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When it comes to fats, it’s becoming common knowledge that they are not the villainous foes we all thought. Fats are good for us and, if you haven’t heard, eating them can even help you lose weight. However, as the world of fats becomes gracefully demystified, you may begin to develop even more questions. One often discussed yet mysterious fat is omega-3 fatty acids—they’re fantastic for your health, but do you know why?
Why Are Omega-3s So Great?
Omega-3s boast incredible benefits in the body. They act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents when present in balanced levels. Unfortunately, our diets tend to be too heavy on omega-6s (found in vegetable oils), with the average Westerner consuming 15 servings of omega-6 for every 1 serving of omega-3s. A more beneficial, health promoting ratio lies around 6:1 or lower, which means consuming more omega-3s and limiting omega-6 intake. Proper omega-3 consumption can encourage lower blood triglycerides, reduce the risk of many cancers, reduce the severity of depression symptoms and the onset of cognitive decline, improve baby development and reduce ADHD symptoms, among a myriad of other wonders!
What Types of Omega-3s are There?
There are, fittingly, three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and ALA. EPA is a powerful anti-inflammatory and has been found beneficial in fighting mental conditions such as depression. DHA is a structural component of cell membranes and makes up 40 percent of the brain’s polyunsaturated fats. DHA is particularly important during and after pregnancy, as DHA is integral in the development of the nervous system. ALA is the omega-3 found mainly in fatty plant sources. Although it’s more common in our diets, ALA must be converted into EPA or DHA in order to be functional in the body. This process is extremely inefficient with little yield, so ALA is not the ideal source of omega-3s.
Where Can You Get Them?
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids must be consumed through a healthy diet; the body does not create its own. The most potent sources are salmon, fish oil, sardines and anchovies, which contain EPA and DHA. There are also vegan sources, such as flax, chia, hemp, soybeans and walnuts, which are filled with ALA. Unfortunately, ALA is ineffective as the sole source of omega-3s in the body. Luckily, supplements, even vegan ones, are easy to find.
Are Supplements Just as Effective?
Unless you’re consuming fatty seafood on a weekly basis, supplements are an excellent way to boost your omega-3 intake. Those who eat seafood can get balanced supplements filled with EPA and DHA sourced from fish oil and krill oil. Vegans and vegetarians can enjoy a high DHA supplement made from algae. In fact, fish source their own omega-3s from algae, so algal oil is an incredibly potent (and sustainable) source. Regardless of your dietary preferences, there is a supplement that can suit your omega-3 needs. The most important thing is that you’re getting a balanced intake of this essential, super powerful fatty acid.
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By Jennifer Molidor, PhD
Climate change, habitat loss and pollution are overwhelming our planet. Thankfully, these enormous threats are being met by a bold new wave of environmental activism.
Trump Makes Strange Claim About Water Efficient Toilets: 'People Are Flushing Toilets 10 Times, 15 Times'
President Donald Trump mocked water-efficiency standards in new constructions last week. Trump said, "People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion." Trump asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a federal review of those standards since, he claimed with no evidence, that they are making bathrooms unusable and wasting water, as NBC News reported.
By Carey Gillam
Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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