*This post is sponsored by Flora, but the opinions and ideas presented here are all mine.
If you eat a typical Western or Standard American Diet (SAD) consisting of large portions of red meat, fried and processed foods, like white sugars, flour and vegetable oils like corn and soy you are more than likely deficient in a key nutrient vital to health. And even if you do follow a “healthy” diet, it can still be easy to be deficient in this important nutrient. Can you guess what it is? It’s Omega-3 essential fatty acid!
What is an essential fatty acid (EFA’s)?
Like Vitamin C, essential fatty acids are fatty acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. The only way we can get them is from the foods we eat. This is why they’re essential. They are: omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-9 fatty acids are non-essential as our bodies can make them on their own. Some health benefits of essential fatty acids include:
- Formation of healthy cell membranes
- Development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
- Proper thyroid and adrenal function
- Hormone balance and production
- Regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses.
- Regulation of blood clotting: Omega-6s encourage blood clotting while omega-3’s reduce clotting.
- Cholesterol maintenance
- Support for healthy skin and hair
While omega-6’s do have some benefits, you know what they say about too much of a good thing. Today we are eating way too many omega-6’s in relation to omega-3’s. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, depression, and poor circulation.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health omega-3, fatty acids are special because:
“They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.”
Those are some serious benefits. But over the last hundred years, there’s been a huge increase in our consumption of soy oil. As much as 20% of the calories from the average American’s diet is from soybean oil (PDF). Highly-refined vegetable oils like corn and soy once touted and believed to be healthy are made up of mostly omega-6 and poor amounts of Omega 3’s. If you haven’t done so already start checking ingredient labels next time you go food shopping. I guarantee you’ll be hard-pressed to find prepared foods in the supermarket that don’t contain soybean oil. And unless certified organic, these oils also come from plants that are genetically modified to withstand being sprayed with pesticides like Roundup.
So why did soybean oil become so popular? While popular for its high smoke point (you can fry with it) and mild flavor, soy oil is really cheap to produce and therefore buy. But it’s also really high in Omega 6 fatty acids. American diet up to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids rather than omega-3 fatty acids our body really needs. This combined with toxic damage from poor processing and food preparation methods leaves us with a food supply coated in oils that in excess are really bad for us.
Plain and simple: most of us are eating way too many omega-6s and not getting enough omega-3s. And it’s this imbalance that is making us sick. Research has shown approximately 90% of us are deficient in omega-3’s while about half of American adults have at least one diet-related illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac an influential expert in the area of fitness and functional nutrition explains that the problem is with the ratio of fats we’re eating:
“Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are the primary causes of death and morbidity today.”
Chris also teaches us that:
“Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation. A diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation.”
Bottom line: if we want to be healthier the solution is simple: eat more omega-3s. They protect us from inflammation and disease while they can also improving our skin, hair, nails, and mood.
For optimal health it’s important to get the right balance of omega-3, and -6 fatty acids in your diet in order for your health to shine. And for most of us, that means boosting our omega-3 intake big time. Great dietary sources of omega-3’s include foods like:
- Chia seeds
For those who don’t like or prefer not to eat fish, we recommend Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend. Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend is a multi-award-winning blend of certified organic plant-based oils that contain the ideal balance of Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids in a 2:1 ratio. That means twice the amount of Omega-3’s than 6’s. Just what we all need to crowd out the omega-6s!
What is Udo’s Oil made from?
Award-winning Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend was formulated and created by Dr. Udo Erasmus, an expert on the subject of essential fatty acids and author of the book “Fats That Kill”. After many years of research, he found that the best health results came from oils blended to be much richer in omega-3’s to omega-6’s by a ratio of 2:1 and not the 1:1 our ancestors were eating. It was with this in mind he developed Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend.
The oils in Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend are extracted from flax, sesame, sunflower seeds, coconut. It also contains oils of evening primrose, rice germ, oat germ and coconut all providing the 2:1 ratio of omega-3 to 6 your body will love. It’s the perfect oil blend to start crowding inflammatory omega-6s out of your body. It even includes organic MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) from coconut oil which have recently come into the spotlight as a great source of fats for those looking to lose weight and boost energy levels.
Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend is:
- 100% plant-based (vegan), fresh pressed and unrefined.
- Certified organic.
- Free of fish, dairy, and gluten-free.
- Derived from sustainable sources.
But we’ve all heard that fish oil capsules are a great source of omega 3-s. So why no fish in Udo’s Oil? Global overfishing is a major environmental concern right now. It has been reported that many species can become extinct within with in the next few decades if we don’t change the way we fish. Also, there are concerns about fish oils being contaminated with high levels of mercury or rancid oils due to poor processing are eliminated. Free radicals produced by rancid oils can do a lot of damage to our bodies. Just the thing we’re trying to avoid. Recent studies have even shown that many fish oil products are failing to provide the nutrient quantity and quality they claim 0n their label. For many fish oil is just too hard to digest.
All the oils in Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend are made with sustainable ingredients and packaged in a dark environmentally friendly glass bottle so the delicate oils stay fresh. It’s all the good fats you need, without any of the bad stuff you should avoid.
How do you use Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend?
Udo’s Oil is really yummy. It has a pleasant and mild, nutty, buttery taste that pairs well with just about anything. Just add 1 tablespoon or more as a substitute or complement to some of your daily sources of fat. It’s perfect for drizzling over salads, using as a base for salad dressings or added to your daily smoothie. You can also use it in:
- Oatmeal or morning cereal
- Protein shakes
- Over steamed vegetables, rice, pasta or potatoes
- Soups (drizzled it on after serving)
You can even blend Udo’s Oil with olive oil, add spices, herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar for a delicious oil perfect for dipping bread. It would also work beautifully in a chimichurri or olive tapenade.
One thing to note: Udo’s Oil should never be used as a cooking oil, added to hot pans or foods while they’re cooking. The heat destroys the very fragile fatty acids that we so desperately need. Only add Udo’s Oil to hot foods just before serving.
This refreshing smoothie is filled with strawberries, banana, and greens like spinach or kale. A splash of Udo's Oil 3-6-9 Blend will give you the right amount of Omega's your body needs.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 frozen medium banana (or half large)
- 1/2 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup kale
- 1 tbsp Udo's Oil 3-6-9 Blend
- sweetener of choice to taste, maple, agave, etc.
Add the almond milk to the blender followed by the rest of the ingredients. If using frozen strawberries add an additional 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth and then taste and sweeten if desired. Pour into a glass and enjoy!