Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: Not just fishy business

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: Not just fishy business

Just as your bones are mostly calcium and your muscles are mostly protein, your brain is mostly fat. In particular, your brain is made of good fats: omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Ensuring you get enough of these good fats is crucial for brain and nervous system development and function, and regular intake will also help you get the most out of your adjustments.

Researchers believe that about 60% of Americans are deficient in omega-3 EFAs, and about 20% have so little that test methods cannot even detect any in their blood! Omega-3 deficiencies have been linked with many conditions, ranging from heart disease and cancer, to weight gain, depression and behavioural problems.

Cold-water oily fish (such as salmon, herring, or mackerel), green leafy vegetables, and certain seeds and nuts are rich sources of omega-3 EFAs. Grass-fed meats or wild game are also good sources. Animals that roam and eat grass are much healthier than their grain-fed counterparts, because they are able to convert the grass into omega-3 EFAs. So grass-fed beef, lamb (which is usually grass-fed) and kangaroo or other wild game are all good choices when you are trying to increase your intake of omega-3 EFAs.

In fact, when compared with grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef has been shown to be not only higher in total omega-3s and have a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but is also lower in total saturated fat (linked with heart disease) and higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, CLA (a potential anti-cancer, fat-fighter) and vaccenic acid, which can be transformed into CLA.

S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, “Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content.”

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