The "Omega Awards"
The Slimband is a wonderful tool to help with your weight loss and to form healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Once you have mastered how to eat with your band, you will likely want to find other ways to optimize your health. Just as carbohydrates and protein are important nutrients, fat is also an important component of a good diet. Fat gets a 'bad rap', but not all fats are created equal. The trick is to eat the right fats in appropriate amounts. So where do you start? Slimband is nominating Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Not familiar with their work? Then read on!
There is evidence that intake of recommended amounts of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in the form of fish or fish oil supplements reduces the risk of death, heart attacks and strokes in people with known cardiovascular disease. Some evidence also suggests omega-3 may improve symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders in some individuals since they play a vital role in our brain health. Omega-3's may also help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Health Canada recommends 1.1 - 1.6 grams of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) per day. You can reach this amount by eating at least 2 servings of fish per week.
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
ALA is an essential fat, meaning it can't be made by our bodies and must be consumed in what we eat. ALA can be converted to other forms of Omega-3s. If you are a vegetarian it is important to consume an ample amount of ALA in your diet
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
ALA can be converted into DHA but it takes a lot of ALA to make enough DHA, so consuming DHA rich foods is not essential, but still a good idea. Fish and fish oil supplements are by far the best source.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
EPA can also be made in the body from ALA, but, as with DHA, our bodies aren't very efficient with this conversion.
If you are like most people, you are probably not getting enough Omega-3's for optimum health. Typical diets are much higher in Omega-6 fatty acids compared to Omega-3 fatty acids. There is a general agreement that individuals should consume more Omega-3 and less Omega-6 to promote good health, thus making a conscious effort to consume Omega-3's daily is vital to our health!
- Aim for 2 servings a week of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, char, rainbow trout and sardines. Other excellent choices include anchovies (canned with oil), oysters and whitefish. Always remember to eat your fish first and pair with ½ cup of non-starchy vegetables and ¼ cup of starch at meal times.
- If you are unable to get a sufficient amount of Omega 3 fatty acids through your diet (at least 2 servings of fish per week) you can also purchase a supplement from a health food store to meet your needs. Fish oil capsules or liquid is the best source. Always make sure it is a reputable brand that has been tested for purity. Some good choices include: Nordic Naturals®, Progressive®, Barlean's©, Carlsons©, Genuine Health© and Ascenta©. You can also purchase DHA and EPA enriched foods such as margarine, milk, and yogurt.
The runners up are...
- Walnuts, English Persian (2 tbsp snack serving size) Remember to pair with ½ cup of fruit or vegetables
- Flax seed and flaxseed oil, Make sure to have ground flax seed; the body cannot break down whole flax seeds
- Hemp seeds, Hemp seeds are highly nutritious, contain essential fatty acids, and are a complete, high-quality protein. Add to yogurt for a quick snack! Try hemp protein powders as well. Please note that you will want to add hemp protein into something flavoured as it is NOT tasteless!
- Chia seeds. A plant that is rich in Omega-3's. This seed expands in your stomach to help produce satiety.
- Canola or soybean oil
*Evidence from multiple large-scale population (epidemiologic) studies and randomized controlled trials.