How omega 3 could be the answer to our gut health

Will increasing your fish consumption improve your gut health? 

As discussed previously in the post (Is the gut the gateway to disease?) the gut is centre for so many health conditions.

We all understand that we need a good functioning gut for optimal health. Well you may then ask how do I improve my digestive health?

The answer may be Omega 3

There has been a lot of focus on omega 3 and its role in digestive health in recent times. Omega 3 is crucial for all ages and genders. It’s sad to see that 80% of Australian’s aren’t meeting the omega 3 recommended daily intake. Omega 3 and Omega 6 both compete for the same enzymes, for their synthesis and metabolism.

When the omega 6 ratio is much higher this results in an increased inflammatory response.

A ratio of 1:1 is considered ideal. However there has been a shift in the past decades from 1:1 to 10:1 to 50:1 (omega 6/ omega 3). This is thought to contribute to todays prevalence of chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma aging and neurodegenerative disease.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids. Which means our bodies can’t manufacture them on their own, we need to obtain them from our diets. Unfortunately there’re less food sources that contain omega 3 compared to omega 6.

10 top foods for Omega 3  

-       Flaxseed oil
-       Fish oil
-       Chia seeds
-       Walnuts
-       Caviar
-       Smoked salmon
-       Oily fish Mackerel and sardines  
-       Oysters
-       Soybeans
-       Spinach, cooked or boiled

10 top foods high in Omega 6

-       Vegetable oils, grape seed, sunflower, shortening and margarine
-       Salad dressings, Caesar, peppercorn, mayonnaise, Italian, honey mustard
-       Nuts and seeds
-       Corn chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, popcorn
-       Fast food
-       Cookies and cakes
-       Pork products, sausages, bacon, ham, salami
-       Chicken and turkey
-       Beef
-       Dairy and eggs

Increasing your omega 3 ratio has shown to result in

-       Improved gut microbiota
-       Improved gut permeability
-       Reduced inflammation

Tips for increasing more omega 3 into your diet. When your cooking at home use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing. When you're out for for a meal ask for the dressing to be put on the side. Choose fish over meat more often than not. Consider supplementing with fish oil. Make smoothies at least a few times a week and add flax seeds and chia seeds. You could also make chia puddings for breakfast and add walnuts. View the pesto dip with walnuts instead of pine nuts. It's delicious and a great way to get more walnuts into your diet. 

Sarah Stewart