Note: I had my cholesterol levels checked recently (after eating like this for almost two years) and… (drum roll), the levels have improved! More of the good cholesterol in my system, less of the bad. I guess adding a little (grass-fed cow) butter to my morning smoothies hasn’t been hurting at all!
Most of us have heard about Omega 3’s, and how we need them. Just do a word search on long-chain Omega-3’s– up will come studies on it slowing the onset of dementia, helping in treatment of depression and other mental disorders, keeping the heart healthy.
So I was pretty excited, years ago, when I read that flax and chia seeds are full of Omega 3’s. After all, for vegetarians, it can be difficult to get enough of those in the diet. Most vegetable sources (nuts and seeds) are high in Omega 6, but not Omega 3.
But then I found out that of the two kinds of Omega 3’s (long-chain and short-chain), flax and chia contain Omega 3 of the short-chain variety, which doesn’t convert well into the long-chained that we really need.
On top of that, the more Omega 6’s we consume, the more unbalanced our diet becomes, and the more we need that long-chain Omega 3. The modern diet is so out of whack that instead of a balance between Omega 6’s and Omega 3’s (in a ratio close to 1:1, or up to 4:1, according to some sources), the ratio is more like 20:1, even up to 40:1. Forty to One, folks. Yipes. Gasp! Polyunsaturated oils play a huge part in that, as they are loaded with Omega 6’s. Grain-fed meats also contain more Omega 6 than their free-range, grass-fed, organic cousins. No wonder the modern diet’s out of whack!
How do we balance that Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio? The long-chain Omega 3’s we need are found in cod liver oil, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats, and good eggs. I still like eating flax and chia seeds, but I’ve been eating more eggs, fish, etc., hoping to balance things out more. An extra benefit of those long-chain Omega 3’s: It promotes weight loss, since they help you to feel full and satisfied. (Have you ever tried to lose weight and had to suffer through hunger pains and still not lose weight?! So wrong…)
I still don’t eat large portions of beef, chicken, or fish, but I do look for grass-fed, free-range, and wild-caught. I haven’t noticed a huge increase in the grocery bill, since a little seems to go a long way. It’s not like we’re eating 10-ounce steaks daily. But what we do eat is prime quality.
I’m also watching the quantity of nuts I eat. They are loaded with Omega 6’s and “PUFA’s” (polyunsaturated fatty acids), and will get that Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio off-balance pretty quickly.
I’ve posted here on how PUFA oils can’t take the heat (and this post mentions other issues). Plus, I’ve posted a breakdown of PUFA content in whole nuts and seeds here. For now, I think I’ll defrost one of those long-chain Omega-3 critters from of the freezer!