Dr. Mark Hyman, MD writes on his blog about the importance of omega-3 fats and their connection to our health. Omega-3 fatty acids have lots of health benefits, yet Hyman notes that most Americans don’t include omega-3 in their diets. This can lead to a host of health problems, including inflammation and diabetes.
Most Americans eat foods that have a high concentration of omega-6 fats. These come from foods that have been cooked using oils derived from soybeans and other seeds. The oils contain linoleic acid, which can cause inflammation in the human body. We also eat food with a lot of sugar.
Interestingly, it is in countries where the population consumes foods with a high content of omega-3 that there are fewer health problems. Dr. Hyman mentions Japan as a prime example, where 80% of the population consumes omega-3 regularly.
Omega-3 is also important for brain health. During pregnancy, omega-3 plays a key role in the brain development of a fetus. It can also help reduce the chance of postpartum depression in women after birth. During childhood, eating a diet in omega-3 can boost the level of dopamine in the brain as well.
Dr. Hyman says that omega-3 can help with prevention of a whole range of diseases and medical conditions. These include heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and even attention deficit disorder (ADD).
So how can we get more omega-3 fatty acids in our diets? According to Dr. Hyman, early humans ate protein that came from animals that were wild and ate grass, as well as fish. They also ate plant-based foods. We have gone off track in the modern era, eating too many processed carbohydrates, sugars, and starches.
Instead, Dr. Hyman recommends:
- Seeds such as chia, hemp, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds
- Wild-caught salmon and sardines.
- Nuts, except peanuts.
- Meat from grass-fed animals.
- Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
Want to learn more about how omega-3 can help improve your health? Read the full article here: “The Missing Fat You Need to Survive and Thrive.”