In general, we humans are simply not eating enough healthy foods and healthy produce, and are instead consuming far too much processed junk food. It doesn’t matter whether it’s more convenient, a few bucks cheaper, or even if you think it tastes nice, in reality there is absolutely no excuse for basing the majority of your diet on food that has been processed so much, and pumped full of so many different chemicals that it can barely pass as food by the time it reaches your mouth. We know we need to consume fresh, natural, and healthy foods, and we have a pretty good idea of why, and which ones are the most beneficial. So why aren’t we doing so? We can’t answer that as we can’t speak for everybody, but what we can do, is talk about one type of nutrient that is unbelievably healthy and beneficial for us, yet again, we just aren’t getting enough. That nutrient is known as Omega 3.
What is omega 3?
Omega 3 makes reference to omega 3 fatty acids, essential acids that are described as the building blocks of healthy fats, just as amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules. People hear or see the word ‘fat’ and they immediately think the worst. In reality however, healthy fats are absolutely vital and they could help to prolong your life, prevent numerous illnesses and diseases, and just generally make you as fit and as healthy as possible. Omega 3’s help improve brain function, they strengthen the immune system, they improve digestion, they improve our vision, they promote good organ health, they boost the metabolism, they protect the heart, they lower harmful cholesterol levels, and much more on top of that. They also function as a very potent anti-inflammatory. They’re known as essential fatty acids because the body needs them desperately, yet it cannot synthesize them by itself, so they must be consumed by us instead. Here’s a look at five of the best sources of omega 3.
Grass fed beef
Grass fed beef is an extremely good source of omega 3, yet many people seem to overlook it. The reason why grass fed beef is such a great source of omega 3 is all down to the ALA’s (Alpha Linolenic Acids) contained in the grass that the cows graze upon. Once consumed, the cow’s bodies then convert these ALA’s into usable forms of omega 3’s, most specifically, omega 3 fatty acids that are much more easily absorbed than if they were to come from the plant based sources. If possible, always opt for grass fed beef, preferably organic, as the omega 3 profile is much higher, as is the protein content, and the taste is also far superior as well.
Dairy that comes from grass fed animals, including cattle, sheep, and goats, boasts a much higher omega 3 profile because the milk that these animals produce will also be enriched with the omega 3’s that the animals have been consuming on a daily basis. Dairy produce such as milk and cheese, that comes from grass fed animals will be far superior to dairy produce that has come from corn and grain fed animals. The quality of the grass they graze upon will also be a factor, but providing the grass is free from fertilizers and chemical pesticides, the dairy that these animals produce will be rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and other natural goodness as well.
Flaxseed oil comes from flaxseeds, but that does not mean that flaxseeds themselves are a good quality source of omega 3’s. Flaxseeds themselves are fantastic sources of fiber, but in order to benefit from the omega 3’s, the seeds must be condensed and ground until the natural oils have been extracted. This is where the omega 3’s reside, making flaxseed oil a fantastic source of these essential fatty acids. To increase your omega 3 consumption, why not add flaxseed oil to salads, stir fries, or even to protein shakes and smoothies perhaps?
Wild salmon, not to be confused with farmed salmon, is one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids currently available. For every 108 g fillet, there is a whopping 3251mg of omega 3 available. Farmed salmon contains slightly less of these omega 3’s than wild salmon, which is why it’s always best to go for wild salmon. It is a little pricier, but the taste is simply astonishing and the nutrient content is far superior to farmed salmon.
Cod liver oil supplements
As far as popular omega 3 supplements go, cod liver oil is one of the best-selling and most popular fish oil supplements in the entire world, and for good reason as well. Cod liver oil, just as the name implies, is extracted from the liver of cods, and is then highly concentrated and bottled as a liquid, or turned into a gel capsule designed to be swallowed whole with a food source. Just 14g of cod liver oil will provide an astonishing 2894mg of omega 3.
These green soybeans are great sources of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids, and are a firm favourite amongst vegans and vegetarians. They can be purchased partially cooked so you can add them to salads etc, or fully cooked so you can simply snack on them as and when you wish. As well as being rich in omega 3’s, Edamame is also a great source of plant-based protein. One ounce will provide 474 mg of omega 3.