Fish like salmon and sardines contain significant amounts of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which are known to promote healthy hearts as well as reduce dementia in populations that consume these foods regularly. In our busy, fast-paced, ‘I don’t have the time to cook’ Western society we become seduced by the dietary supplements marketing schemes which suggest that you don’t have to either cook or eat; simply take these pills and you will just as healthy and free from common chronic diseases (heart diseases, cancers, kidney failure, arthritis, etc.) If you truly believe the lucrative marketing schemes of supplement suppliers and that you no longer have to think regarding the food nutrients because I can take this magical pill instead; then I have a ‘bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you’.
The predominant components of omega-fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Last week a major systemic review and meta-analysis was published (JAMA 2012; 308(10): 1024-1033, Sept 12, 2012) which reviewed the association between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and risk of major cardiovascular disease events. Authors, after major sources of bias were excluded, were left with 20 studies (68680 patients) to analyze. The major health outcomes were all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, heart attacks and stroke. Studies were from several countries and dates of study publications were 1989-2012. After employing numerous sophisticated statistical tests, their conclusions were simple: Omega-3 supplementation (pills) was not associated with any reduced risk for any of the aforementioned end-points.
Prevention for the People, Inc, therefore would like to mention other less well known food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines, which help keep many Hampton University students hunger-free during the 1960’s are still today an economical sources of omega-3 foods. (I get mine at Big Lots). Then there are walnuts which are also high in both protein and fiber. You might want to try flaxseed meal in your cereal, breads, smoothies or yoghurt to increase your dietary intake of these healthy fatty acids. Finally there are the less-well known food sources of omega-3’s : hemp foods which include hemp granola cereals, hemp milk, hemp seed butter and oil (available at Whole Foods) and hemp seeds (Costco). Sampson Independent readers, especially the computer/internet-loving, baby-boomers might Google the hemp foods. The antiquity of their sources may be found in Genesis 1:11-13 and their usefulness to man in Genesis 1:29-31.
Rizos EC, Ntzani EE, Bika E et al.: Association between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and risk of major cardiovascular disease events. A systemic review of meta-analysis. JAMA 2012; 303(10):1024-1033.