Mercola, D.O. discusses the the good fats and candida.
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Q: I read an article recently about how I need to
eat more omega-3 fatty acids to be healthy. What are
those? Why are they important? Are they all right
to include if I'm trying to follow the anti-candida
A: Omega-3 fatty acids are sometimes called essential
fatty acids because they’re essential to human
health, although the majority of us don’t get
enough of them. Dozens of studies have shown that
humans must consume these “good” fats
in order to neutralize free radicals and prevent chronic
disease commonly attributed to aging like heart disease
And for those of you following an anti-candida diet,
omega-3 fats are not only all right to include in
an anti-candida diet, they are of utmost importance.
Candida overgrowth may in fact be due, at least in
part, to a lack of omega-3 fatty acids.
You’ll find omega-3 fatty acids in therapeutic
quantities in flaxseed oil, walnut oil and fish.
By far, the best type of omega-3 fats are those found
in that last category, fish, specifically in cold
water fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. That's
because the omega-3 in fish is high in two fatty acids
crucial to human health, DHA and EPA. These two fatty
acids are pivotal in preventing heart disease, cancer
and many other diseases.
The human brain is also highly dependent on DHA and
low DHA levels have been linked to depression, schizophrenia,
memory loss and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Researchers are now also linking inadequate intake
of these omega-3 fats in pregnant women to premature
birth and low birth weight, and to hyperactivity in
Unfortunately, a great deal of the fish currently
on the market is contaminated with mercury and PCBs
and as a result may be unsafe to eat.
Unless you can be certain the fish you are eating
is free from contaminants I do not recommend eating
Your best chance of avoiding toxins in fish is to
look and ask for “wild caught” fish. They
are less likely to have a high heavy metal content
and have a higher omega-3 content because of their
natural diet. Even though I don’t usually recommend
canned foods, many brands of canned salmon are made
from wild caught fish.
There is a way to get the healthy omega-3 from fish
without the risk of contamination and that is by regularly
consuming fish oil or cod liver oil. Fish oil contains
high levels of the best omega-3 fats—those with
the EPA and DHA fatty acids--and, as it is in pure
form, does not pose the mercury risk of fresh fish.
Adding the omega-3 found in fish and cod liver oils
to your diet will: Help fight and prevent heart disease,
cancer, depression, Alzheimer's, arthritis, diabetes,
ulcers, hyperactivity and many other disease.
fight and prevent heart disease, cancer, depression,
Alzheimer's, arthritis, diabetes, ulcers, hyperactivity
and many other diseases
your energy level and ability to concentrate
Provide greater resistance to common illnesses such
as flu and cold
Help pregnant women avoid premature births, low
birth weight and other complications
As fish oils are by nature very perishable and subject
to variances in quality, it is extremely important
that you use a high-quality brand.
A quick note on the difference between fish oil and
cod liver oil--the main difference between cod liver
oil and fish oil is that cod liver oil is high in
vitamin D. Many people, especially those who don't
have adequate sun exposure, are deficient in vitamin
D and would therefore benefit from taking cod liver
oil. You should have your vitamin D levels tested
to know for sure whether the added vitamin D will
benefit you, as it is possible to overdose on vitamin
D. Generally, I recommend cod liver oil in the cool
winter months when sun exposure is low and fish oil
in the warm summer months when you likely receive
more exposure to the sun.
When talking about omega-3 fats, it’s important
to also be aware of omega-6 fats in order to understand
their immense role in health. These two types of fat,
omega-3 and omega-6, are both essential for human
health. However, the typical American consumes far
too many omega-6 fats in their diet while consuming
very low levels of omega-3. The ideal ratio of omega-6
to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Our ancestors evolved over
millions of years on this ratio. Today, though, our
ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 averages from 20:1 to
50:1! That lack of omega-3 from fish oil is one of
the most serious health issues plaguing contemporary
The primary sources of omega-6 are corn, soy, safflower
and sunflower oil. These oils are overabundant in
the typical diet, which explains our excess omega-6
levels. It’s important to avoid or limit these
A major part of the problem is that in 1900 we had
very little processed vegetable oil, which is virtually
100 percent omega-6 fat, in our diet. In the last
100 years the U.S. population has gone from consuming
virtually no vegetable fats to consuming more than
70 pounds per person per year. It is likely this unnaturally
high consumption of omega-6 fats that is totally distorting
the important omega 6 to omega-3 ratio.
So as I mentioned above, it is vital to reduce the
omega-6 vegetable oils in your diet as much as possible
while increasing the amount of beneficial omega-3
fats, for overall wellness and especially if you’re
on an anti-candida regimen.
Dr. Joseph Mercola is the founder of www.Mercola.com,
the world’s most visited natural health website
with over 35,000 pages of health information and home
of the free “e-Healthy News You Can Use”
newsletter with over 225,000 subscribers. He is a
New York Times bestselling author whose latest book,
Mercola’s Total Health Cookbook & Program,
presents his entire renowned dietary program and over
150 healthy recipes. An Illinois licensed medical
physician, he is trained in both conventional and
natural healthcare, has been in practice over two
decades, and is also the founder/director of The Optimal
Wellness Center in Chicago, one of the nation’s
leading natural health clinics.
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