Monthly Archives: March 2014

Should we worry about EFAs? (essential fatty acids)

flaxflower

(flax flowers)

Nutritionists warn about too much omega 6. They are sort of wrong, but don’t understand the difference between parent and derived oils so lump everything into one. We will explain why you should be changing your thinking about EFAs to include a 2:1 ratio of omega 6 (parent) to omega 3.

 

Omega-3s and omega-6s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that differ from each other in chemical structure and function. Modern diets contain few sources of omega 3s, mainly the fat of cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. Omega-3s are plentiful in diets of unprocessed foods and where grazing animals eat grass. By contrast, today’s western diets are overloaded with omega-6s, mainly in oils  and from the meat of animals that are fed grain.  There is a misconception among nutritionists that we already get plenty of omega-6 in our diets. But actually we get very little pure, unadulterated “parent” omega 6 oils because of the processing – we only get the “bad” form of omega 6.

 

Hormones derived from these bad omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while hormones from omega-3 fatty acids have the opposite effect.

 

Now, how do you determine what your body really needs? It’s the difference between processed foods and raw organic food (parent). Parent Essential Oils start out in food, but by the time the food processors finish, these nutrients are damaged, removed, or deactivated. This is what most EFA supplements or oils, end up as. You need to only take “parent” oils or those extracted from raw foods, not the processed ones.

 

Parent Omega-6 is Linoleic Acid (polyunsaturated) from safflower, sunflower, and evening primrose. Your body will utilize mostly the parent form and make the derivatives as needed (GLA, DGLA, AA). Parent Omega-3 is  Alpha Linolenic Acid (super-unsaturated) from flax, hemp. Derivatives are SDA, EPA, DHA. (Fish oil is naturally almost 100% derivative omega-3, therefore it is not the ideal form for long-term supplementation). The proper ratio for supplementing with these oils is 2:1 in favor of Omega 6 parent oil. If you adhere to this you will avoid the harmful overdoses of “derivatives,” as found in so many commercial products. Make sure the source of your oil is organic as well to avoid hormonal complications from pesticides.

 

As for the need for Omega 9s, the body needs omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids but can’t make them, which is why they’re termed “essential” – we must get them from our diets. Omega-9 fats are described as “non-essential,” because our bodies can synthesize them from other things we eat, and we don’t have to depend on direct dietary sources to obtain them. The main omega-9 is oleic acid, found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil and sunflower oil so if you use any of those or eat sunflower seeds you will get enough omega 9.

 

Therefore, look at what is on your shelf. We advise pitching the fish oils and anything that just says it contains GLA,AA, EPA, DHA, etc. as those are derivatives and not the health parent oils. We found a good plant oil that we’ve been using for years. Check it out: http://bit.ly/1jPU7Cf

 

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Great Chinese Proverb

“One quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarters keep your doctor alive”

 

Alan Roettinger, author of “Speed Vegan”, advises that you should listen to how your body feels when you eat. If you feel bad after stuffing yourself, then you may develop guilt at eating so much.* This is an indicator you ought to listen to your feelings and design your eating habits so you always feeling good after you eat. He also advises food combining (no carbs with protein). We have been advising this for years telling folks… melon by itself, veggies go with anything, sugar compromises digestion so you don’t get much value from the food.. (no desert for awhile after the meal). 

 

I recently was advised by my ND to go on a no sulfur diet (no chocolate, coffee, beans, cruciferous veggies, kale, etc). Six weeks later I feel so much lighter and “cleaner” although am getting kind of sick of squash and salad. If we listen to our bodies they may be better at advising us what to eat than all those commercials for weight loss diets.

 

*-from “Simply Health Delicious”, Nexus magazine, Mar/Apr 2014

Which kind of soy is good for you?

questionSoybeans were originally grown as a cover crop to be turned into the soil as fertilizer. Somewhere along the line someone got the idea to make it into feed for animals and than somewhere further down the line someone decided it was good for people. But soybeans have an enzyme inhibitor that prevents them from being digested properly. Babies fed soy formula cry because of the gas it creates in their tummies. This soy, because it is unable to be broken down in the body, can affect the hormone regulation and many physicians warn that it can contribute to breast cancer. The soy protein isolates in foods such as tofu, soymilk and edamame have potentially anti-nutritive value due to their high phyate and oxalic acid levels.

 

But, there is a good side of soy too. When the soybean is fermented or sprouted this enzyme inhibitor disappears and thus the soy can be digested  allowing nutritive bioavailability without the possible ill effects of the uncultured soybean. It displays characteristics of a selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulator (SERM) rather than an estrogen  (Pike et al. 1999). What this means is that the beneficial isoflavone precursors (know to be used in cancer treatment) can be converted to their active forms, genestein and diadzein. However, genistein, with few exceptions, is not a major isoflavone of most soy foods and products consumed in Western countries, unless these have undergone fermentation, as in traditional foods such as tempeh, natto, and to some extent miso (Coward et al. 1993). 

 

Soybeans are rich in nitrogen, polysaccharides, selenium, zinc, vitamin Bs, D2, E and K1, but this are less available unless the bean is sprouted or fermented.  In addition to the nutritive value, fermented soy is a great source of protein that is lactose-free and vegan. With bodybuilders, dieters and health conscious individuals looking for a good meal replacement, a fermented soy product with added curcumin as an anti-inflammatory should be considered. Not only will you be getting a nutritious meal substitute, but you will be ingesting the disease fighting benefits of the isoflavones. So next time you go looking for a soy product make sure it is fermented or sprouted.

 

PS. Ck out this product on Amazon…. we find it to meet our criteria.  http://amzn.to/1gtx5cN

 

  • Pike AC, Brzozowski AM, Hubbard RE, Bonn T, Thorsell AG, Engström O, et al. Structure of the ligand-binding domain of oestrogen receptor beta in the presence of a partial agonist and a full antagonist. EMBO J. 1999;18:4608–4618. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Coward L, Barnes NC, Setchell KDR, Barnes S. Genistein and daidzein, and their glycosides conjugates: anti-tumor isoflavones in soybean foods from American and Asian diets. J Agric Food Chem. 1993;41:1961–1967.