If you are asking yourself how to get omega 3 oils into your diet, the first thing you need to do is to switch from standard super market vegetable oils to olive oils. Olive oil will not supply you with omega 3 fatty acids but it will stop the oils you are consuming from interfering with the omega 3 oils that you are consuming. This is especially important if you are using flax seed oils as your omega-3 source. Smaller amounts of genuine un-refined canola oil or walnut oil would be good to complement the flax seed oil, but only in quantities no greater than that of the flax. These oils do supply you with omega-3 fatty acids, but at lesser proportions. If you had access to hemp seed oil ( if it were available in the refrigerated section of a health food store, and in a black bottle) you could use it in place of flax seed oil. Hemp seed oil is sufficiently high in omega-3 oils that you could use it as a primary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seed oil would need to be used at the rate of approximately 3-4 tablespoonfuls per day.
At any rate, super market oils need to be cut out entirely. They have been refined into a toxic state, and your good health demands you put away all such “cooking oils” (should you process any) in the cleaning cupboard where they belong. Then you need to head on down to the closest health food store and replace them with something that is actually edible.
Don’t throw your old refined oil out, though, like I said, put it in your cleaning cupboard. Refined oils are good for cleaning paint off your hands, diluting oil stains on clothing in laundry preparation, and for making home-made-soaps out of (if that sort of thing is your bag).
Make Sure the Oil You Buy Is Really The Oil the Label Says It Is
It is of utmost importance that you purchase edible oils from one of the companies which actually knows how to extract essential fatty acid oils without destroying them in the process. Visit the article: "Buying Oils and Spreads That Have No Trans Fats" in the series on trans fatty acids by this author. You can not remind yourself too often that super market oils are all severely damaged and threaten you with serious albeit insidious health risks if you consume them. If an oil contains unsaturated fatty acids, and especially the essential fatty acids (which are the most reactive ) it is very easy to damage. Unfortunately, since most oil processing companies follow procedures which seriously damage unsaturated fatty acids, the usual vegetable oil that you can buy in the supermarket has been rendered quite useless as a source of health promoting omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Why You Need to Avoid Supermarket Oils
You need to avoid super market oils because these oils are all processed under very harsh conditions. Extremely high temperatures, and pressures are used to expract the oils. Also, chemicals are added to aid the process of extraction and to clean up the mess afterwards. Canola oil, for example, is produced in vast quantities. You see it on the supermarket shelf in a clear glass or plastic bottle. It could sit there until the end of time, in its "refined" state. It would never degrade. That is because the oil is so refined that it can no-longer support life, or even much oxidation. Back when it when it was extracted from the canola seed (a little mustard like thing) it contained a fair portion of omega-3 essential fatty acids ( approximately 12%). You can be sure that no such a fatty acid swims in the bottle any more though, not once it has found its way to your supermarket shelf. By this point in time, any fatty acid that ever resembled an omega-3 fatty acid in a bottle of refined canola oil has become something quite different from your body’s point of view.
The same is true of all the other oils that this particular bottle of canola finds itself lined up beside on the oil section of your supermarket store. All of these oils are polluted with many a trans fatty acid and perhaps other unsavory components as well. It is imperative that you visit your health food store to find safe sources of such oils. See the section on buying oils in the section on trans fats by this author for more information on buying safe oils.
Other ways to get Omega 3 Oils into Your Diet
Besides making sure that you are using flax seed, hemp seed, or unrefined walnut or canola oils in your menu, think about the other foods that you eat as well.
Green vegetables, though very low in oils, in general, have a relatively high proportion of omega 3 fatty acids in the oils that they do contain. Fish, especially cold water fish serves as a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, and flax seeds, ground into meal and chia seeds both supply generous amounts of omega 3 oils as well as many other helpful nutrients.
Meat and eggs that are raised in a natural environment and permitted to forage on leaves and grass also provide significant levels of omega 3 oils to the diet while grain fed animals have very low levels of omega 3 oils in their tissues. To improve the omega 3 oils supply in your diet choose Grass – Fed, or Range – Fed meats only, and look for free run chickens and poultry.
If you make dietary choices like these to support and augment your omega 3 oils intake over time you will be glad you did.
This post is part of the series: Essential Fatty Acids
- What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
- Essential Fatty Acids: How They Influence Health
- Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency: The Modern Nutritional Illness
- What are Prostaglandins? How Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency Causes Inflammatory Disease
- How to Get Omega 3 Oils in your Diet