A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed a new test on the market that determines whether you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. The test costs about $200.
Omega-3's health benefit claims are numerous:
- reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer
- keeping the eyes and brain sharp
- fighting depression
- helping to reduce inflammation
- easing the pain of arthritis
Unfortunately, our body does not produce omega-3's. The only way we get these beneficial fatty acids is by ingesting them. Common food sources of omega-3's are oily fish (salmon, anchovies, mackerel and sardines), flaxseed and walnuts. Common food sources that used to be rich in omega-3's are beef, milk and eggs.
The diets of cows and chickens used to consist of grass and seed (rich in omega-3's) but now are more likely to consist of grain (poor in omega-3's.) As a result of the change in diet for food animals, the diet for people has been adversely affected. Yes, we all can buy meat much cheaper than ever before, but at a significant cost to our collective health.
Not to worry. You don't have to go on a wholly mackerel diet to get your omega-3's. Change your purchasing habits instead. Buy beef that is grass fed, meaning the animal ate only grass for its entire life. Buy pasture-raised chickens and real free-range eggs. Some eggs are now being touted as being high in omega-3's. Guess what the chickens eat? Flaxseed. You'll pay a couple of bucks more for your meat, milk and eggs, but then you won't have to spend the $200 to test your omega-3 intake. By changing your diet you will naturally increase your omega-3 fatty acids and will feel better as a result.
If you are what you eat, then you are what your food eats. Make sure you know what your food is eating before you take another bite. Watch the movie Food, Inc. for information about industrial agriculture and how our food chain has been altered in the last 50 years. Go to eatwild.com or locavorenetwork.com to find local purveyors of real, wholesome food. Shop at your farmers market, and most importantly, start asking your local grocer to sell food that hasn't been fattened on grain and pharmaceuticals. The most powerful vote comes from consumers' wallets, so vote for better health starting now.