November 19, 2019
Survey Says, We’re Far From The Optimal Omega-3 Range
There’s no denying the fact that there are some big issues with the western diet. From extremely low omega-3 blood levels to increased inflammation, regions consuming a western diet are facing a much larger risk of chronic disease.
Now, let’s compare regions that have adopted a western diet to the regions with the highest levels of omega-3s. What are they doing different, and what can we do to start adopting some of the same practices?
We’re breaking down what you need to know.
Which Regions Are Doing Things Right?
When looking at a global level, omega-3 EPA + DHA blood levels vary depending on diet. A global survey published in Science Direct identified various countries and regions and their blood levels of omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids.
This is what their data found...
Highest Ranking: The regions that were really hitting the mark and reaching optimal omega-3 blood levels (>8%) were Sea of Japan (Japan, South Korea, Primorsky Krai region of Russia), Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Greenland), Northern Russian, Alaska, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nigeria, St. Helena Bay region of South Africa.
Very Low Omega-3 Levels: Regions with very low levels of omega-3s (average < or equal to 4%) were noted in regions like North, Central, and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
There were some countries and regions that fell in between these levels, such as Northern Canada, Chile, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Tunisia, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, and Mongolia.
What does this tell us? This proves that omega-3 blood levels range quite a bit and that regions with the highest levels are probably not consuming a Western Diet. This study also noted that regions, like the United States, with the lowest omega-3 levels are at a greater risk of chronic disease.
What a Diet Rich in Omega-3’s Looks Like
Since studies have found that diet plays the largest role in omega-3 blood levels, you may be wondering what these regions eat on a regular basis to keep their omega-3 levels optimal.
For one, their diet is far from a western diet, also known as the Standard American Diet. And, it is no coincidence that the regions that haven’t adopted western food habits happen to have the highest blood levels of omega-3’s. For example, regions with the highest EPA + DHA blood levels, like the Pacific Island Nations and Japan, consume a lot more seafood than westerners.
Diet is key, and by avoiding inflammatory foods found in the western diet, and focusing on wholesome, anti-inflammatory foods, and fish rich in omega-3’s, it’s much easier to maintain high levels of omega-3s.
So, What Are We Doing Wrong?
As a country, we are doing diet all wrong, and we are not the only ones. Other regions like Canada and parts of the UK that have adopted more western eating habits also rank very low on the omega-3 index.
We are consuming far too many inflammatory and damaged fats high in omega-6 fatty acids, and not nearly enough food rich in omega-3s. And, since we know that low levels of omega-3s can increase our risk of heart disease, we as a country are putting ourselves at a much higher risk of chronic disease.
So, what’s the solution? We must get rid of the inflammatory junk. It’s time to eliminate the trans and hydrogenated fats in foods like pastries, bread, crackers, and fast food, and focus on healthy fats.
Consuming more wild-caught fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds to boost our omega-3 levels is key. Supplementing with a high-quality fish oil can also be beneficial.
Our risk for chronic disease really begins in the kitchen. We have the power to turn things around, and it all starts with the foods we choose to eat every single day. So, here’s your invitation to make a change today.
Our challenge to you: take small steps daily to swap inflammatory foods out of your diet and include moreo anti-inflammatory foods to help boost your omega-3 levels.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you make some serious changes for better health starting today.
- Inflammatory vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn)
- Fried fast food
- Sweetened beverages
- Wild-caught salmon
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds