by Jolie Root, LPN, LNC
I am asked this question all the time: what do you think about krill oil? Is it a better choice than fish oil? My opinion is no… and here’s why.
Krill oil and fish oil both supply the beneficial omega-3s EPA and DHA. And companies often taut the enhanced bioavailability of krill oil because it supplies omega-3s in phospholipid form, which they argue enhances the uptake of EPA and DHA. There are some studies that support this claim, so as a nutritionist, why don’t I switch my loyalties from fish oil to krill oil?
In the short term, krill-derived omega-3s may have better uptake, but over a period of weeks or months, the fish-oil-derived omega-3s reach the same levels. And that’s the real issue. Where will our omega-3 levels be after long-term supplementation? They’ll be almost exactly the same. BUT (and it’s a big but) the fish oil customer spent far less money to get there.
Compare the cost of a 1,000 mg dose of EPA and DHA from krill oil to the cost of the same dose supplied by fish oil. Krill is much more expensive – sometimes more than double. And beyond expense, we must consider the environmental impact of over-harvesting. Krill is a major food source for whales, seals, penguins, and squid. It’s concerning to disrupt the food chain in such an unnecessary manner. I feel we should leave the krill for the many species that depend on them for survival.
Studies that fairly compare omega-3 forms show that whether you use a fish, krill, or algal source, the dose needed to reach target omega-3 levels is the same. There is simply no justification for spending more than you need to in order to raise your omega-3 levels to the ideal Omega-3 Index target of 8 percent. Learn More » Omega-3 Index
by Karen Roth, MSNC
No matter how good of a diet we have, there are always times when we crave something a little less than nutritious, like potato chips, ice cream, or candy bars. One of my favorite snacks as a child when I wasn’t feeling well was Cherrios smothered in white sugar.
After attending this year’s Natural Products Expo West in March, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of healthy snacks available that actually taste really good. Here are a few to get on your radar:
GrandyOats Original Coconola is grain-free organic granola with simple, identifiable ingredients: unsweetened coconut, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, sesame seeds, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. It’s handmade with organic ingredients in a solar-powered bakery.
One quarter cup serving has 150 calories, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and only 4 grams (1 teaspoon) of added sugar. And it’s free of sodium and cholesterol. All of the fat (12 grams) comes from healthy nuts, seeds and coconut. Original Coconola is a great option for satisfying the desire for something crunchy and sweet.
Here’s another great find for those with children. Messy Monkey snacks are free of artificial colors, which we see a lot of in children’s products. Messy Monkey snacks are also free of artificial flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and MSG.
They’re shaped like Cherrios but are more for snacking than being eaten like an actual cereal. Each half-ounce bag has no added sugar, is low in sodium (69-95 mg depending on the flavor), and has 2 grams of protein. It’s the perfect snack for kids.
Simple Squares are organic nut protein bars that are raw, high in protein and fiber, and low in sodium. Simple Squares have only five ingredients: nuts, honey, sea salt, vanilla, and spices. These chewy goodies come in eight savory flavors and are great to keep at your desk or in your purse or gym bag for on-the-go snack cravings.
Chloe’s Fruit Pops are a delicious snack with 60 calories per serving and simple ingredients: water, fruit puree, and a touch of sugar. It really tastes like a dessert, is very satisfying to ease sugar cravings, and comes in a variety of flavors. Options include raspberry, strawberry, chocolate, pomegranate, mango, tangerine, and pineapple. Chloe’s tagline is “The Cool Way to Eat Fruit.” I have to agree, these pops are a guilt-free, refreshing way to enjoy a naturally sweet snack.
For more hot healthy products, jump over to the Carlson YouTube channel, and check out the Healthy Living playlist. I interviewed 20 companies at Natural Products Expo West, and these brands have some great stories and healthy products to share!
By Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
April is Eye Health Safety Month. Our eyes are the window to our world – in so many ways. Our eyes are incredibly intricate and are as important as many other vital organs in our body. We often take them for granted, but we could lose their ability to work properly… in the blink of an eye. For many of us, as we age, it seems like our arms just can’t get long enough to be able to read the fine print on labels or instructions.
One of the ways our eyes work is by reacting to light through rods and cones in the retina. It gives us our vision, color differentiation, and depth perception. The macula is the center of the retina and is responsible for our central vision, which we use when reading. The macula is also the most sensitive part of the retina and is more prone to deterioration and oxidation as we age.
Let’s take a closer look at two very important nutrients: lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in fruits, vegetables, and other foods, and are stored in high amounts in and around the macula. Zeaxanthin is the predominant carotenoid found in the center of the macula, and lutein is found in higher concentrations in the surrounding retina. They may help increase macular pigment density, which is associated with healthy retinas and vision.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that work to protect our eyes and vision by filtering and blocking harmful ultra-violet sunlight and digital blue light (from computers, laptops, tablets, and phones) and by stopping oxidative stress and retinal damage from free radicals.
The lenses in our eyes focus light on the retina, and to continue to do this effectively as we age, our lenses must remain clear. Oxidation of the lens is a major cause of cataracts. According to the American Optometric Association “cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the leading causes of visual impairment and acquired blindness in the U.S., affecting millions of aging Americans.”
We must do everything we can to help keep our eyes functioning optimally. If you’re interested in supplying your body with lutein and zeaxanthin, our body doesn’t produce these nutrients, so we must get them through our diet or a nutritional supplement.
Although there is no recommended daily intake for lutein and zeaxanthin, recent studies show health benefits in taking up to 10 mg/day of lutein and close to 2 mg/day of zeaxanthin. Look for these nutrients on their own or combined in a single capsule.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.
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