The Omega 3 fats in flax seed oil aren’t as healthy
The health benefits of fish oil are becoming more and more well-known. Sales of fish oil supplements have exploded faster than any other nutritional supplement in history, and for good reason. More and more people understand that adding some fish oil to your diet daily is extremely good for your health.
However there are different forms of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and today we wanted to talk about the differences between these, and why fish oil is a better source of the Omega 3 fats than some other popular sources such as flax seeds.
There are a number of different fatty acids known as the Omega essential fatty acids. There are the Omega 3 fatty acids, for example but there are also Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids as well.
It is the Omega 3 fatty acids that are the most beneficial to your health, in fact some of the others are not beneficial at all. But even amongst the Omega 3 fats there are different types.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) are the 2 most important of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids. DHA in particular is extremely important to overall good health as well as to mental function. A large portion of your brain is made up of fat and a large portion of that fat is DHA.
DHA is important to both the development of the brain as well as to brain function throughout life.
The best source of DHA and EPA is fish, and in particular oily fish as these fats are found in the oil.
However there are other sources of DHA and EPA as well. Unfortunately these are now not as effective as they once were.
Grass fed beef is a good example. The essential fatty acids come from grasses. And so a cow raised on grass also has the Omega 3 fats DHA and EPA. In fact that’s where the DHA and EPA found in fish comes from. It comes from seagrass which the fish eat, then passes up the fish food chain.
However almost all our beef is now grain fed, and there are no Omega 3 fatty acids in grain, and hence very little in beef now. The same applies to other food sources such as chicken and eggs.
Some people seek to get their Omega 3 fats from plant sources. Flax seeds for example are promoted as a good source of Omega 3 fats, however many people are unaware that the form of Omega fats found in plant sources such as flax is a different form.
It is neither DHA or EPA, it is in fact called ALA, and is not nearly as effective for improving your health as the other 2.
In fact the primary health benefits of ALA is that it can be converted in the body into DHA and EPA, however only a small percentage of it is actually converted.
So for this reason fish, and in particular oily fish, are streets ahead. And if you can’t eat lots of oily fish then high quality fish oil capsules are the best alternative source.
Fish is expensive, however it is much more cost-effective to take superior quality fish oil capsules every day than it is to eat fish, and of course you’re not subjecting yourself to the risks of Mercury contamination from eating too much fish if you’re taking quality fish oil capsules which are free of contaminants.
However not all fish oil capsules available on the market are high quality, and some have been found in the past to contain industrial toxins like Mercury.
We hope that has enlightened you a little more to the differences between the different types of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and the best way to incorporate the health benefits of fish oil into your diet.
Nutrition education and additional information on healthy food choices are available through the Benedictine University online nutrition and wellness graduate degree program.Written by - Benefits of Fish Oil