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Nutritional Concepts Mid-Week Brief
November 19, 2014
Dear Valued Subscriber,

Did you know the despite their appearance, Medjool dates are not dried? They have more potassium than a banana and have the highest ratio of glucose to fructose, making it the perfect pre-physical activity carb.

 

Have a happy, healthy week. Bonnie and Steve Minsky

Eat Omega-3s: Save Yourself and the World.
Bonnie and Steve: We can all agree that omega-3s have extreme value to humans. But this is ridiculous!

 

A new study in this week's Naturestates that a trajectory toward healthier traditional Mediterranean and pescatarian diets could not only boost human lifespan and quality of life, but also slash greenhouse gas emissions and save habitat for endangered species. The researchers say that making dietary changes can add about a decade to our lives as well as prevent massive environmental damage.

 

And not to be outdone, a new study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health offers preliminary evidence that fish oil supplements can prevent psychosis among young people at high risk for the condition, even seven years after taking the capsules. In the study, ten percent of young people who took fish oil developed psychosis, a serious condition in which people lose touch with reality, compared with 40% who were given placebos.

 

And, ho-hum, researchers from Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal found that increasing the amount of omega-3s in your diet, whether from fish or flax, will likely decrease your risk of getting heart disease.

 

There is a catch (no pun intended) when it comes to getting your omega-3s from plant-based foods in the form of alpha-linoleic acid: you must be a converter. We have always preferred fish oil to assure that we are getting adequate amounts of omega-3s. The reason is that fish oil does not have to be broken down into the healthful components EPA and DHA.

 

When consuming plant-derived omega-3s, we must convert them from alpha-linoleic acid into EPA and DHA. Some of us are genetically poor converters. Unfortunately, it is difficult to to discern who is and who is not a poor converter unless expensive serum and/or genetic tests are performed. Until these tests become more affordable, our solution is to consume both plant AND fish-based omega-3s.

 

Plant-based ALA is found in flaxseed, vegetable oils like soy and canola, walnuts, and algae-derived DHA-fortified foods like eggs. The cruciferous vegetable family, including Brussels sprouts, kale, and spinach, also contain ALA.

 

Fish oil can be consumed through fatty fish such as sardine and wild-caught salmon, or fish oil supplements in liquid or softgel form.

 

Save the world, our brain, and our heart? Just another day at the office for omega-3s.

 

Moderate Alcohol Not for Everyone

A new study confirms that moderate alcohol consumption can protect against coronary heart disease, but only for certain parts of the population.

 

This article is for NCI Well Connect subscribers.