By Larry Plesent
As promised, here is part two of the Brain Power series.
This month we focus on omega 3 and omega 6 edible oils. These are the cod liver oils they tried to give your great grandmother when she was a kid. The oils were supposed to be a preventative for nearly everything that ails you. Turns out they were pretty much spot on.
Every mammal on earth has enzymes to re-manufacture various types of food oils (oils are also called fatty acids) that the body requires to work properly. And one of the body parts which require these oils is YOUR BRAIN. Some current thinking suggests that most humans on earth vanished about 70,000 years ago during a 10-year volcano-induced winter that was followed by a thousand years of ice age. According to this idea, all humans alive today may have have descended from the handful of survivors from those times; which shows how closely related we all in fact are.
Humans lost the ability to manufacture two types of necessary oil molecules during this turbulent era. This forced us all to ingest them from food or become sickly, depressed and forgetful. “What was I just talking about?” Because you need them and must eat them, these oils are called essential fatty acids, or EFAs. Now that YOU know this you can adjust your diet or supplementation to compensate and move on to the next great adventure.
Land and sea insects make a lot of EFAs, and critters that eat them pass them on up the food chain. That is why eggs from hens allowed to roam free and supplement their diet with bugs are so much healthier for us. Fatty, cold water fish like cod, salmon and trout have a lot of EFAs in them too.
People who like to take supplements should consider krill oil. Five or six tiny microcapsules a day provide an excellent buffer for your brain health. Because they are so small and potent, krill oil capsules are easy to swallow and easy to digest.
Vegetable-based alternatives include flax and hemp seed oils. Like the animal based products, these oils degrade quickly with exposure to air, light and warmth. Keep oil-based supplements refrigerated regardless of their source, and never buy liquid flax or hemp seed oils that were not refrigerated in the store, as they will spoil rapidly upon opening. Capsules bypass all this by cutting off the oxygen in the air from getting at the oils.
Our settler ancestors ate salmon several times a week (or more) and all eggs were “free range.” I also suspect they ate more than a few insects when they had to. Essential fatty acid deficiencies are a widespread problem in modern societies. Are YOUR children eating ANYTHING that contains these health-giving oils? If the answer is, probably not, then supplement their modern stripped-out diet with fish and with oils.
Their brains will thank you for it.
And a big thank-you to Woody Allen for reminding us all that your brain should be your second favorite organ too!