• Health/ Healthy Food/ Inflammation/ Nutritional Medicine

    OMEGA-3’s and our Health

    OMEGA-3 fatty acids play a vital role in our health. They are essential, hence the term EFA = Essential Fatty Acid and the body does not produce them, we must get them from food or supplements.

    We need three basic types of fatty acids and these need to be balanced in the body for good health. These are Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 but over the last 40+ years our diet, much higher in Omega-6 due to increased consumption of highly processed vegetable oils and processed foods in the developed world, has changed and this balance has been lost.

    Omega-3 fatty acids comprise of:

    ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) comes from plants and is found in foods like flax seeds, chia and walnuts and these are very beneficial to the health of hair and nails. The body can convert ALA to the other forms but inefficiently at about 15%.

    EPA ( epicosapentaeoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are found in fish, fish oils and krill oils but are originally synthesised by micro-algae not by the fish. When fish consume phytoplankton that consumed micro-algae they accumulate Omega-3 in their tissues. Human Breast milk contains all 3 Omega-3 fatty acids.

    The benefits of Omega-3 are anti-inflammatory; they are important for all cell membranes, energy, mood, Cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune and endocrine health. DHA is particularly high in brain tissue, the Retina of the eye and in sperm.

    Omega-6 when deficient causes impaired growth, hormone disturbances and immune system abnormalities but when in excess causes inflammation and cancer. The ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is generally advised to be approximately 2:1 to 4:1 but in the Western Diet the Omega-6 ratio has risen to approximately 20:1 and we know from studies that this has lead to an increase in Cardiovascular Disease, arthritis and cancer.

    The best sources of Omega-3’s

    Omega-3 from fish
    Fish

    FISH: Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Anchovies, Oysters, Sardines, Tuna and trout.

    VEGETARIAN sources of Omega-3’s:  Algae (high in EPA & DHA), Algae oil supplements, walnuts, flaxseeds, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Spinach and Parsley.

    If you do not eat fish 2-3 times a week you are unlikely to get enough Omega-3’s and therefore a Fish oil supplement or an Omega-3 Supplement from Algae would be beneficial.

    A typical Fish oil supplement of 1,000mgs contains approximately 180mgs EPA and 120mgs DHA but it can vary a lot. it also has to be screened and any heavy metal toxins removed.

    Krill oil contains higher bioavailabilty than fish oil but there are questions over whether the fishing for Krill is damaging to the ocean ecosystem.

    Algae on the other hand, can be cultivated in pure water and contains more DHA than standard fish oil. It is suitable for Vegetarians, people with fish allergies and does not damage the environment.

    References/studies

    National Institutes of Health Omega-3 fatty acids

    Brain, eyes/Retina – PubMed ncbi-nlm-nih.gov

    Omega-3’s and depression – ncbi-nlm-nih.gov

    Omega-3’s can reduce levels of Triglycerides – nih.gov

    Omega-3’s may help relieve symptoms of RA – nih.gov

  • Ketogenic diet

    Low Carb High Fat Basics

    LCHF_steak_and_veg_DhLICm

    Whether for weight loss or improving your General Health and reversing glucose intolerance these are the Low Carb High Fat basics.(LCHF diets) You lower your carb intake and you increase you intake of natural, healthy fats that will be used to create energy.

    Losing Weight on Low Carb. Avoiding carbs usually results in weight loss, without hunger. You work with your body by managing the Insulin reaction.

    How it works

    Weight loss is often simply thought of as a question of calories – eat less, and burn more, and you’ll lose weight. This is true in theory, but not very practically useful – as evidenced by a massive obesity epidemic during the period of belief in calories.

    The big problem with focusing on calories is that it ignores hunger. It ignores the body’s regulation of it’s fat stores. It ignores the fact that we do not eat calories, we eat food. And food is so much more than just calories. Some food (usually low carb) make you feel satisfied. Some food (like soda) just makes you even more hungry.

    Insulin

    The basic idea of low carb is to work with the body, instead of against it. Instead of wasting time and willpower by restricting calories, exercising and enduring hunger, we do something else. We make the body want to eat less, and allow itself to burn more of any excess.

    This is done by altering the hormonal balance. And one hormone above all others is fundamental to do this: the fat-storing hormone insulin.

    Lowering insulin increases fat burning, enables the release of stored body fat. Long-term this results in reduced hunger and even increased energy expenditure, even without exercise.

    Learn much more here:

    Weight Control – A Question of Calories or Insulin? – Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt12536:26

    via Low-Carb Benefits and How to Maximize Them – Diet Doctor

    Foods to Eat

    • Eggs
    • Meat – lamb, pork, beef, game, chicken and Turkey
    • Fish – especially oily fish
    • Shellfish
    • Dairy foods – butter, ghee, cream, cheese (if tolerated)
    • Nuts
    • Coconut Oil
    • Avocado
    • Olives and Olive Oil
    • all above ground Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, salads, herbs, cucumber, squash, mushrooms, peppers, small amounts of tomatoes (if tolerated)

    Foods Not to Eat

    • Pasta
    • Bread
    • Potatoes
    • Rice
    • Corn
    • Fries
    • Sugar
    • Sweets
    • Grains (any kind really)
    • Low fat products in general
    • Cookies
    • Beer… 

    After some time you will learn how to spot the carbs and it gets easier to avoid them. Have some healthy snacks with you – like some nuts and seeds or a smoothie with plenty of protein and fat so that you have something healthy if late with a meal or after exercising.

    How much fat you eat can vary depending on your goals. A ‘normal’ diet should not go lower than 30% of total calories in fat because you need fat to support cellular strength and provide fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D and E. A LCHF diet can go from 50-80% of calories from Fat.

    How many carbs you eat will also vary from low (20g a day) to moderate (150g a day) depending on your activity levels. A LCHF diet at the lower end is a Ketogenic diet where you are getting most of your energy from Fats – to the higher end when you do not want to lose weight but maintain your current weight. If you are getting hungry you should increase the amount of fat and also protein NOT Carbs.

    If this sounds like something you would like to try then there is a two week Low Carb Challenge on dietdoctor.com below with a 19 page printable guide with recipes and shopping lists.

    How to Get Started on Low Carb

    The 2-Week Low-Carb Challenge

    Do you want effortless weight loss, vibrant health or mind-blowing diabetes reversal on low carb? Do you want the simplest way to get started – or to get back on track? Then this challenge is for you.

    Everything – including meal plans, shopping lists and everything else you need – is free. All you’ll need to buy is real food.

    The meal plan

    The meal plan is not only simple – you’ll only do real cooking once a day – but also delicious. And you can eat as much as you want, no calorie counting required!

    Here is some of the food you’ll get to feast on:

    That’s right – you’ll eat low-carb versions of burgers, pizza, lasagna, bacon & eggs… as much as you like – and you’ll lose weight. Just try it and you’ll see.

    via How to Get Started on Low Carb

    I now eat this way after completing an Elimination Diet and losing any extra pounds and I manage to keep my weight steady and my energy levels up. I have also improved my General Health and reduced all inflammation and pain from Autoimmune Disease.

    If you want more proof check out the 23 Studies on Low Carb and Low Fat Diets – Time to Retire The Fad  on AuthorityNutrition Website.