Two of the things I’ve been getting more questions about lately are of nutrition and supplementation.
We all know that nutrition is of primary importance to everything in life.
It not only impacts us physically, but mentally as well.
I’m sure you feel a huge difference after eating whole foods (fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, etc) compared to processed foods (sweets, pastries, etc).
While we can talk about nutrition and turn this into a 20 hour read, I wanted to break down nutrition into more digestible reads.
And today, I wanted to talk about one component of nutrition that is completely disregarded in the United States: Omega-3 fatty acids.
A Primer On Omega-3s and 6s
I think it’s important to understand what Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are before we get into the juiciness of this post.
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory fatty acids that help with brain health, eye health, and many other things like depression and anxiety.
Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory fatty acids that help with skin and hair growth, bone health, and more.
We may look at pro-inflammatory fatty acids as a bad thing, but it is important to understand that moderation is key here.
There needs to be a good balance of Omega-6s to Omega-3s in the foods that we consume.
In a Western society like the United States, we tend to have on average a 16 to 1 (16:1) ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s.
Ideally we want to bring that down to at least a 4:1 of Omega-6s to Omega-3s.
Omega-3s and Mental Health
As I mentioned previously, Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory fatty acids that help with brain health.
When it comes to mental health, some experts hypothesize that many of those dealing with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders may lack Omega-3s in their diets.
In a Western society like the United States, we tend to have on average a 16 to 1 (16:1) ratio of Omega-6s (pro-inflammatory) to Omega-3s (anti-inflammatory fatty acids).
While we do need both for various bodily processes, we ideally want to bring that down to at least a 4:1 of Omega-6s to Omega-3s.
Found typically in fish (and fish oil supplements), Omega-3s have been researched for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
While there are various forms of Omega-3s, the ones that have been looked into for mental health are EPA and DHA.
Research has shown that depressed individuals who are overweight experience a lot of inflammation — and EPA can help with its anti-inflammatory properties.
While most studies have been done on EPA, DHA shows some promise as well. In one study, those with depression or symptoms of suicidal ideation reported improved symptoms of depression after a combination of EPA and DHA.
2 Tips To Get More Omega-3s In Your Diet
For starters, you want to ideally get around 1000–2000mg of EPA in frequently for mental health purposes.
This amount will also help with overall health.
With that being said, here are two tips I recommend to get more Omega-3’s in your diet.
I. Follow A Mediterranean Diet.
Based on research around Omega-3s, I believe one of the more important strategies that is crucial for your mental health is to consume close to a Mediterranean-styled diet.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the more ideal diets to work towards for those dealing with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Depression tends to be less common in various nations where people consume fish frequently.
For starters, Consuming fish like salmon 3x a week, along with other lean proteins like chicken, can be beneficial for mental health.
If you’re looking to find a good guide on foods that contain EPA, you can look here.
II. Supplement With Fish Oil.
If you find it difficult or costly to eat fish, I have a solution for you.
Supplement with Omega-3 softgels like fish oil. Research supports Fish Oil as an alternative to regularly consuming fish for managing mood disorders.
Fish Oil is an amazing supplement to have in your cabinet whenever you find yourself not eating enough fish in your diet, and one I use regularly.
If you’re in need of a Fish Oil supplement, I love 1st Phorm’s Full-Mega for its quality.
With just 2 softgels, you can get 900mg of EPA in, which nearly hits the goal of 1000mg (or 1g) of EPA.
Boost Your Mood With Nutrition
Improving your Omega-3 intake is just one thing you can do to improve your mental health, but it is something I recommend everyone start doing when they start their mental health journey.
I can tell you from personal experience, I feel tremendously better when I eat fish or supplement with fish oil.
Especially after not getting enough Omega-3s for a long period of time.
Fish oil is one of the supplements that are priority number one on my list of supplements.
To conclude, I wanted to say that there is so much we can talk about with nutrition.
A lot of which we did not cover here.
More will come, but in the meantime, if you need more help on your mental health journey, I created a Startup series called 3 Hacks That Boost Mood & Wellbeing.
Until next time!