The scientific evidence is irrefutable: omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) has a tremendous impact on your health and well-being. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming too: cultures throughout history which have enjoyed foods rich in essential fatty acids, such as fish and nuts, experienced longer and heartier lives.
Two isolated cultural groups in particular, the Bama Yao Chinese villagers (1) and the Greenland Eskimos (2), showcase the positive benefits of omega-3. The Greenland Eskimos consumed large amounts of omega-3 with fish as their mainstay, and thus enjoyed greater protection against heart disease despite a substantial intake of fat and cholesterol. Secondly, the Bama Yao villagers, which are renowned for a life expectancy well over 100 years, attribute their secret to longevity to a plant-based diet rich in hemp seed. In addition to the fatty acid benefits, hemp seeds also fortified the villagers with additional nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamins A, E, D, many B vitamins, and dietary fiber.
Experts agree that wild-caught fish, how the Eskimos ate it, is much better for your omega-3 intake than processed or fried fish. In comparison, non-gmo hemp seeds can be eaten at anytime but its oil quickly oxidizes and has a low burn rate ( cold-pressed hemp seed oil is great as a dressing but poor choice as a cooking oil ).
Moreover, omega‑3 is not the only fatty acid that plays a role in sustaining health; the ratio between omega‑3 and omega‑6 is also an important factor. Omega-6 fatty acids you must get from your diet and are primarily used for energy (3).
The recommended ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in is 4:1 or less. However, the Western diet has a ratio between 10:1 and as high as 50:1. Medical research suggests that disproportionate levels of omega-6’s to omega-3’s increases the risk of disease along with many others ailments (4).
Those who follow a Western diet (a diet high in processed, fried, and fatty foods) are typically eating way too much omega-6 relative to omega-3s, which can lead to serious health problems. Foods high in omega-6 PUFA include vegetable oils like palm oil, soybean oil, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil, and also any foods – including fish – that have been fried or processed. It can also include fish that isn’t wild-caught.
Fresh fish and hemp seeds are a great place to start in order to nourish your mind and body with a more balanced fatty acid intake. Yet when one compares the ratios of hemp seeds ( 2.5:1 ) and wild caught fish ( 1:1 ), hemp seeds have an obvious advantage with a more optimal omega fatty acid ratio between 6 and 3. In addition to being more balanced for human consumption, hemp seeds also avoid the pitfalls from harvesting our omega-3s from wild fisheries.
Since much of the wild caught fish are harvested non sustainably from the seas every year, not to mention wild caught fish may be contaminated with heavy metals such as mercury (5), many environmentalist see hemp as a greener alternative source of PUFAs. Yet, you insist on eating fish, as a rule of thumb, the fresher your seafood the better; but if you live far from the coast you will be forced to pay a higher price in terms of an increased carbon footprint for fresh quality product. Locally grown hemp seeds is always a safe bet!
And, of course, we would love to be your supplier of domestic grown hemp seeds. We make it easy for you to enjoy hemp everyday. Try out our Spectrum Pack program where we will ship to you two of each of our 1.25 OZ cups: hulled seeds, toasted seeds, seeds oil and our Hemp Hottie and Honey BBQ sauces!
Lastly, for those fast fact learners, below is a list of all the proven benefits of omega-3 fatty acids which we borrowed from the website www.healthline.com (8).
- Improving heart health: Omega-3 fatty acids can increase "good" HDL cholesterol. They can also reduce triglycerides, blood pressure and the formation of arterial plaques.
- Supporting mental health: Taking omega-3s can reduce symptoms of depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It can also reduce the risk of psychotic disorders for those who are at risk.
- Reducing weight and waist size: Omega-3 fats play an important role in weight management and can help reduce waist circumference.
- Decreasing liver fat: Consuming omega-3s in your diet can help decrease the amount of fat in your liver.
- Supporting infant brain development: Omega-3s are extremely important for brain development in babies.
- Fighting inflammation: Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, meaning they can reduce the inflammation in your body that can contribute to a number of chronic diseases.
- Preventing dementia: People who eat more fish, which is high in omega-3 fats, tend to have a slower decline in brain function in old age. Omega-3s may also help improve memory in older people.
- Promoting bone health: People with higher omega-3 intake and blood levels tend to have better bone mineral density.
- Preventing asthma: Omega-3 intake can help reduce symptoms of asthma, especially in early life.
In summary, there is evidence for the beneficial effect of regular fish consumption (up to 2–3 times/week) both in healthy subjects and in those at considerable risk for coronary artery disease or with established coronary artery disease. Fried or processed fish containing partially hydrogenated fats (“trans” fatty acids) and salted or pickled fish, should be avoided. A National Institutes of Health workshop held in 1999 resulted in the recommendation of a combined average EPA and DHA intake of 650 mg/day for healthy adults.36 The newly released American Heart Association guidelines37 included the following recommendations with respect to omega-3 fatty acid supplements: “Consumption of 1 fatty fish meal per day (or alternatively, a fish oil supplement) could result in an ω3 fatty acid intake (ie, EPA and DHA) of ~900mg/d, an amount shown to beneficially affect coronary heart disease mortality rates in patients with coronary disease.” Current mean intakes (adults) of EPA and DHA (combined) are about 130 mg/d or 14%–20% of these target intakes of 650 mg/d and 900 mg/d.