You’ve heard the advice–eat more salmon and tuna. But why? It’s all about the fat. The Omega-3 fat, in particular. Omega-3 fatty acids are an unsaturated fat, and a significant part in our diet because they are essential, meaning we must obtain these fats from the foods we eat. These fats are responsible for making the hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of the artery walls in the heart, and inflammation. One of the most prevalent components of disease in our body is inflammation (our body’s response to pain or injury), and by including these essential omega-3 fatty acids into the diet, inflammation can be reduced.
But can you just take omega-3 supplements, if you don’t care for fish? While useful in adding omega-3’s into the diet, these supplements are very concentrated. If you’re on a blood thinner, you may experience drug interactions such as bruising or bleeding, so it may not be advisable to take them. Always ask your doctor before you take this (or any supplement) to avoid any side effects.
Other foods contain omega 3’s that we can include in our diet, besides salmon and tuna. Mackerel and sardines are also good choices but there is potential to build up toxins in your body by eating too much fish, so aim to have fish no more than twice a week. Soy foods and edamame (or soybeans), flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, and canola oil are also all great sources of omega-3’s that won’t have interactions with your blood thinner. Note: flaxseed is difficult to digest whole, so aim to have it as flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed. You can sprinkle it on your oatmeal or add it to your favorite smoothie if you like! Another great way to add these essential fatty acids into your diet is to try to replace meat with tofu or tempeh or add a handful of walnuts to your salad! Try to cook with vegetable oil and be creative! Challenge yourself to add omega-3’s into your diet every day and find out what works best for you.
For more information, contact a Beacon Health & Fitness Registered Dietitian today!
Kate Glick, RD firstname.lastname@example.org
Erica Weinandy, RD email@example.com
By Meghan Knoff