Brain Foods

Brain Foods

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Getting more Omega-3s

Getting more Omega-3s

Adding more omega-3 fatty acids to one's diet is easy to do?if one likes fish. While salmon is the best source at 1700 mg per 3-ounce serving, even cod supplies 100 mg. (See sidebar: Amount of Omega-3s in Fish.)

However, some people dislike fish or are allergic, and others should either avoid fish or limit their consumption because of the danger of ingesting mercury?particularly pregnant women and nursing mothers. Mercury is especially toxic to the brain and nervous system of babies and young children.

Flaxseed is the best source of omega-3s in the vegetable kingdom. One rounded tablespoon of milled flaxseed (or one teaspoon of flaxseed oil) supplies 2000 mg of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the essential fatty acid that humans cannot make. Flaxseed also contains valuable cancer-fighting lignans (although the oil does not).

Other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, Brazil nuts, butternuts, chia seeds, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, roasted or cooked soybeans, soybean sprouts, beans of various types, peanuts, olives, spirulina, spinach, purslane, oat germ, wheat germ, lamb, pork, Roquefort and cheddar cheese. Of these, purslane and walnuts are the best sources.

Nutritionist Paul Thomas recommends, "When supplementing with EPA and DHA, choose fish-oil products concentrated in these omega-3 fatty acids. Strict vegetarians will need to buy an algae-derived DHA supplement. At moderate levels of supplementation, EPA and DHA appear to be free of side effects, though they may cause fishy-tasting belches."

Fish-oil supplements and flaxseed oil are both very vulnerable to becoming rancid, and should be kept in the refrigerator. Flaxseed oil should have a "mellow" nutty taste. When it is rancid, it tastes bitter.

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