Ms Betterhome


Omega 3s – do we need fish oil?
October 28, 2009, 12:45 am
Filed under: food, politics, vegan eating | Tags: , ,

I tend to moodiness, so try to really watch my intake of things like omega 3. As a veggo, I’m annoyed by the popularity of assumption that we can’t get EFAs if we don’t eat fish. The fish get their omega 3 by eating plants – and traditionally that’s where humans got it too. I was interested to read Susan Allport’s book The Queen of Fats, which just confirmed all my prejudices about industrial food chemists  stripping out nutrition in processed foods, then trying to sell it back in the form of ‘nutraceuticals’. Here’s an extract from an interview with Allport (on the University of California Press site I linked to above):

What motivated you to write The Queen of Fats?

I became intrigued with the role of omega-3s in healthy diets when I learned that the leaves of plants and the brains and eyes of animals, tissues that perform the fastest cellular activities (photosynthesis and nerve transmission), are full of this same family of fats. What makes omega-3s so special, I wanted to know, and why are they treated like dietary supplements when they are such important components of cell membranes? Is eating salmon really the best way to get these nutrients? Why would humans, who evolved on the savannahs of Africa, require the fats found in cold-water fish?

Allport’s personal website (with lots of articles, plus chocolate chip cookies) is here.

So how do I get my share? I love leafy greens (typically an ok if smallish source of EFAs ), & try to add things like walnuts & chia seeds to baking & salads. Chia has a better shelf-life than flax, so that’s what I go with these days – I’ll try & grow some when I get a little more space in the garden. I do also take a vegan DHA supplement though, to keep the SAD at bay, purchased in bulk online from the US. I’m guessing I won’t be able to phase it out til I really bump up my intake from other sources, which will probably be a gradual process.

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