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Are You Getting Enough Omega 3s in Your Diet?

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As pervasive as consumer habits are in eating a processed diet, many individuals in developed countries do not receive adequate amounts of this essential fatty acid from healthy sources.

Populations eating processed foods have a tendency to consume an overabundance of Omega 6s from empty foods lacking in real nutritional content.

Some of these foods include the following:

  • Crackers
  • Cold and hot cereals from packages
  • Breads
  • Bagels
  • Pasta
  • Cookies, food bars, and dessert items
  • Pretzels, chips, and other snacks

Despite claims made on labeling, many of these products have been extruded (subjected to being crushed through a small hole in a machine and then treated under high heat temperatures) and stripped of any real nutritional value. Also, these foods have not been properly prepared as our ancestors once ate them – sprouted, soaked, and/or fermented. Baking instead of frying does not exclude a food from the process of extrusion.

Here are some healthy foods from where you can obtain Omega 3s:

  • Fish and seafood – cold water, oily varieties such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines, and mollusks like oysters, clams, mussels, squid, octopus, and scallops, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, fish roe, and crab (these are also the best source for fat-soluble Vitamins A & D).
  • Organ meats from pasture-raised animals and foul
  • Pasture-raised chickens, turkeys, and ducks – those fed a diet of grasses, worms, and insects
  • Eggs from pasture-raised poultry and other birds
  • Grass-fed meats and lamb
  • Raw milk, cheese, and other dairy from cows that are grass-fed
  • Organic butter from grass-fed cows; check your local dairies.  Raw butter packs the highest nutritional punch. A good store brand is Kerrygold
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts

According to Eat Wild:

“Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals. Omega-3s are called “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.

Another benefit of omega-3s is that they may reduce your risk of cancer. In animal studies, these essential fats have slowed the growth of a wide array of cancers and also kept them from spreading. Although the human research is in its infancy, researchers have shown that omega-3s can slow or even reverse the extreme weight loss that accompanies advanced cancer and also hasten recovery from surgery.

Omega-3s are most abundant in seafood and certain nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds and walnuts, but they are also found in animals raised on pasture. The reason is simple. Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s. When cattle are taken off omega-3 rich grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on omega-3 poor grain, they begin losing their store of this beneficial fat. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.

When chickens are housed indoors and deprived of greens, their meat and eggs also become artificially low in omega-3s. Eggs from pastured hens can contain as much as 10 times more omega-3s than eggs from factory hens.”

The most abundant supply of Omega 3s come from seafood, then animals and birds, with plants, nuts, and grains being a distant third. It is extremely important that you obtain Omega 3s only from meat and dairy products that originate from grass-fed and pasture-raised poultry. Birds and animals who are fed grains, soy, and corn have a much lower Omega 3 content and a higher Omega 6 content – the consumption of which is associated with the development of inflammatory conditions in the body such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many others.

Omega 3 essential fatty acids are crucial in the maintenance of various body systems including brain development in infants and children, cardiovascular systems, maintain mood and balance, aid in brain and nervous system function, and help prevent cancer.

For more information on Omega 3s and the role they play in health, read:

How well do you know your food? Find out!

Whole Health Source

Pastured dairy may prevent heart attacks

For those not scientifically-inclined

For a full treatment of health and nutrition topics, including a wealth of information on Omega 3s, read The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, M.A.