eight key health challenges as we age. The steps you take to prevent and mitigate these challenges can make the difference between just hobbling through your golden years and actually thriving. There’s just no reason not to enjoy energy and vitality well into your seventies, eighties and beyond. Everyone’s into hacks: life hacks, brain hacks, productivity hacks, tech hacks, budget hacks, house hacks. I’m into aging hacks. Let us hack. Here are the top health issues we all must face when we descend to the other side of the hill, and the smart steps you can take – now – to stop them. Although I think it’s worth stating that the hill metaphor of life should be chucked entirely. “Over the hill” doesn’t make sense in this day and age with all the amazing scientific and nutritional advances of which we can take endless advantage. So I prefer to think of life as a gently sloping valley that gets a bit steeper the closer you get to the other side. You just need a few more tools to ace the slope. 1. Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome This is the biggest cause of preventable death, because it’s linked to virtually all the other major causes of death (cancer, diabetes, heart disease). 75% of adults over 60 are overweight or obese. Obesity and poor health go hand in hand. It’s almost impossible to live a long, healthy life if you are seriously overweight. No wonder we’ve got such a massive health care tab and drastically reduced quality of life among seniors. Though I ought to quibble with the BMI, for the purposes of this post I won’t. The general guideline is to make sure your waist is less than 40″ if you’re a man and 35″ if you’re a woman. I don’t recommend focusing on LDL cholesterol to the detriment of other crucial factors like raising your good (HDL) cholesterol and keeping your triglycerides and inflammation under absolute control. The four simple steps required: – Eat smart protein that contains good fat: grass-fed meat, wild fish, DHA-enhanced eggs, fermented tofu (and take a fish oil supplement, too). – Cook with olive oil or walnut oil. – Absolutely avoid all refined foods that contain processed grains, sugars, corn syrup, starch, flour, etc. – Move a little. A daily walk is sufficient if you do your best to make it brisk. 2. Arthritis Half of us will get it. I even have osteoarthritis from my time as a pro runner. We’re also prone to joint troubles thanks to our primal past – er, the fact that we walk upright hasn’t quite registered with our DNA. Hence, we experience knee and back issues like they’re going out of style (only as of yet, they are not). Of course, obesity is a big culprit. Losing just ten pounds can cut your risk in half. I manage arthritis successfully by doing the following: – Taking at least a gram of fish oil daily. – Reducing … Continue reading “8 Essential Aging Hacks”

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Another Round of Stump Sisson Friday

All right, gang, you flooded my inbox this week. I can certainly think of worse problems to have, though. (People read the blog! A whole lot of people, as it turns out). I always answer as many emails as I can. If you don’t hear from me, it’s a good idea to talk about your health questions in the forum, so that if I don’t answer them, someone sure will – a very encouraging and interesting gang, as you’ll find.

This week, I got a whole slew of questions about my controversial case against cardio, my antipathy towards carbs, what food I eat in a day, and oddly, not one but several emails about spirulina.

A samplin’:

“Mark, is it true that spirulina is a good source of Omega-3’s? Is it better than fish oil?”

Sorry, but spirulina is a very poor source of Omega-3’s – a dose of fish oil has ten times the amount. I have a bit of a beef with spirulina supplements, because while it’s technically true that spirulina is a good vegetarian protein as well as containing beneficial fatty acids, the amounts are seriously microscopic. You’d literally have to consume spirulina breakfast, lunch, and dinner to get even a minimal amount of nutrients you can easily get from consuming just a few servings of wild salmon or even olive oil every week. This is something I see in general with a lot of supposed “miracle food” supplements. I won’t name names (for now) but potency means zip if the dose itself is puny. Look at grams per serving, always.

“Mark, how do I find out my nutritional type?”

Oh, boy. This is one that just persists and persists. I am not a fan of body-typing for diet or anything else, apples. Something you learn in Biology 101 is that we all share the same metabolic pathways – so we should all stay away from the same things – sugar, namely. It’s just that some of us are better at extracting and storing calories than others (see the Bees’ coverage of gut bugs). The problem is simple, but very common (like 65% of Americans share it!).

Stick around for more fun and insights daily.

Further reading:

Carbs Are Not the Devil

It’s the Calories, Not the Carbs

Here’s a Tip: Eat Plants

[tags] spirulina, omega-3, nutritional type, diets [/tags]

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Chocolate & Omega 3’s Benefit Every Body

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

What a great Monday! There’s a lot of interesting clickativity today, with one thing in common: all the news is big!

Click it out:

One More Reason Chocolate Is Great

Science Daily reports that a cocoa discovery may have greater implications for human health than penicillin. Yes, you read that correctly – chocolate may be the biggest health boon…ever.

More research needs to be done, of course, but remember these healthy chocolate pointers:

– Stick with dark chocolate (it’s lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants)

– Stick to small portions (chocolate, like cheese and nuts, is very high in calories)

– Enjoy!

Swamibu Flickrstream

Huge Omega-3 News for the Little Tykes

Thanks to That’s Fit for reporting on a major new study hot off the presses: omega-3 supplements are not only necessary for children’s brain development, these vital fats, in supplement form, yield major results. You’ll be surprised at how major – the scientists were.

What Is Being Done About Spinach and Peanut Butter?

The FDA issued voluntary guidelines today in the hopes that food manufacturers will clean up their act. Legislation isn’t being, er, ruled out, but the hope is that voluntary guidelines will be effective.

Web It Out:

A very entertaining and interesting article debunks online dating services that claim to use highly-accurate psychological matching. Not only is it entertaining, it’s also a good way to learn about scientific accuracy (or, in this case, the lack of it) in studies.

Something any parent could have told them.

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Los Buzz

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Take two and see us in the morning.

Basically Meaningless Index

Science Daily reports that the BMI is a bad idea. We’ve been saying that for some time. And it’s not like we’re alone in this – a lot of health experts have been expressing frustration with reliance on the BMI. Some problems: the BMI does not take bone density, muscle mass or fat percentages into account. And it’s generous to a seriously scary degree. For example, a woman who is 5’7″ and 150 pounds is just as healthy, lean, and fit as a woman who is 5’7″ and 120 pounds, if you follow the metrics of the BMI. Hmm…

Thanks to Float for the photo!

Love Your Liver

…by losing weight. Obesity, more than anything else, affects your health. Obesity sets you up for diabetes, heart disease, depression, and stroke.

And That’s Fit reports: obesity is hard on your liver, making dangerous drug reactions more likely. In other words, being obese not only increases your risk for other diseases, but it increases your risk for having serious problems with the drugs needed to treat those diseases.

There are a lot of ways to lose weight, but among the simplest, most effective of methods is simply cutting out the sugar (soda, snacks, pastries and prepared foods).

This is Shinyai’s photo of sea toad liver. Now you know!

Seriously, Just Take Some Omega-3’s, Would Ya?

Good fats are good for your brain: more evidence. Fish everywhere do not rejoice.

Flickr fish pic

State of the Union

Guess how many states reveal preventable medical mix-ups? 20? 30? 40? No, unfortunately, only two. All together now: transparency, transparency, transparency!

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Home on the Range

Sara here. I have a little issue with the high prices and low quality of eggs at the supermarket. At least, I do now, because when Junior Apple Janet wrote in with the following, I had to spread the word:

“Home with my parents for the holidays, I was a bit confused when Dad came home with 88 cent eggs. Yes, 88 cents. More confusing still was the rainbow of colors and sizes of the eggs – not sure I’ve ever eaten green eggs before. I don’t know when my parents started doing this, but I am a convert. In fact, I ate nothing but eggs the whole time. My folks humored me until I insisted on serving omelets for the third day in a row. I couldn’t get over how much better farm eggs are! Why isn’t everyone doing this?”

Farm-fresh eggs are a good thing. They’re fresher, tastier, more nutritious, and cost less than your average parking meter. Who would bother with the thin-shelled, bland, pale store variety of eggs when real farm eggs are available?

What’s going on, Apples? If you are lucky enough to be living in or near a rural area, I recommend that you check out the egg situation.

The purpose of this post (yes, there is a point) is to highlight some of the better-egg tips in case you, like myself, aren’t within easy access of a farm.

Egg-Buying Advice:
– Go organic, of course.
– Give each egg in the carton a quick feel to make sure it’s not cracked and stuck to the carton.
– Choose Omega-3-enhanced eggs for an easy fatty acid boost every day.
– Look for eggs that are a little bit chalky or matte. The shinier the shell, the older the egg.
– Try to pick eggs that don’t have a lot of irregularities and bumps – an older chicken giveaway. Older chicken = inferior eggs.
– Don’t worry about cholesterol.

And, while we’re on the topic of eggs, did you know that egg foo yung (an American Chinese invention) is a surprisingly healthy restaurant food? Fried rice, egg rolls and the endless procession of cornstarch-based sauces in many American Chinese restaurants aren’t exactly your best bet for nutrition. But egg foo yung is typically sauce-free, high in protein, low in fat and sugar, and usually has a few veggies thrown in. It’s really not much different from an omelet. Speaking of omelets…

[tags] organic, eggs, egg buying tips, egg health benefits, egg foo yung, free-range [/tags]

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Semantic Salmon

Remember the bread-is-to-crumb logic section on the SAT’s? Or how about the interminable hours spent in Mr. Johnson’s English Lit class deconstructing the deeper meaning of that tree in that poem by that guy? The latest and greatest fish debate is worse.

Environmentalists, food lobbyists, and fishermen and women everywhere are in a big huff over whether we should label certain fish as organic or not.

Take a wild salmon and a farm-raised, sea-lice-infested, sick salmon. Which one is organic?

It’s not a trick question. The fish furor (as reported in the New York Times today) is because the government is likely to permit only farm-raised fish to be called organic. That means pristine, wild, icy-water Alaskan salmon cannot be labeled organic.

This is not a joke.

The reason wild, and ostensibly healthier, fish cannot be labeled organic is because we don’t know where their food comes from. And the official requirements of organic food include strict feeding rules. That’s great for a chicken, clucking around in a cage in Omaha. By all means, feed that darn chicken some organic seeds! But the day a wild, clean, natural Alaskan salmon cannot be labeled organic is the day I officially conclude our government employees did not sit through Mr. Johnson’s English Lit class.

The debate gets more complicated (as if we care). Evidently, because salmon are not vegetarian fish, said fish fishers cannot prove that the fish these salmon eat in their natural habitats are also organic. (It’s okay if you have to read that a few times.)

However, a farmed fish, infected with sea-lice, raised so quickly it doesn’t have adequate Omega-3 levels, and crowded in with other fish like, oh, I don’t know…sardines… can be labeled organic. Because we know where its food comes from.

On the other side of the net, one organic-fish-scandal expert says that to allow wild salmon organic status is just really disrespectful to the meaning of organic. Organic, by definition, means organic feed. In other words, we’re following the rules because those are the rules, rather than remembering that rules exist to serve our needs. If a rule doesn’t serve a need or reflect a situation accurately, it needs to be modified. End of story. No deeper meaning, no semantic salmon. Let’s remember the entire reason for starting this organic craze: the realization that we need to go back to natural, healthy foods.

[tags] organic, wild salmon, farmed fish, sea lice, omega-3, Alaska, New York Times, fishermen, regulation, red tape [/tags]

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Tuno? My Money’s on Mocky-Mahi Next

Why eat tuna when you could eat…Tuno? That’s what Peta is hoping you’ll want to do. They offer 10 reasons to eschew eating all our dear fish friends, from tuna to salmon (here’s the clickativity).

In actuality, they offer two reasons, five different ways (human health, fish feel pain). I get a little peeved by this kind of repetitive illogic. Just make your two reasons convincing!

That said, I don’t really have anything against Peta, or against vegetarians. My wife and son have both tried vegetarianism in different forms over the years. I’ve never really understood the people who have an actual problem with vegetarians’ motives. While I personally believe eating fish and meat is healthy and natural, and I think Tuno is just plain ridiculous, I’m stumped by the anger I see at times. Call vegetarianism sentimental or unnatural if you like, but think about it: “I’m gonna get really riled up about the fact that you’re trying to be…nice.” I just don’t see how vegheads are threatening, but then, I also know real men aren’t afraid of salad.

As far as Tuno is concerned, I do want to suggest that you avoid mock-meats or faux-fish in whatever latest incarnation you see. While mercury toxicity is a concern if you eat a lot of fish, particularly tropical-water fish, let’s think about the alternatives being prescribed. Eating a processed soy- or grain-based artificial food is hardly a reasonable alternative.

Here’s an incredibly easy rule of thumb: did the food start this way? An apple started as an apple. A filet of fish started as fish. Foods people typically think are “healthy”, such as fruit leather, protein bars, and now Tuno, really aren’t much better for you than what you’d find in your local middle school vending machine (now there’s another peeve!). Though there are a few exceptions, I will say that any food that is highly-processed and generally unrecognizable from where it started is not fuel fit for consumption. Really.

Two easy solutions to the mercury concerns:

1) Eat mostly cold-water fish, such as Alaskan salmon and Arctic cod.

2) Supplement with an Rx-quality, filtered fish oil.

[tags] fish, best fish oil supplement, omega-3’s, healthiest fish, mercury, Tuno, Peta, vegetarian, processed foods [/tags]

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