Everyone talks about it and with good reason! Although essential to our health, omega 3 are insufficiently present in our diet. It’s time to do something about it!
While some fats are essential to our balance, it is important to make good choices by privileging those which are rich in omega 3 and by going for variety.
Fat is composed of triglycerides. They account for the major energy reserve in our body. They include among others fatty acids which can be saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated such as omega 3.
Saturated fatty acids can be found in butter, cheeses, dairy products, deli products and palm oil. They are called saturated because they form a rigid chain and provide thus rigidity to the cell membranes they compose. When ingested in large quantities, those fatty acids are a potential cause of health problems.
Monounsaturated fatty acids contained for example in olive oil have a double bond, which provides them certain flexibility.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega 3, are fats with several double bonds called fatty acids and essential to the human body. Omega 6 are found primarily in most of vegetable oils: peanut, sunflower, corn… It is recommended to consume them.
The benefits of omega 3
Although essential, omega 3 acids are not eaten in sufficient quantity because of our food choices but also because of the composition of some foods. For example, feeding animals with corn and sunflower enriched food (thus rich in omega 6) will provide meat which will be low in omega 3. Using animal fats, sunflower or corn oil at home will provide only few omega 3. However, it is necessary to consume those omega 3 in sufficient quantities because they are essential to our health. They contribute to maintain a normal cholesterol level, support the functioning of the heart and the blood vessels, have an anti-inflammatory action and seem to be beneficial to the brain. Omega 3 deficiency in our diet may lead to cardiovascular, inflammatory and cerebral problems such as concentration and memory disturbances.
Balance in your meal!
The omega-6 to omega-3 consumption ratio is today highly unbalanced. It seems to be comprised between 10 and 15 whereas it should be near 5. It is therefore recommended to increase our consumption in omega 3. Bringing this back into balance is not complicated. The weekly consumption of 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil, 2 fatty fishes, and 1 poultry fed with flaxseed enriched food enables to get a proper quantity of omega 3.
Omega 3 can be found in seaweeds, in particular in nori seaweeds which are used to make maki, but principally in fat fishes: salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines. As far as oils are concerned, balancing the intake of omega 3 will bring you new perfumes. Hemp, rapeseed, linseed or walnut oil are rich in omega 3. The mix of 4 bio oils Delhaize is a balanced mix of rapseed, linseed, wheat germ and olive virgin oils. The intake of fatty acids omega 3 is guaranteed by rapeseed oil (70%) and linseed oil (8%). Its fruity taste reduces the bitterness of linseed. Wheat germ oil (2%) provides vitamin E which is a powerful natural antioxidant protecting fatty acids omega 3. Most of these oils are fragile: they rapidly oxidize.
This is the reason why they must be protected from light and air. Keep them in the refrigerator once opened. Use them raw in order to maintain their benefits and taste qualities. A drizzle of virgin olive oil in a smoothie, a fruit mousse or a vegetable purée provides taste, softness and interesting nutrients! Walnuts and linseeds are a source of omega 3. Linseeds must be ground or soaked for the body to absorb it correctly. It’s better to use them raw in breakfast cereals or in salads.
Finally, let’s mention poultries or pigs fed with linseed, herb or acorn enriched food. Delhaize’s free-range chicken or Bellota’s Iberian ham and Bellota’s Lomo Iberico Taste of Inspirations are interesting sources of omega 3.
As a general rule, prefer thus raw preparations or soft cooking such as low-temperature cooking. And, above all, vary your pleasures!
This article was initially published in Delhaize magazine.
Extracts of the article were used for this posting.