Everyone's talking about Omega-3
Boomers have you been wondering what all the fuss is about Omega-3 fatty acids and their potential health benefits. It seems to make sense that fish oil could be good for you. After all, Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the developed world and fish is a significant part of most people’s diet there.
A recent article in the Australian media in March 2009 by Nadine Williams of News Ltd reported on research findings predicting Omega-3 shaping as the “...wonder supplement..“ for Baby Boomers aiming to stave off ageing. The article went on to quote from an Australian Scientific think tank Omega – 3 fatty acids for Baby boomers recommending the supplement as having “convincing” effects on heart disease, arthritis, mental health and maintenance of vision.
This article independently looks at the latest recommendations and findings from two key health organisations in Australia, and tries to provide some facts on why Omega-3 is purported to be so good for us.
Reducing risk / effects of heart disease
The Heart Foundation of Australia in their position statement Fish, fish oils, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular health, 2008 – recommends to lower their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), all Australians should:
1. Consume about 500 mg per day of omega-3 (marine source) through a combination of the following:
- two or three serves (150 g serve) of oily fish per week such as Atlantic and Australian salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, gemfish, canned sardines, canned salmon and some varieties of canned tuna. Other fish, such as barramundi, bream and flathead, and seafood, such as arrow squid, scallops and mussels, are also good sources of marine-based omega-3.
- fish oil capsules or liquid
- food and drinks enriched with marine omega-3s.
2. Consume at least 2 g of omega-3 (plant source) everyday - This can be achieved by eating two slices of soy and linseed bread spread with a canola-based margarine, 30 grams of walnuts or a variety of the foods that contain plant-based omega-3s.
3. Follow government advice on fish consumption regarding local safety issues.
4. Discuss healthy eating and concerns about nutrition with an Accredited Practising Dietician or a Doctor.
The Heart Foundation website contains:
– Eating plans with many options
– Omega-3 content of various fish and seafood
– Q &A’s for health professionals and the general public
Helping to prevent or reduce the impact of Chronic diseases
The Omega-3 centre, a private health research organisation, recently ran a workshop including experts in the areas of omega-3s and the age group, Baby Boomers. According to the organisations website, the message coming out of this workshop is clear: Baby Boomers need to to make sure they have enough long chain omega-3s in their diet to reduce the impact of chronic diseases.
Their campaign is aimed at the Baby Boomers, because between 43 and 62 years of age chronic diseases really start affecting people’s lives. Chronic diseases are impacted by long chain omega-3s.
The organisation’s website provides a good overview of foods that are rich in long chain omega-3s, being mainly oily fish, which is the richest source. They explain that omega-3s found in plant foods, the shorter chain of omega-3, are more difficult for the human body to convert to the more effective long chain omega-3s, that have a role in the brain, the heart and other organs. For vegetarians they explain that looking to microalgae sources of omega-3s such as Canola oil and Linseed oil are a good source of the shorter chain omega-3s.
The other health benefits in consuming long chain omega-3s according to the Omega-3 Centre, apart from reducing the risk of heart disease, include:
- reducing the level of pain for people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis
- maintaining good eye health by reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration which can cause blindness in older people.
If you have any concerns or questions about your health, please contact your Doctor.