omega 3's

Are You Getting Enough Omega 3's? Here's Why They're Important

& where to find them

Today, a lot of health-conscious people are running away from fats. It usually comes from a fear of putting on weight or the fear of an overcharged liver, but some specific fats will actually have the opposite effects and are mandatory for an optimal health. As you guessed, the fat source no one should neglect are the Omega 3’s.

They support our immune system, fight inflammation, boost our brain, help mental health disorders, improve sleep, heal skin conditions, and so much more. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to any diet, and you should always make sure you get enough of them !

OMEGA TYPES AND HOW THEY WORK

The three types of Omegas 3 fatty acids that our body uses are: ALA, EPA and DHA. Theyre essential to add to your diet because our bodies cannot make them.

EPA and DHA have the most health benefits, but are mainly found in oily fish. On the other hand, ALA is found in plant-based sources such as walnuts, flax, hemp, or chia seeds. The body uses ALA to create EPA and DHA. 

The thing is, to fully achieve this reaction and complete the process, the organism needs a sufficient supply of enzymes that are properly working.

THE PROBLEM

These important enzymes can be disrupted by the wrong balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 in the body. Indeed, eating too much Omega-6 will make the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA much more difficult. The ideal ratio between omega-6 and 3 should be of 1:1, but as today we rely on processed oils and foods so much, the average is actually of 16:1, which is really bad.

Although the body can use ALA to create EPA ad DHA, it can only do so in very small amount. So if you’re eating a plant-based diet (like us) of only ALA’s,  you have to be extra careful with not only getting the right amount of omegas, but getting the right balance between 6 and 3s. This means incorporating the right nutrients into our diets, but also staying away of processed foods as much as possible.

SYMPTOMS OF A DEFICIENCY

As weve seen, these fatty-acids are indispensable to keep a good health. They affect our immune system, cells, brain and nerves. EPA reduces cellular inflammation, while DHA ensures the fluidity of the cell membrane, being a key fat for the brain, eyes retina, heart, cardiovascular system, and parts of the nervous system. As you can see, they work closely together to support our cells and their functions.

Now that you know all of this, you probably want to find out if youre actually getting enough, right? Some of the symptoms below may be the sign you have an Omega-3 deficiency.

Skin – Dry, soft, peeling skin, brittle nails, slow growing nails, dry hair, dandruff, dry eyes, acne

Attention problems – Poor concentration, difficulties in working memory, distractibility

Mood – Irritability, mood swings, Low frustration tolerance, depression, anxiety

Energy –Fatigue, poor sleep, restlessness

Joint discomfort – Stiff or painful joints

Dehydration – Excessive thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination

Allergy symptoms – Eczema, asthma, hay fever

If you match two or more, you should get a fatty acid profile test to measure exactly where your levels are and the right dose to take to fix it. This is to be taken seriously, because months or even years of deficiency can lead to very severe health conditions.

HOW MUCH SHOULD WE TAKE?

No one can say exactly how much omega-3 one should be getting as it depends on each individual -their age, condition, physical activity, and their omega-3/omega-6 ratio. However, the estimation of ALA daily intake is usually around 1,3- 2g per day. Here is a cheat sheet of approximately how much of each plant-based source you should be eating daily.

A FEW MORE RECOMMENDATIONS

To lower your omegas 6 intake and get as much ALA as possible, you should : 

〰️Stay away from processed foods as much as possible

〰️Cook with oils that are low in omega-6. Our favorite are coconut and olive oils. You can also go with flax oil, avocado or rapeseed.

〰️Eat vegan sources of omega 3’s daily, like seeds, berries, beans and leafy greens. Here are some of the breakfasts we recommend that have a good dose of them. 

+ We didn’t put it on the cheat sheet as it didn’t make sense to calculate an amount, but you should also add as much Nori as you can, as it naturally contains EPA.

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