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Prevention Of Diseases By Omega-3

Civilization diseases have a common denominator: nutrition. A diet rich in carbohydrates, usually with many white flour products, leads to quickly visible symptoms such as obesity and type 2 diabetes (diabetes). But the devil is in the variety. Completely different illnesses also start with the wrong diet.

Diabetes from too many carbohydrates

It is completely outdated to refer to diabetes as “adult-onset diabetes”. More appropriate and up-to-date would be terms such as “civilization diabetes” or “nutritional diabetes”, because more and more young people have been affected by type 2 diabetes for a long time. Also more and more children.

The pattern is always the same: too many carbohydrates in the body increase blood sugar levels. If the blood sugar level is permanently high, the body converts the excess carbohydrates into fat. The body’s approximately 20 billion fat cells – most of which are located in the abdomen and hips – need to expand their storage capacity…

A study with 84,000 nurses as volunteers came up with an amazing result: After just five (!) percent of the carbohydrates consumed had been replaced by monounsaturated fatty acids, the risk of diabetes was reduced by 56 percent.

Of course, it is advisable to also compensate for other risk factors for the development of diabetes, especially the lack of physical exercise. The often-cited “hereditary predisposition” plays little or no role in reality.

The glycemic index in relation to carbohydrates

In order to be able to classify carbohydrates correctly, the glycemic index should be considered. This value is used to determine the effect of carbohydrate-containing food on the blood sugar level.

When eating carbohydrates with a high glycemic index, the blood sugar level in the body rises rapidly because the body converts carbohydrates into sugar.

Now the pancreas has to produce significantly more insulin so that the sugar can get into the body cells. Low glycemic index carbohydrates follow the same process, just slower.

All types of sugar and all products made from white flour have high glycemic values, as do bananas and potatoes. Most other fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have low glycemic values, so they’re definitely better choices.

Omega-3 fatty acids protect against diabetes

Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids offer particularly effective protection against diabetes because they improve the body’s insulin resistance. Anyone who consumes these fats regularly can assume that their risk of diabetes is reduced by about half.

Omega-3 fatty acids promote the formation of osteoblasts

Omega-3 fatty acids also promote the formation of osteoblasts. These are the cells responsible for bone formation. Omega-3 fatty acids therefore also have a beneficial effect on joint functions, especially in the case of joint pain and restricted mobility.

Omega-3 fatty acids protect the nerves

Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for the brain. The brain consists of 60 percent fat, and about 40 percent of brain fat consists of the substances DHA and EPA.

It is interesting and significant that plant-based alpha-linolenic acid, which is one of the omega-3 fatty acids, can be partially converted into DHA and EPA in the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids also help keep nerve cell sheaths supple. This myelin layer consists of about 75 percent fat, with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids dominating.

Omega-3 fatty acids can protect against Alzheimer’s

A study of 1,600 subjects showed that a regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids made them mentally alert. New research even indicates that these fatty acids contribute to increased protection against Alzheimer’s.

The improvement in concentration, thinking, and memory has already been clearly proven. Omega-3 fatty acids also contribute to an improvement in mood, perhaps comparable to the effect of antidepressants.

Omega-3 fatty acids and eye health

The human eye needs numerous protective substances, of which the secondary plant active substances are the most important. They protect the eyes from poor eyesight and from macular degeneration. Most important are the carotenoids lycopene and lutein, which are found in many vegetables.

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which can be partially formed in the human body from the short-chain omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, is particularly important for the retina. A lack of omega-3 fatty acids leads to dry and inflamed eyes and, in more serious deficiency situations, to blurred vision.

Omega-3 fatty acids improve the oxygen supply

The statistically average life expectancy on the Greek island of Crete is about ten years higher than in Germany. Heart attacks are far less common in Crete and cancer rates are half as high as in northern Europe. These differences can be explained, among other things, by the different diet of the population on Crete, above all by the regular consumption of fish (which provide omega-3 fatty acids), but of course also by the consumption of plenty of olives and olive oil, which have anti-cancer and anti-cancer properties provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

When good oil is made in a gentle way, it also contains higher levels of vitamin E. This vitamin protects cells from free radical damage. At the same time, omega-3 fatty acids improve the oxygen supply in the body cells.

This is significant because lack of oxygen is a hallmark of cancer cells. At this point at the latest, the importance of good oil for fighting cancer becomes apparent.

Omega-3 fatty acids calm inflammation

People suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases have an increased risk of cancer. Chronic liver inflammation can easily lead to liver cancer and a chronically inflamed esophagus to the dreaded esophageal cancer.

As already mentioned in connection with joint inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are basically able to calm any inflammation that may be present in the body.

A study conducted in the USA has shown that an increased CRP level (this is the inflammatory marker that can be detected in a blood test) leads to a doubling of the risk of colorectal cancer.

There is a high probability that omega-3 fatty acids can also lead to an improvement in the levels of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.

Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease occur almost exclusively in countries where the consumption of carbohydrates and unhealthy fats is particularly high.

Omega-3 fatty acids in nature

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in very different proportions in fish and plants. For example in some fatty edible fish such as salmon and anchovies.

However, the omega-3 fatty acid content here is just over 1 percent. However, long-lived predatory fish such as swordfish and tuna contain methylmercury, a particularly toxic and harmful form of mercury.

Vegetable foods also provide omega-3 fatty acids: flaxseed oil contains up to 50 percent omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, hemp oil 17 percent, walnut oil 13 percent, and rapeseed oil 9 percent alpha-linolenic acid.

High-quality oils only for the cold kitchen

Since the polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are heat-sensitive, they should preferably be used in cold dishes. Vegetable oils that are particularly high in omega fatty acids include the following:

Linseed oil, hemp oil, safflower oil, grape seed oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and pumpkin seed oil

You can also pour these oils over the finished food after cooking or frying. Due to their high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids, these oils must not be heated under any circumstances, as this could result in the formation of harmful substances, e.g. the harmful trans fats are known for their carcinogenic potential.

Ultimately, the quality of the oils always determines the benefits that the organism derives from them. The less polluting the oilseeds are (organic quality) and the gentler the manufacturing process is (native, cold-pressed, not refined, not deodorized), the more valuable the oil is.

Permanent cooling is important for oils with high omega-3 content. Flaxseed oil that is not refrigerated, just off the open shelf in a store, can quickly go rancid. At home, too, the bottle should always be kept in the refrigerator and used up within 3 months.

Saturated fats of high quality (organic) are particularly suitable for frying and cooking, as they are highly heat-stable. Organic coconut oil is recommended. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which has a beneficial effect on many body processes.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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