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WHAT IS OMEGA-3
Omega-3 are the essential fatty acids known as the “super-unsaturates”. They are a family of essential nutrients which, when present in the diet over a long period of time, may have thousands of times the power of aspirin to stop the inflammatory reactions responsible for arthritis, migraines, colitis and other similar ailments.
When added to the diet as a supplement, they have the ability to not only lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but also to minimise the tendency of blood cells to clot.
Omega-3 blocks formation of a substance called thromboxane, which is known as a blood clotting agent. In addition, omega-3 are the basic building blocks for nerve tissue and brain cells.
Salmon is full of what we could say are good fats. Without going into the complex chemistry, there are two types of fat: LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which is bad, and found in such items as; whole milk, butter, cheeses, ice cream, red meat, chocolate and coconut. The second type of fat is HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is good and salmon is full of it.
If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, then you need to revisit your diet, exercise and watch your weight. You should eat fewer refined carbohydrates and more whole grains, choose healthier proteins and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Essentially, you need to eat fewer bad fats and more good fats and this is where salmon in your diet becomes beneficial. It also provides the body with essential minerals and vitamins B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin D (cholecalciferol). The omega-3 fatty acid is rich in DHA (docosahexaenacid), which is used in the human brain for the synthesis of nerve cell membranes. It is believed throughout the scientific community that DHA may reduce the incidence of dementia in elderly people and omega-3 fatty acids may help control the symptoms of patients with bipolar disorder.
For example, if we look at the Eskimo and Japanese diets – that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, these are attributed to the low instance of low rates of heart disease and strokes in their populations. This doesn’t mean to say that having a diet that is high in fish consumption is going to be a magical cure all for these conditions, but the New Zealand diet is evidently low in fish.
(source: The Journal of the American Medical Association Vol 274, no 17 – Nov 1995).