Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Food for Thought, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Do you know your omega-3 blood levels?

Although regular intake of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA is believed to have several health benefits, some questions remain unanswered. Do we all need more omega-3 or just some of us? Is eating fish sufficient or do we need to take supplements? Is there a way to tell if the cells in our body are getting enough omega-3 or if we are deficient? Yes. The Omega-3 Index may provide answers to some of these questions.

The Omega-3 Index reflects the relative amount of omega-3 fatty acids within red blood cell membranes. The index can be measured using a simple blood sample. You do not need your doctor to order this test for you, it is a self administered test you can do at home.  Measurements of fatty acids in red blood cell membranes can provide important information about fatty acid intake. Recently, the relative amount of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells has attracted interest as it
may provide information about the future risk of heart disease.
Studies show that a low Omega-3 Index is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and it has been proposed that raising the index may help to reduce risk.
The Omega-3 Index reflects the relative amount of EPA + DHA in red blood cells. It is expressed as the percentage of the total amount of fatty acids present. In fact it’s quite simple; if 8% of all the fatty acids present in red cell membranes is EPA+DHA, the Omega-3 Index is 8%.
The Omega-3 Index and Cardiovascular Risk
It has been hypothesized that the Omega-3 Index may predict the risk of future cardiovascular events such as coronary heart disease and cardiac arrest. If that’s correct, a low Omega-3 Index may be regarded as a risk factor, similar to smoking, high blood pressure and high blood levels of LDL cholesterol.
The average Omega-3 Index in the United States is believed to be between 4-5 %. In Japan, where coronary artery disease is less common and life
span longer, the average Omega-3 Index is 9-10%. This is because the population in Japan eats more fish than the population in the US.
Data from epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials demonstrate that the Omega-3 Index was inversely associated with the risk for mortality from coronary heart disease. An Omega-3 Index of ≥8% was associated with the greatest protection, whereas an index of ≤4% was associated with the least.

Another study, published 2008 showed that the Omega-3 Index as independently associated with the risk of developing acute coronary syndrome.
An Omega-3 Index >8% is optimal while an index of <4% may be regarded as deficient.
The simplest way to improve the Omega-3 Index is to increase your intake of EPA and DHA by eating marine products rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Recommendations For the Intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
For people without cardiovascular disease, most experts recommend eating a variety of fish (preferably oily) at least twice a week to maintain a mean intake of 4-500 mg of EPA+DHA daily.
For those with documented coronary heart disease, a daily dose of EPA+DHA of 1.000 mg per day is recommended.
For someone wanting to achieve the suggested ideal Omega-3 Index of 8% 2000 mg of EPA + DHA daily is suggested.
Finally for individuals with elevated serum triglycerides a daily dose of EPA + DHA of 2000 mg to 4000 mg per day is what doctors suggest. Since fish may be contaminated with mercury and other pollutants, be sure the fish oil supplement you choose is purified and has been third party tested.
IFOS, The InternationalFish Oil Standards program offers consumers a way to compare the highest quality fish oil brands. Carlson offers a wide array of potent pure fish oil supplements that have been tested by IFOS.