Fitness became a lifestyle choice due to a startling increase in cardiovascular disease caused by: smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and fatty foods.
The race was on to find a easy fix and a “cure all”.
Researchers and physicians knew increased calorie consumption with limited physical activity increased weight. Therefore, the patients had to either: increase activity, decrease calories, or both. They knew fats had the most calories per Gram (9). This resulted in the “no-fat, non-fat, and low-fat foods” craze.
As you are aware, extremes never end well. This craze created side-effects as a result of cutting all fat from diets such as joint stiffness, vitamin B deficiencies, decrease in Omega – 6s (linoleic or LA), and Omega 3s (alpha linoleic or ALA) which are instrumental in building cell membranes.
Two Keys Facts
- The body cannot manufacture Omega 3s and 6s.
- The body cannot function optimally without these healthy nutrients in our diet!
Without these fats – Polyunsaturated fats, (also known as the essential fatty acids), our bodies do not have the ability to optimally rebuild our cells. Bad things begin to occur: joint pain, frequent colds, dry skin, brittle hair/ nails, heart attacks, strokes, narrowing of blood vessels, certain cancers, hypertension, lung disease, depression, attention deficit disorder, macular degeneration, and other diseases.
It has taken many years to convince the mainstream that not all fat is bad.
There are four basic types of fat we consume from food:
- Polyunsaturated fat,
- Monounsaturated fat,
- Saturated fat and
- Trans-fat, from partially hydrogenated oils.
Saturated fat is less healthy; it is found in red meats, whole dairy products, and some tropical oils. Excess amounts of these fats cause coronary artery disease, secondarily from hypercholesterolemia. The IFPA guidelines recommend that only 5% of your daily consumption should come from saturated fat.
Trans-fats are bad. These fats are/were created in labs to extend food shelf-life. There are no guidelines for trans-fats, and there are no benefits gained from the consumption of trans-fats.
Monounsaturated fats come from olive oils and canola oils. These fats protect our cardiovascular system, and can lower the risk of insulin resistance.
Polyunsaturated fats, which you now know as the omegas, are essential to healthy living. The western diet does not lack Omega 6s. They are present in safflower, corn, cottonseed, and sunflower oils. You will see these in most all packaged foods. Even though omegas are the healthy fats, moderation is the key. Omega 6s should be consumed less than Omega 3s. The typical western diet contains 14 to 25 times more Omega 6s than Omega 3-fatty acids. The optimum ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s should be somewhere between 1 to 1, and 4 to 1.
According to William S. Harris, from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the impact of Omega 3s are said to be viewed as one of the most important findings in the history of modern nutritional science. It has also been stated by researchers and scientists that the massive increase in heart disease and cancer, is the direct result of a fish oil deficiency. We must include these fish oils into our diet!
This is where Salmon comes into play.
There has been much controversy in the difference between farm-raised and wild salmon. Fact from fiction promotes: wild salmon is better for you. Wild salmon eat zooplankton (tiny single-celled organisms). When they are small and still growing, they will consume Krill (small crustaceans).
There are six different types of Salmon in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans:
- Cherry salmon,
- Chinook salmon,
- Chum salmon,
- Coho salmon,
- Pink salmon,
- Sockeye salmon
There are also Salmon found in fresh water, these include:
- Steelhead or Rainbow trout
These fish eat what nature has provided, and the health benefits are passed on to us.
Farm raised salmon are fed pellets that have dyes to enhance the color of the fish. These fish cannot be as nutritional as wild salmon, and the cost is much less per pound. Know your grocer, fish house, and restaurants; anywhere you may buy or consume fish. Be sure to ask if the fish are wild, or farm-raised.
Wild salmon are a source of marine-derived:
- omega 3s,
- B vitamins,
- Calcium (when canned with bones),
- Selenium, Vitamin D,
Wild salmon are more expensive than farm-raised salmon; however, the health benefit outweighs the downside of cost. Prioritize your food choices rather than taking the risk of not getting the nutrients needed for a healthy body. The recommended amounts per week are 3-4 ounces, 2-4 times per week.
There are alternatives to salmon:
- Alaskan halibut
- canned Albacore tuna
- sea bass
The Eskimos in Greenland (who were first recognized for having little or no heart disease, even though their diet was high in fat) the Cretans, (whose diet is enriched with Omega 3s from plant sources and fish) and the Japanese (whose diet primarily contains fish as their source of protein) all have significant similarities in their life span and quality of life due to low incidence of diseases associated with high intakes of the healthy Omega 3s.
It has also been found the cultures that consume large amounts of cold water fish, have a significantly lower incidence of depression. In one report it is estimated that 99% of Americans do not consume enough Omega 3s fatty acids, and 20% have such low levels, they cannot even be registered in testing.
The bottom line is that salmon is one of the richest in nutrient value, it is tasty, and it can be found easily in season.
Mrs. Athena Bell,
Exec VP IFPA