Friday, May 7, 2010

Nutrition Corner: Omega-3s

Omega-3s rock. That's all there is to it. They are fantastic for you whether you are pregnant or not, and at any stage of your life!

Omega-3s are found largely in fatty fishes such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon. They also can be found in walnuts, flaxseed, and full-fat salad dressings (but use in moderation!). You can also purchase supplements at any store selling vitamins, etc.

Why should you? Here's some of the benefits...
  • A recent study published by Human Reproduction showed that women with ample omega-3 consumption may have a lower risk of endometriosis. The study involved 70,000+ american nurses followed over a 12 year period. Of these women, those that consumed plenty of omega-3s had a 22% lower risk for endometriosis!
  • Omega-3s lower inflammation and can decrease your risk for cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
  • Omega-3s seem to be highly concentrated in the brain and it is felt that they are important for cognitive and behavioral function. Infants of mothers who did not consume enough omega-3s during pregnancy, were found to have more risk for developing nerve and vision problems.

Symptoms of omega-3 defiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

Another type of fatty acid necessary in the diet is the Omega-6s. This fatty acid promotes inflammation. Having a careful balance between the omega-3s and the omega-6s can lead to optimal health. Most Americans have 14-25 times the omega-6s then the omega-3s....this isn't good. Using a mediterranean diet tends to lead to a healthier balance of these fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet does not include much meat (which is high in omega-6 fatty acids) and emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption (unless pregnant of course).

Have I convinced you? I hope so. I recommend omega-3 supplements to all my patients....running out to go pick up some more for myself :)

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