In the bustling city of Singapore and around the globe, we often find ourselves immersed in the whirlwind of modern life. Now I consider myself a somewhat healthy person – I eat balanced meals, take my vitamins, and try to exercise when I can. This is why I was so shocked when I measured only 4.61% on my omega-3 blood test. The desirable range is between 8% – 12%.
Yes, there is actually a blood test to find out about your omega-3 levels (which I guess I didn’t pass). Keep reading this article and I will fill you in.
What are Omega-3s, and why do you need them?
Most people have heard about “omega-3”, “EPA” and “DHA,” but what do these terms mean? Omega-3s are fatty acids that are essential for human health. The human body can’t easily produce these fats on its own, so you have to get them from dietary sources.
There are three main types of omega-3s: ALA, EPA, and DHA. The ones we need to focus on most for a healthy lifestyle are EPA and DHA, which are primarily found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in certain types of algae. (ALA omega-3s are found in seeds and nuts, but most people already get enough of these omega-3s. Besides, the most potent benefits are with EPA and DHA omega-3s).
This is all great info, but what is the actual benefit of these omega-3s? Why do we need them? Let me provide you with some details. These fatty acids are crucial for various bodily functions, including:
- Brain Boost: DHA, in particular, is like brain fuel. It’s a key component of brain cell membranes and supports cognitive function, memory, and mood stability.
- Heart Health: EPA and DHA are known for their ability to promote cardiovascular well-being. They help reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and prevent blood clotting, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Eye Health: DHA supports eye health and is found in large amounts in the retina of the eye.
- Healthy Pregnancy: For expectant mothers, DHA is vital for the development of the baby’s brain and eyes, reducing the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.
How can you find out about your omega-3 levels?
If you are unsure or just curious about your omega-3 levels, one way to determine if you’re deficient is through a simple blood test that measures this.
It’s an eye-opening experience (like it was for me) to discover that you fall below the optimal range. If your levels are in the desirable range, you are on the right track – keep up the good work.
My test was administered through OmegaQuant, but there are other providers out there (even some doctors might be able to do it for you). The process was super easy. I was sent an OmegaQuant test kit in the mail with all the necessary items for the test.
I pricked my finger and placed a drop of my blood on the test paper that was provided. Sealed up in the prepaid postage envelope and dropped it in the mail. A few weeks later I received my personalized results via email.
How can you improve your omega-3 levels?
Now let’s get back to my “below average” test results (yes, it’s a bit embarrassing). Let me provide you with more details on what I am now doing to improve my omega-3 levels, and you can do the same too. Modern diets are often rich in processed foods and are lacking in nutrient-dense options, which can contribute to this deficiency.
Fatty Fish in Your Diet
Try to incorporate fatty fish into your family’s weekly meal plan, like salmon, trout, or mackerel, at least twice a week. Although I was the only one who took the test, since we all eat almost the same meals, I have a strong feeling that my boys and husband are also not getting enough omega-3s.
SuperMommy’s Fatty Fish Tip: You can grill it, bake it, or steam it – how you cook the fish is up to you. I personally like to do a dry rub with a variety of spices from different regions and/or include different sauces (pesto, cream, marinara, curry, etc.). This adds a lot of flavor and really diversifies the meal each week.
Take an Omega-3 Supplement
For those of you who might struggle to include fish in your diet due to dietary restrictions, picky eaters in the family, or the fact that you are always on the go, an omega-3 supplement might be what you need! Fish oil, krill oil, or even vegetarian omega-3s are great – just be sure one dose will give you at least 500 mg of EPA+DHA (for tips on how to read a supplement label, look here.) High-quality supplements can provide a reliable and convenient way to bridge the omega-3 gap and maintain optimal health.
SuperMommy’s Supplement Tip: Keep the omega-3 supplements in plain sight (and any other must-have supplements), with a bottle of water nearby. I keep my daytime supplements on my work desk, and my nighttime supplements on my bedside table. This way you will not forget to take them daily.
If you want to know more about the benefits of omega-3 benefits and how to incorporate it into your daily diet, you can check out the “Omega-3s: Always a Good Idea” website.
SuperMommy’s Final Thoughts
Even somewhat healthy people still need a reminder (kick-in-the-butt), to make some healthy lifestyle choices. Remember, our health is a long-term investment, and ensuring that you have sufficient omega-3 (EPA and DHA) in your diet or through supplementation is a small step that can yield enormous benefits. By doing so, you’re not only making a positive investment in your health but also ensuring a brighter and more energetic future for you and your family! Your body will thank you for it!
If you need more information or want some tips on healthy fatty fish recipes or the omega-3 supplements I personally recommend, feel free to leave me a comment or send me a message. Happy to help!