Omega 3’s – Top 5 sources to lower cholesterol

By HappySkinnyGirl

This is a guest post by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

If you have been following along, you know from the article “Get a Grip on Fatty Acids” that the right ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids promotes lower cholesterol.

The goal is not to cut omega 6 fatty acids (such as corn oil, beef, and chicken) completely from the diet, but to achieve a ratio of 4:1 or 1:1 omega 6 to omega 3. In order to attain this ratio you need to increase your omega 3 intake.

Your options for doing this:

1. Eat fish at least twice a week.

If you like fish, this would be my first choice. Fish contains DHA. Research is starting to indicate health benefits linked to DHA alone. Be aware of mercury content of fish, especially if you are pregnant.

2. Take a fish oil supplement.

Start with the smallest bottle you can find and make sure you do not have the unpleasant side effect of burping with a fishy aftertaste. Not everyone has this problem, so you may be fine. To decrease likelihood of this problem I recommend taking the supplement and then eating. That way, something is “on top” of the fish oil. Fish oil has a tendency to go rancid, so keep supplement refrigerated, especially if you buy a bottle of 250 or more.

3. Flaxseed.

You can buy flaxseed two different ways – whole seed or ground. In order for the body to utilize the omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed must be ground. If the flaxseed is not ground it passes straight through the body without being absorbed. Flaxseed is high in fiber, so by ingesting whole flaxseed you have increased your fiber intake, which is beneficial, but if you grind your flaxseed you will have the added benefit of increasing your omega-3 fatty acid intake and lowering cholesterol.

Using a coffee grinder is a simple way to grind your flaxseeds. Another option is to purchase flaxseed already ground. Flaxseed has a tendency to go rancid, for this reason keep ground seeds refrigerated. You can increase your intake by adding flaxseed to foods during preparation, such as spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, chili, hot cereal, muffins, pancakes, and yogurt.

4. Flaxseed oil supplement.

Provides the omega 3 fatty acid ALA in a simple supplement. Now, ALA is not as effective as DHA and EPA at lowering cholesterol, but still results in an improved ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. Again, may go rancid so refrigerate.

5. Add omega 3 nut and seed sources to your daily intake.

Especially walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and sesame seeds. Nuts are high calorie, so watch your intake. If you gain weight, you are not doing your heart any favors!

Now, if you would like some one-on-one help to lower cholesterol, check out Lower Cholesterol Levels 2.0, offered by Lisa Nelson, registered dietitian.

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7 Comments on Omega 3’s – Top 5 sources to lower cholesterol

  1. Chris Desouza
    July 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm (10 years ago)

    This is a great guest post. Very informative. I will have a link to this post on my blog. I think everyone should follow the guidelines and suggestions described here in.

    Good stuff.


  2. Schubsta
    July 12, 2008 at 12:52 am (10 years ago)

    Yeah, as informative as always.
    A pleasure to read your posts.


  3. Charles
    July 19, 2008 at 10:09 am (10 years ago) I’m doing something right. Taking fish oil supplement and flax seed. Good tip about grinding up the flax seed. Didn’t know about it at first and was just adding them unground.

  4. Cynthia
    July 20, 2008 at 8:35 pm (10 years ago)

    Great post! I do a fish oil supplement capsule, use some ground flax seed (Just ground a new batch tonight!) and also use some straight fish oil. And of course, nuts and seeds are also part of my diet, not to mention salmon and other fish like herring and/or sardines.

    If you are looking for a great tasting fish oil, try Carlson Finest Lemon Flavor… it really tastes great! And a teaspoon serving goes nicely in things like fruit smoothies or yogurt mixed with fruit.

  5. Mark Salinas
    August 14, 2008 at 1:24 pm (10 years ago)

    Fish, fish, fish…..I love it! Nice post! Thanks!

  6. MizFit
    August 24, 2008 at 2:37 am (9 years ago)

    chia chia chia 🙂

  7. Amber
    October 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm (9 years ago)

    When eating fish for Omega 3s, make sure it’s wild vs. farm raised.