So my doctor says I should eat fish 3 times a week so I can get my Omega 3′s, an essential fatty acid (EFA), popular for helping to improve cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, and good for your joints and the brain. But let’s take a closer look at what this is all about…
Fish do not naturally contain omega 3′s. Omega 3 EFA’s are always orginally from plant foods. So how does a wild salmon have omega 3 in it? Well, WILD salmon feed on plankton that feed on algae. Algae is a marine plant that’s full of Omega 3′s. That’s why Atlantic salmon (AKA farm raised salmon) never contains any of the good omega 3 EFA. Ok, so only wild salmon and a few other wild fish would contain this EFA. But before you go off and grab your fishing pole let’s look at what else your expensive little salmon filet has in it. It will always have a large amount of saturated fat. It will also have a good deal of cholesterol. That’s right! Two of the things you are supposed to avoid if you want to have a healthy heart! And on top of it you get to enjoy all the toxins that the fish took in while it swam around in our polluted waters. All of those toxins (pesticides, chemicals, drugs, fertilizers, and MERCURY) are stored in the fish oil right there next to the omega 3 oil. So, do yourself and your heart a favor. Skip the artery clogging saturated fat and cholestorol ridden fish and get your prized omega 3 from the original source… plants.
Omega 3 EFA’s can be found in MANY plant foods. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Flax seeds (please buy whole and grind only seconds before using, yes really!).
Flax seed oil (please keep refrigerated and never heat this oil. Use in smoothies or salad dressings)
Etc. Eat plant foods, eat a variety and eat as minimally processed as possible. Buy organic. Eat Simple. Chew your food well.
By eating a variety of colorful, whole plant foods and avoiding animal foods (meat, chicken, fish, dairy etc.) you will get plenty of omega 3′s without ever having to take a fish oil or flax oil supplement. You will also get all the vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy. Plus you’ll be getting lots of fiber. And, you’ll be avoiding the harmful cholesterol and saturated fat that’s found in animal foods. Give it a try! What are you waiting for? Oh, you don’t still believe that you can’t get enough protein on a plant based diet, do you? Good, I didn’t think you still thought that. We’ve known for a long time that it’s easy to get all the protein. Not a problem. Just eat more beans, lentils and whole grains (not just whole grain bread, I mean whole grains; quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, barley, spelt, millet, etc.). Just stay away from the fake “soy” meats… they’re gross and not that good for you.
Fish Is Not Brain Food
This article is from Dr. McDougall’s website, July 1, 2009
Please visit www.drmcdougall.com for more information and lots of great recipes!
Dietary intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids in relation to long-term dementia risk by Elizabeth E Devore published in the July 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found, “In this Dutch cohort, who had a moderate consumption of fish and omega-3 PUFAs, these dietary factors do not appear to be associated with long-term dementia risk.”1 This study of 5395 people, 55 years of age or older, for 10 years, found people who never ate fish had a similar risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, as those people who had a high fish intake (on average, one ounce—29.6 grams—daily). In the same issue of this journal, researchers reported on the findings of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging.2 Blood samples of a population of 642 people were analyzed for substances found in fish: total n-3 PUFAs, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and mercury. The results were then compared with the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer disease. No associations between n-3 PUFAs and dementia or AD were found.
A disturbing report was released on June 17, 2009: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Aquaculture by Robert P. Friedland published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.3 Scraps from slaughterhouses are used as food in the fish farming industries, and the authors of this report are concerned that consumption of farmed fish may provide a means of transmission of infectious prions from cows with bovine spongiform encephalopathy to humans, causing variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease—commonly known as “mad cow disease.” These scientists urged government regulators to ban feeding cow meat or bone meal to fish until the safety of this common practice can be confirmed. The publication of this important news comes before a new FDA rule that would block the feeding of rendered cows to certain animals, but not fish.
Comment: Fish is not health food. The truth is fish is an animal muscle made up primarily of proteins and fats, with no carbohydrates or dietary fibers—fish muscles are nutritionally just like the muscles of cows and chickens. They are all loaded with cholesterol and chemical contaminants, and deficient in vitamin C. Fish-fat easily accumulates in the human buttocks, thighs, and abdomen, leading to obesity and type-2 diabetes. All that excess animal protein will cause bone loss (osteoporosis), and the pharmacological activity of the fats (omega-3) will suppress the immune system (cancer and infection) and cause bleeding. Fostering the myth that fish is a miracle food is a slogan many of us grew up with, “better living through chemistry.” In the case of fish, the miracle chemical is omega-3 fatty acids, which have been advertised to prevent and treat diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to strokes. The most thorough review ever conducted (48 randomized controlled studies of 36,913 subjects) of fish and omega 3 fats on health was published in the April 2009 issue of the British Medical Journal and the authors reported, “Long chain and shorter chain omega 3 fats do not have a clear effect on total mortality, combined cardiovascular events, or cancer.”4 Other research explains the origin of the felonious belief that fish is health food: people who choose fish are the same people who choose an overall healthier diet, consciously avoiding coronary-artery-damaging saturated fats—eating the fish does not prevent heart attacks, it is the not eating beef, chicken, and cheese that saves lives.5 The erroneous belief that these magnificent swimming animals will improve the health of people is at the root of the decimation of our oceans. People are eating more food from the sea every year and the result is industrial fishing has depleted the world’s fish stocks by 90% since the 1950s.6 I love the ocean and am saddened by this loss. Fortunately, I am not demented (from lack of fish consumption) and neither are you. We can stop this runaway destruction of planet Earth and return health to its entire species—but we must act quickly. One major step is to reintroduce the natural human diet of starches to people. If you want to know more about this one big simple solution then read the first chapter of my new book, The Starch Solution (to be published in about a year).
1) Devore EE, Grodstein F, van Rooij FJ, Hofman A, Rosner B, Stampfer MJ, Witteman JC, Breteler MM. Dietary intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids in relation to long-term dementia risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):170-6.
2) Kröger E, Verreault R, Carmichael PH, Lindsay J, Julien P, Dewailly E, Ayotte P, Laurin D. Omega-3 fatty acids and risk of dementia: the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):184-92.
3) Friedland RP, Petersen RB, Rubenstein R. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Aquaculture. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print]
4) Hooper L, Thompson RL, Harrison RA, Summerbell CD, Ness AR, Moore HJ, Worthington HV, Durrington PN, Higgins JP, Capps NE, Riemersma RA, Ebrahim SB, Davey Smith G. Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review. BMJ. 2006 Apr 1;332(7544):752-60.
5) Cundiff DK, Lanou AJ, Nigg CR. Relation of omega-3 Fatty Acid intake to other dietary factors known to reduce coronary heart disease risk. Am J Cardiol. 2007 May 1;99(9):1230-3. 6) Myers RA, Worm B. Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities. Nature. 2003 May 15;423(6937):280-3.