Our recent fish oil post sparked tons of interesting conversations. One reader, Catherine, had a very interesting take on it…
Here’s MY concern with regards to your fish oil thing….I’m allergic to fish. If it has scales & lives in water, then I don’t have it…….unless I’m feeling suicidal. I am allergic to nuts, as well. (pecans, walnut, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts.etc)
And don’t give me that k-rap about a peanut being a “legume”. When I eat a peanut, I break out in hives & my throat closes up. I eat beans, lentils or peas, nothing happens.
So, all these articles go on & on about healthy fats, omega-this, how wonderful it is for you to chow down on almonds & I think “But what if I CAN’T???”
We didn’t want to leave her in the lurches. So we asked our good friend and colleague Dr Kathryn Woodall to address her concerns. Seems flax seeds might be the ticket… Here’s what she had to say:
Flax Seeds Are A Good Source Of Omega 3, If You Can’t Stomach Fish Oil…
By Dr Kathryn Woodall
Food allergies have you feeling like you have to miss out on the superfoods everyone else is raving about?
When it comes to omega-3’s, all the articles talk about fish oil—be it cod, krill, salmon or some other scaly beast. A few authors will list nuts as a source. But if the mere thought of either leaves your throat itching, I’ve got good news for you.
Flax seed is an excellent source of essential oils. It’s about 4:1 omega-3:omega-6. And because they’re seeds, people are rarely allergic to them. (Hempseed works too, but it’s closer to 1:2. That’s fine if you don’t have a lot of other omega-6’s in your diet, but not good enough if you do.)
However, there’s a slight catch. Omega-3’s go rancid very easily. That’s the reason the good quality fish oil is processed in a plant that keeps temperatures low and adds stabilizers to keep the oil fresh, and why it’s best to keep any raw nuts/nut oils you’re using for omega-3’s in the fridge.
Along those same lines, you’ll want to keep the flax seed and hempseed in the fridge and only take out the 1-2 tablespoons you’re going to use that day.
You can throw your flax seeds in your smoothie, sprinkle them over a salad, add them to stir-fry (once it’s on your plate), or use a small grinder to turn them into a consistency that lets them be mixed into your oatmeal or spread on veggies, fruit, or toast.
As an added bonus, you’ll get omega-3’s, a little protein, and some additional fiber in your diet compared to swallowing a fish oil capsule with only the oil. Who said allergy options are never as good as other sources?
If you don’t want the fiber or protein, there’re some companies that sell flaxseed oil, but you’ll want to take great care that they’re processed and stored in a way that keeps the oil fresh. You’ll also want to make sure they didn’t add soy or some other nut oil if allergies are an issue.
We all want to have a balance of about 1:2 omega-3:omega-6 in our diet to reap the positive benefits of both. So for a quick reference, here’s a list of a few sources of both for you.
- Cold water fish/oil
- Flax seed
- Walnuts/walnut oil
There is some debate, but there are those who claim that meat, cheese, and milk from grass-fed beef, as well as eggs from chickens fed greens and insects, have higher levels of omega-3 than their counterparts. Either way, that doesn’t necessarily make them ideal sources of omega-3.
- Borage oil
- Corn oil
- Hemp oil
- Many nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Safflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Soybean oil
- Most vegetable oils
- Whole grains
Until next time, may the choices and actions you take today, create a healthier ‘you’ tomorrow. Enjoy your flax seeds.