June 27, 2004

Eat Your Omega-3s

According to the UK Independent, experts expect a major mental health crisis in coming years due to declining levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet:

...Research due to be released at the conference of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids this week will show that pregnant women with lower intakes of omega-3 are more likely to have children who will go on to have behavioural problems, attention disorders and other problems.

The mothers themselves were more likely to suffer from depression if they had lower-than-average intakes of the fatty acid.

...This follows a study highlighted earlier this year by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which revealed a world-wide link between a lack of omega-3 in the diet and schizophrenia. This research showed that people who ate high levels of sugar and dairy products, instead of oily fish, were more likely to develop severe mental illness.

...Professor Crawford said that at the beginning of the century, people's omega-3 intake was higher because of traditional farming practices where cows and lambs were fed on grass.

However, intensive agriculture practices over the past 50 years have meant that livestock is now fed on grain and vitamins rather than omega-3-rich foods. ...

You can get Omega-3 supplements at your local health food store, usually from sources like flaxseed or evening primrose oil. You can also get extra Omega-3s from walnuts and dark leafy, greens. I have a moral dilemma with recommending diets higher in fish because we're wiping them out to the tune of having destroyed 90% of big fish stocks since 1950. The plants will presumably grow back.

Posted by natasha at June 27, 2004 05:58 PM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

The fish will come back, too. You're right, though: First we'll have to stop eating them.

Posted by: Isabeau at June 27, 2004 07:36 PM