The Four A's of Fiber: "Remember the four A’s of fiber: apples, artichokes, apricots, and avocados. "

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flax Seed and Fish Oil

As more people become aware of the importance of fat in their diet, there has been a growing interest in the benefits of flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is high in omega-3 fat. However, the omega-3 fatty acids in flax are not the same as those in fish. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA. Flax on the other hand, contains alpha-linolenic acid, which is the ‘parent’ fatty acid to EPA and DHA. Although similar, their benefits are not the same.

Our bodies naturally convert alpha-linolenic acid quickly into EPA, and slowly into DHA. About 11g of alpha-linolenic acid is needed to produce 1 gram of DHA and EPA. However, some foods in our diet can stop this conversion process.

A diet high in trans-fatty acids can interrupt the conversion process of alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA. Trans fats are found in foods such as cookies, chips, cakes, and most foods with hydrogenated oil listed on label.

The balance between omega-3(found in flax, walnuts, canola oil, wheat germ and dark green leafy vegetables) and omega-6(found in sunflower seeds, corn oil, pumpkin seeds, and other nuts) is optimal for all conversion factors and brain function.

1 comment:

Bruce Richie, TX said...

Thank you for short and sweet summary