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Get your dose of omega-3 fats for good health.
Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are Essential(click to see video)
Dr. Gerard L. Guillory reviews the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in this video, as part of a “10 Steps to Better Health” series.
In the 1920s, anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson lived with and studied a group of Inuit. The Inuit were fishers and hunters, primarily of sea mammals such as whales, walruses, and seals. They consumed a high-protein, high-fat diet. In fact, the Inuit consumed an average of 75 percent of their daily energy intake from fat.Patricia Gadsby, “The Inuit Paradox,” Discover, 1 October 2004. http://discovermagazine.com/2004/oct/inuit-paradox/article_print. Stefansson’s research focused on the fact that the Inuit diet had no adverse effects on either their health or his own.Lieb, C. W. “The Effects of an Exclusive Long-Continued Meat Diet.” JAMA 87, no. 1 (1926): 25–26. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680010025006
These findings were supported by a later study in 1972, when the Greenland Inuit first caught the attention of Dr. H. O. Bang from Aalborg University in Denmark. He noted that although the Inuit consumed massive amounts of fatty ocean fish, which are packed with omega-3s, none of the Inuit tested showed signs of heart disease. In addition, there was significantly less evidence of joint disease and skin disease than found in Western countries. Further research led Bang and his associate, Dyerberg, to conclude that the omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA) present in the diet offer significant health benefits:Bang, H.O. and J. Dyerberg. “Fatty Acid Composition of the Plasma Lipids in Greenland Eskimos.” Am J Clin Nutr 28 (1975): 958–66.
What sources of omega-3 fatty acids would you include in your diet and why?
As you read further, you will learn the different types of fats, their essential roles in the body, and the potential health consequences and benefits of diets rich in particular lipids. You will be better equipped to decide the best way to get your nutritional punch from various fats in your diet.