Perhaps you hate pills but you know you need your vitamins

Big Shotz
Liquid health boost

Maybe you don’t like popping pills…

But you’ve just started a new exercise regime.

Or you know that you need vitamins and minerals for a specific diet or health reason.

There’s now a multivitamin and mineral drink you can take instead.

Big Shotz is a little bottole of essential vitamins and minerals plus Omega 3 to help you take care of your body and encourage it to perform well.

It comes in a Mango & Passionfruit flavour with 11 vitamins, 6 minerals, Omega 3 and Pre-biotic fibre for optimised health and optimum flavour.

We all need omega oils. How do vegans get theirs?

We all know we need omega oils in our diets, but how do vegans get it?

Omega fatty acids are important for every cell in the body so a diet rich in the right balance of omega oils is going to mean a healthier you.

The right balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 is crucial. In the western diet we get too much omega 6 but not enough omega 3 – both are needed to support the heart, eyes and brain.

Vegan Omega Oils 3 6 9
Vegan friendly omega oils

Tricky for vegans and vegetarians

But if it’s difficult for most Westerners, with fish being the best source of omega oils, it’s even more tricky for those who don’t eat any meat.

Granovita, a vegetarian food company, offer a solution in an Organic Omega Oil Blend. It contains the ideal ratio of omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids.

As a mix of flax oil, hemp oil, sesame oil, pumpkin oil and evening primrose oil, you can use it as an alternative to vegetable oil or olive oil, particularly for drizzling on salads, potatoes and soups.

One final point however, while I believe organic foods are more nutritious and beter for the environment, my own research hasn’t identified any direct benefit of organically sourced omega oils. So if anyone has any information on this I’d be interested to know?

Do Omega-3 Fats Support Heart Health?

Researchers found that omega-3 fat supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, writes Suzanne Dixon.

A review of existing research and reanalysis of certain studies on omega-3 fats and heart health has resulted in a surprising finding: The review calls into question the long-standing positive association between heart health and fish oil supplementation. The focus of the analysis was omega-3 supplements rather than dietary sources.

Fishing for better health

In this study, heart and vascular health was measured by longevity: death due to any cause (all-cause mortality), cardiac death, or sudden death due to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Researchers pooled results from 20 previous studies of a total 68,680 adults in a statistical method called meta-analysis. All of the studies included in the meta-analysis were clinical trials in which some of the participants were given omega-3 fat supplements and others were given a placebo (containing no omega-3s).

Researchers found that omega-3 fat supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke. For all of the conditions other than stroke, the results trended in the direction of fish oil supplements protecting against cardiovascular disease, though these results weren’t statistically significant. For stroke, the result trended in the direction of suggesting more harm than benefit from omege-3 fat supplements, though again, results were not statistically significant.

Putting results in context

Why do omega-3s have a heart-healthy reputation? While the results of the meta-analysis demonstrate that the relationship between fish oil and heart health is more complicated than previously thought, keep in mind that, among other heart-related benefits, fish oil has been shown to reduce high blood pressure and high triglycerides, both considered markers for heart disease risk. And studies have consistently associated fish-rich diets, such as the Mediterranean-style diet, with better cardiovascular health.

It should also be considered that of the 3,635 studies assessed, just 20 made the cut for the meta-analysis. Studies are often eliminated because a study’s design makes it difficult to compare with other studies, but they may still be relevant to the larger question of a supplement’s efficacy. Of the more than 3,600 other studies on omega-3 fat that were not included in the review, many support health benefits of taking omega-3 fat supplements.

Cutting through the confusion

So what’s a health-conscious consumer to do? Before deciding whether or not omega-3 supplements are right for you, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Why would I want to boost omega-3s? Omega-3s have shown positive effects in other conditions, including hypertension, anxiety, depression, eczema, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease. If heart disease is your concern, talk to your doctor about all of the things you can do to reduce risk. Omega-3 supplements may have a place in your heart health plan, but exercising and eating right are the more important first-line defences everyone should consider.
  • What are the downsides of supplementing omega-3s? This study found a trend toward increased risk of stroke in people taking omega-3 supplements—because the results were not statistically significant, however, it’s not clear, based on this study, what recommendations should be made.
  • What are the downsides of not getting enough omega-3s? People take omega-3 supplements for a variety of reasons. If you feel omega-3 supplements provide some health benefit, it may be worth it to keep taking them. Ask your doctor if you’re uncertain.
  • Can I get omega-3s from food? In addition to cold-water fish—such as salmon, sardines, halibut, pollock, and cod—plenty of foods contain omega-3 fats, including linseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and other nuts and seeds. Though most of the evidence showing EPA-DHA benefit has been with fish oil, there are other health benefits of including plant sources of omega-3 fats.

(JAMA 2012;Vol 308:1024–33)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognised expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

The lowdown on linseed

Linseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

It makes a useful alternative to fish oil as it is believed to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. However, it is not yet conclusive that linseed can help with arthritis as fish oil can.

Linseed is a very rich source of lignans which have antioxidant properties. Lignans are of great interest to the medical world at the moment as it is thought that they may be able to help control certain diseases.

The seed is also great for those who need more dietary fibre. It can be taken with yoghurt, breakfast cereals, milk, fruit juice or sprinkled over soups, vegetables, salads or desserts.

Linusit are proud to be producers of high quality linseed (or flaxseed). It is available in both organic and premium  seeds and is cherished for its high nutritional value. It’s also gluten and lactose free and a great source of omega-3 for vegetarians and vegans.

Heard of krill oil or red yeast rice? They may just bless your heart

If you didn’t know it’s British Heart Month. We don’t often think about protecting our heart but heart disease is the number one killer in the UK.

It’s important to consider your diet, have a good level of fitness, and keep an eye on your blood pressure. The British Heart Foundation is an excellent first point of reference for facts and advice.

There are also some interesting new supplements that have come onto the market.

The first is Red Yeast Rice. This contains a naturally forming statin found in fermented rice. As a food it is used for red colouring in Peking Duck but it has also been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.

Following a successfully study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, it has been concluded that red yeast is very useful for lowering cholesterol, but  it only may help according to the NHS.

It sits here on my desk as a product called Rice Pure in capsule form and the description says “May help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.”

The other item is Krill Oil. The description here says “A potent source of Omega 3”.

In fact it’s 48 times richer in Omega 3 than regular fish oil and it has a sustainable source to boot. It’s taken from shellfish in the clear waters of the Antarctic.

Omega 3 has been found to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improve heart health overall, so Krill Oil looks  like a promising product. I’ve also heard that you don’t get the same smelly breath and after-taste effect as from fish oil which is a definite plus.

Amisa’s gluten free pizza bases and porridge – made with love

Those brilliant people at Amisa have been in the lab again.

Now they’ve brought out a gluten free pizza base with a deep soft texture to it. It’s made of rice flour, corn starch and buckwheat flour and because it’s also egg free that makes it vegan too.

Tastes like it's made with love
Tastes like it's made with love

Not only this but the innovators have been developing their own gluten free porridge using ELISA tested oats. Porridge is great for this time of year and Amisa have developed an apple & cinnamon version as well as an original.

They’ve also used the oats  for a new muesli which includes cranberries and strawberries as well as sunflower seeds and linseed.

Amisa Organic make a range of cereals, crispbreads, cakes, bread, biscuits and crackers. Not only that, they taste like they’ve been made with love, so they’re definitely worth a mention during Food Allergy and Intolerance Week.

Have you heard about chia seeds?

Have you managed to get your hands on any chia seed yet? The first time I tried some I could actually feel the grains expanding in my stomach!

There are numerous health claims about chia seeds (the latin name is Salvia Hispanica), most specifically that it is very high in Omega 3 and fibre, is a good source of complete protein, antioxidants and phytonutrients (they’re also gluten free).

Apparently, an ounce of chia seeds provides eight times more Omega 3 than an ounce of salmon! It has five times as much calcium as milk, twice as much potassium as bananas, three times the antioxidant strength of blueberries and three times more iron than spinach.

I think it was the high fibre effect I could feel volumising inside of me. Notably, chia seeds are believed to helpful in losing weight, because they help fill you up, reduce your appetite and help control your blood sugar levels.

The problem is that chia is only allowed to be used in foods as 5% of the finished product. This is because they are a relatively new food in Europe, having originated in South America where Aztecs would eat it before going on a long journey.

A bread mix with chia seed
A bread mix with chia seed

Chia Bia now sell the chia seed as part of an organic Whole Wheat Yeast Bread Mix and Soda Bread Mix. The Raw Chocolate Company also sell Chia Seeds unprocessed.

There’s a lot more research to be done into chia seeds, particularly their health benefits and whether they are safe to be consumed in large quantities, but they are very popular in the Americas.

There again, you could always grow your own…