woman about to take omega-3 pill

Reduce Inflammation With This Fatty Acid

You may have been hearing a lot about omega-3 fatty acids lately, and you may be wondering, what exactly are Omega-3 fatty acids? You’ve probably heard they were good for you; are they vitamins? Minerals? Animals? To clear up your confusion, or to add to it, omega -3 fatty acids are, well, fatty acids, which may not sound like something that’s good for you at all, but they are. That’s because they’re essential fatty acids, and we need them for normal metabolism. Now research shows that omega-3s have anti inflammatory properties that can help ward off a number of health concerns. What could this mean to the field of medicine? Take a look at what some experts are finding out about the inflammation- Omega-3 connection.

Omega 3 and Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been studied for their extensive health benefits, many of which stem from their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Since the reduction of inflammation has been associated with the risk for diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, it is suspected that omega-3s may have disease fighting benefits. Here are what investigations of the fatty acid has revealed so far in regard to disease prevention.

Heart Disease
Because omega-3 fatty acids can increase levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol, it is being investigated as having the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease. Although omega -3s have not been shown to lower rates of heart attacks, directly, they have been associated with maintaining good heart health.

Arthritis
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus, may all be able to find a little comfort in increased omega-3 intake. Research suggests that the anti-inflammatory power of the fatty acid could reduce swelling, pain, and joint stiffness. A 2012 study showed that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis were able to decrease the dosage of anti-inflammatory medications they were taking by supplementing with omega-3s.

Cancer
The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cancer are still under investigation, but preliminary findings indicate that they may help reduce colorectal cancer, in particular, and also may help to increase tolerance to chemotherapy.

Diabetes
Insulin resistance is a condition at the root of diabetes, in which the cells in the body to not respond properly to the effects of insulin. Although further investigation on whether or not Omega-3s can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes is needed, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve sensitivity to insulin in some studies.

Getting Your Omega-3s
After reading all this powerful evidence, you may be wondering how you can get your daily dose of omega-3s. Unfortunately, the body cannot produce its own omega-3s, but they can be gotten in certain foods. Fish is the best source of omega-3. The World Health Organization recommends consuming two servings of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines per week.

For those concerned about intake of heavy metals, or to whom fish does not appeal, omega-3s can also be found in plant sources, including flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Add these to your cereal or smoothie to up omega-3 intake.

Are you getting your omega-3’s? Let us know what your sources are and how they’re helping you.

Healthy food

Popular Health Food Myths

Eating pop rocks with soda can make you explode. This is perhaps the most popular and most bizarre food myths of all time. Although some may argue that the two together may be a lethal combination, it is not because of its likelihood to cause human combustion. While the fate of Mikey of Life Cereal fame may be unknown, it is safe to say he did not suffer death by Poprock. With the rate at which information about food changes , it is often hard to determine which facts from fiction. Here are some of the most commonly believed food myths that may seem all too easy to believe.

Low Fat Food is Better for You
Look at food labels to determine what kinds of fats are in foods before reaching for the low fat version. Seattle based dietitian Andy Bellatti says, “A good intake of healthful fats is beneficial for cardiovascular health. Prioritize mono saturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Many low fat diets are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates which are increasingly becoming linked to increased heart disease.” Low fat food are often low in good fats, which are necessary to cholesterol management and absorption of nutrients and also contain high levels of sugar and sodium to compensate for the blandness of the taste quality.

Dairy Is Best For Healthy Bones
According to Bellatti, too many people confuse dairy with calcium. “Dairy contains calcium, but so do dark-leafy greens. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, just like all milk alternatives. Additionally, bone health goes beyond calcium and vitamin D.” Vitamin K is important for bone health and leafy green have it while dairy products do not. Magnesium, also absent from dairy, is important for bone health as well.

Assorted dairy

If you’re concerned about the health of your bones, you’re best bet is to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet and, as the Harvard School of Public Health points out, “milk isn’t the only, or even best source of calcium.” Collard greens, kale and bok choy may be considerably better sources of both calcium and vitamin D.

Drink 8 Glasses of Water per Day
Boston based nutritionist Alannah DiBona says there is no given rule for how much water a person needs in a day. “Water’s been touted as the cure for all sins, and in some ways, it’s true – proper hydration is necessary for just about anything body and mind-related. However sixty- four ounces per day isn’t always going to be the right number for you.” Instead, try to determine your water intake by dividing your body weight in half and trying to drink that number in ounces of water daily.

Dibona also urges us to “Remember that water is available to you through all liquids, fruits, vegetables, and that the mark of proper hydration is a very light yellow-colored urine.”

Eating Eggs Raises Cholesterol
According to DiBona, “More often than not, a person diagnosed with high cholesterol will go out of his or her way to avoid eggs, which is really unnecessary. The body’s cholesterol levels are influenced by certain saturated and trans fats; eggs contain very little saturated fat and absolutely no trans fat. Depriving yourself of an egg means foregoing 13 naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and a really delicious breakfast item.”

Poached egg

High Sodium Foods Taste Salty
While there is no doubt that management of salt and sodium intake are important, especially for those with diabetes and hypertension, you should know that salty taste is not necessarily characteristic of high sodium foods. Belatti explains, “While surface salt is noticeable, stealth sodium, added during processing, is harder to taste. This is why many people don’t realize that a Dunkin’ Donuts corn muffin contains as much sodium, as 9 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.” He stresses the importance of looking up nutrition information to check the sodium content of foods at your favorite restaurants and eateries.

What other food myths do you want to debunk? Let us know!

Halved avocado

The Health Benefits of An Avocado A Day

According to the story of Adam and Eve, the corruption of the first couple occurs when the members eat an apple. For this, they are banished from the Garden of Eden. Eve is punished with the pain of childbirth, Adam receives a death oracle. That must have been some apple! Of course, the apple is an extremely praiseworthy fruit and one hopes it was worth the price Adam and Eve paid for having eaten it, but if the first humans were willing to risk lifelong punishment over an apple, one can only wonder what they would have been willing to risk if it had been an avocado.

It has been said that happiness is an avocado, and this may well be an absolute truth. After all, what else is actually good for you and tastes like creamy magical natural butter improved tenfold? You don’t need a reason to eat an avocado a day, but just in case you want to hear some, let’s look at a some of the health benefits of avocado.

Avocados Are Nutrient-Rich
Also known as the alligator pear, avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, K, B5, B6, E, potassium, and folate. A single serving provides 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats, and, although the avocado has 9 grams of carbohydrates, 7 of those come from fiber. This makes for 2 “net” carbs, qualifying avocados as low-carb. They are also sodium and cholesterol-free and low in saturated fats.

Avocados Lower Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels
Tests done on human participants reveal that avocados can significantly reduce cholesterol levels, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 22% and increasing HDL cholesterol by as much as 11%, while reducing blood triglycerides by as much as 20%. In addition, one such study showed that the inclusion of avocado in a low-fat diet lead to improvements in the all over cholesterol profile.

Woman presenting avocado

People Who Eat Avocados Are Healthier
According to an analysis of over 17,00 participants, people who ate avocados had a higher nutrient intake than those who did not. They were half as prone to metabolic syndrome, a well-known risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. Avocado eaters had a lower BMI, maintained lower body weights and had less belly fat from those who abstained.

Avocados Help You Absorb Nutrients
Some nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E and K and antioxidants like carotenoids are fat soluble. That means that they need to be combined with fat in order for them to be moved them from the digestive tract and into the body. How can this be done? Studies show that including avocado or avocado oil in your meal can increase the absorption of antioxidants by 2.6 to 15 times.

Avocados Protect Your Eyes
Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are vital nutrients for eye health and have been found in studies to significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Avocados Help You Lose Weight
A study was done involving two groups of people, one of which was instructed to eat a meal containing avocado, the other of which was not. Polling results showed the former group reporting 23% greater satisfaction of appetite and a 28% lowered desire to eat within the next 5 hours than the avocado deprived. Avocados are also low in carbs and high in fiber, two attributes commonly associated with general weight loss.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock the guac! Let us know your favorite avocado recipes and your favorite ways to get in your daily avocado!