The Grass-fed alternative to fish – benefits of omega-3 fatty acids
Across the United States and even all over the Wild West, word has spread of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
These acids lower the risk of heart disease, help clear up varicose veins, boost brain power, beat back depression, and do just about everything useful.
The beef-and-pork-themed nutrition of America is however high in omega-6 fatty acids, which is essential for health.
However, Americans get just too much of it. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the body should be about 4 to 1, but today, that ratio has been distorted to about 20 to 1.
Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory that slow down cell growth, and have anticoagulant properties.
The omega 3s acid types are DHA and EPA, which are found primarily in fish and shellfish, and ALA, which is found mainly in plant sources (walnuts, flax and chia seeds), but does not offer the potential health effects as DHA and EPA.
Omega 6s can increase inflammation, encourage cell growth, and aid in blood clotting, however, our bodies perform best when we take in a balance of omega 6 to omega 3, with the ideal ratio falling somewhere between 1:1 to 3:1 of omega 6 to omega 3.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, the average American is taking in a ratio of about 20:1, causing and creating a continual state of inflammation in the body, which on its own is a prime recipe for chronic disease, cancer growth, and premature aging.
While ingesting large amounts of omega 3-rich fish oil supplements may seem like the obvious solution, it is actually not as omega 3s are very fragile and the extraction process always subjecting them to high temperatures, processing, and chemical solvents that tend to take away that fishy odor.
Recent research suggests that the best and harmless way to achieve a healthy ratio of omega 6:3 is by simply adjust your diet so that you are consuming fewer omega 6s in favor of more omega 3s.
The perception is that fish, especially the big and heavy-metal-rich kind, are the only sources of omega-3s and that you have to sacrifice beef and other meats in order to get omega-3s in your diet.
While many fish, is the best source of the healthiest omega-3s, it still follows that any animal that eats grass has omega-3s.
The reason why most beef, chicken, milk, and eggs are so lacking in omega-3 is that we feed these animals with a factory diet of corn and other foods that these animals don’t normally eat.
However, grasses were natural sources of omega-3s, and they still are, on condition that the animals gain access to pasture.
Fish get their omega-3s from seagrass, algae, other sea vegetables, and plankton. Wakame is a seaweed abundant in Japanese cooking, and is the highest vegetarian source of omega-3s, with an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio of about 1:18.
As a result of a grass diet, oily fish such as sardines and anchovies as well as the fish that love to prey on them, such as mackerel, have the highest amounts of the two hale and hearty forms of omega-3s, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Corn is a horrible source of omega-3s, and corn oil, for example, has an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio of about 45: 1. As a consequence of an unnatural diet of cheap corn, cows now have very little omega-3s in their milk, cheese or meat.
Nutrition lacking fish can still be rich in omega-3s provided you eat food products from pasture-raised animals along with vegetables that are high in omega-3s.
Lamb is almost entirely pasture-raised, and thus has decent amounts of omega-3.
Milk, cheese, and meat from grass-fed cattle are now once again common. While some grass-feed cattle have about a 1-to-1 ratio, chickens that are permitted to feed for grass, seeds, and insects produce eggs that are rich in DHA.
For fish lovers, sardines are among the highest levels of DHA and EPA with the least toxins.
The business of farming, of course, is hearing all this clamor about healthy fats, but its solution has been to feed animals with fishmeal, which for now seems to have no ill consequences.
Vegetarian sources of omega-3s include tofu, walnuts, flaxseed and oil and, perhaps surprisingly, the Chia pet, which contains three times more omega-3 than omega-6.
Vegetarians need to be a little careful, because excellent omega-3 sources such as flaxseed are mostly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is converted by the body into the necessary DHA and EPA, at about 20 percent, with poor efficiency.
And we all need to be little more careful because this is all about numbers and ratio, as too many omega-3s, like a blood thinner, can lead to hemorrhagic stroke, and that is not what we came for, nor the free-flowing blood circulation most people are looking for.