Every cell in the body is encompassed by a cell membrane composed mainly of fatty acids. The cell membrane permits the proper amounts of necessary nutrients to enter the cell, and ensures that waste products are quickly removed from the cell. To perform these functions efficiently, the cell membrane must maintain its integrity and fluidity. Cells without a healthy membrane lose their ability to hold water and vital nutrients as well as their ability to communicate with other cells. Researchers theorise that loss of cell to cell communication is one of the physiological events that leads to growth of cancerous tumor.
The sources where you get these fatty acids from depends on whether you are vegan or not.
Vegan sources of omega-3s include flax, hemp and chia seeds, walnuts and leafy greens. If you are not vegan, then wild salmon, anchovies, lake trout, fresh seaweed, organic eggs and high quality fish oil are all naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
So,how to ensure you are including omega-3s in your diet? Here are a few ideas.
- Try putting a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds on your porridge in the morning.
- Mix some chia seeds into yogurt and fresh berries.
- Soak chia and fruit in your favorite nut milk for 5-10 minutes to hydrate into a gel.
Hemp provides one of the easiest plant-based protein sources for humans to digest and absorb. The hemp plant contains some of the most balanced and richest sources of oils on the planet, with an ideal ratio of 3:1 for omega-6 to omega-3. Hemp seed oil also contains 80% essential fatty acids, the highest of any plant. Here are some ideas of how to include hemp seeds in your diet.
- Use hemp milk on cereals or in porridge.
- Smoothies: Add four tablespoons hulled hemp seeds to a smoothie for protein, essential oils and minerals.
- Salad dressing - use hemp oil whisked with vinegar to drizzle on your salad or steamed vegetables. Try it on some lightly steamed kale or spinach to get a double dose of those omega 3s.
Non vegan sources of omega-3s include fish oil from wild caught salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel, sardines, herring and other cold-water species. Ideally, three servings of wild fatty fish should be consumed each week in order to experience its benefits.
Alternatively, if you are unsure that you are eating enough foods that contain omega-3, a good supplement can help. I take a soft gel capsule every day so I can ensure that I get my daily quota of omega-3.