Searching for Sachi Inchi in Peru. I’m hoping to catch the elusive tree with my video camera. (Just kidding, Sacha Inchi grows in the jungle… and most trees are not elusive!)
After my article the other day about omega-3 oils, we got a ton of questions!
So today, I wanted to talk about omega 3 oils — as you want me to talk about them — based on your questions.
In this article, I’ll address the “no-oil” approach to health, talk about which plant foods are better for omega-3 oils, why flax might not be the best choice, why you may need to supplement to get them and much more!
So grab your green smoothie and let’s get rolling…
1. I thought you were a raw foodist and didn’t eat oils (oils are bad for you).
Yes, this was true, at one time I didn’t eat oils because I thought all oils were bad for me. At one time I also was a 100% raw foodist.
Things have changed.
I started taking a more scientific approach to my health protocol. I started getting my blood tested and saw that the numbers weren’t as ideal as natural intended (or as the raw food gurus said they would be!)
Up until I realized that my cholesterol was extremely low I had a no-oil approach.
I still think less oil is better, but when I was faced with the facts that my omega-3 oils were low, I had to change my beliefs.
I would have liked it to be different, but the facts were the facts. I needed to eat more good fats and I needed more omega 3’s.
A supplement was the most efficient way to bring these levels back to normal — since my levels were low across the board.
This has been confirmed clinically by many of the colleagues I work closely with.
These days, I almost cringe to think of myself talking about not eating oils on the blog or in videos because I know for some people that’s just wrong — not for all, but for some.
2. I eat plant based diet with a ton of avocados, don’t I get enough essential fats like omega-3?
The answer to this is a flat out “no,” unless you’re eating other highly rich sources of omega-3’s or taking a supplement.
It’s likely that if you’re following a plant based diet without supplementation that you’re not getting enough EFAs and your balance of omega 3 oils to omega 6 and 9’s will be out of whack.
(It pays to test this to make sure!)
Avocados have about 12.5 times more omega 6 oils than omega 3.
Based on this fact, avocados are not a high source of omega 3 oils, and while they’re fantastic foods, they may not give you the fats your really need.
If you’d like to submit evidence of this fact to the contrary, I’d definitely be willing to look at tests that confirm the opposite of what I’m saying.
I’m not willing to listen to theory though — only evidence!
3. Why would I need to supplement to get my omega-3 oils?
For many, this just seems to be the case.
You can try getting omega-3 oils from your food, but if you’re chronically low you’ll experience dry skin, mood swings, brain fog, increased inflammation and more.
When you eat many plant based omegas the body needs to convert them into long-chain fatty acids. The body is not so efficient at this conversion. Some say it can only convert up to 15%.
These numbers aren’t great, so if you’re struggling with getting enough (or the symptoms I mentioned above), then you may need to change sources — or you may need to take a supplement.
4. What is Sacha Inchi oil and why do you like it better than other plant based sources?
Just to be clear, I want you to get omega-3 oils however you can. I personally think a mix of plant based and sustainable animal sources are best.
But let me tell you about sacha inchi oil and how I “discovered” it…
When we were in Peru back in 2010 with Dr. Williams he was talking very highly about a unique source of omega 3 oil.
I thought I had heard them all…
He told me that this particular plant had more than 90% essential fatty acids and almost 50% of those were omega 3 oils.
What was more impressive was that the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 was about 2:1.
This is very good considering, like I mentioned above, that most people are getting 20 parts omega 6 to one part omega 3!
I asked him more about it and later the next day he handed me a bottle.
The label read “sacha mani” (I knew mani was peanut in Spanish.)
“It’s sacha inchi oil,” he said.
I had heard about sacha inchi oil before, but only in passing.
I had never ordered it or studied it, since no one had ever asked me about it.
It was off my radar.
But this time around, I was interested.
When Dr. Williams had originally looked at my blood tests, he told me my cholesterol was very low and so were my hormones.
I asked him how to bring those levels up.
One of the suggestions he had was to use some more healthy fats in my diet, namely omega 3 oils.
The essential fatty acids help to produce and increase good cholesterol (HDL) and in turn help to produce your hormones.
Many of us – particularly if you’re a raw foodies or vegan – are walking around with low or very low cholesterol.
And if so, our moods may be compromised.
Now this doesn’t mean low cholesterol is necessarily a bad thing.
200 is better than 400!
But it does mean if you’re cholesterol IS low, you may need to look at your hormone production, mood, and sex drive to determine if you need to test these levels or supplement your diet.
When we got back into the states, I did some research on other plant based sources of omega 3 oils and learned that sacha inchi may, in fact, be the best source.
Here’s why… (This will answer the question about the comparison between flax and sacha inchi.)
There has been a lot of talk recently in the health community about flax oil and its anti-nutrients.
Flax oil has lignans that can interfere with the absorption of estrogen.
Lignans can function as a positive or a negative.
Lignans can have a very powerful effect on someone who already may be deficient in hormones – lowering estrogen even more – or even introducing plant estrogen’s into the body that mimic human estrogen’s.
Flax can also be good for someone who is has too much estrogen, but again for those who don’t have enough, it can upset your body’s balance.
So while we’ve been taking flax for a long time, we may have a better option.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take flax, it just means, if you have an option that may be better it may be worth exploring.
Particularly if your hormones are wacky. 🙂
The reason sacha inchi oil hasn’t been brought into the main stream just yet, is because until recently, flax oil wasn’t questioned.
Because of the new studies out, it makes sense to research what other options there are.
More coming tomorrow…
I realize this is getting pretty long and I have about 1500 more words for you, so I’m going to answer the rest of your questions tomorrow!
And by the way, if you want to try sacha inchi oil — right now we have a special that will get you 4 bottles for the price of three (expires on March 7th, 2012) or a discount if you want two.
Here’s where to go now to get this great deal…
Your Question of the Day: Do you like the taste of flax oil?