The Omega 3 and Depression Connection

Happy Friday friends!

It’s bitterly cold here this morning, which only calls for endless cups of coffee and baggy sweatpants all day.

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…As opposed to coffee and yoga pants for only 3/4 of the day.

 

One surefire way to keep toasty is a good workout. Being the frugal and stubborn gals me & my Southern roomie were, we refused to turn the heat on despite the 30 degree temps in Alabamy, so I used home workouts as a way to warm up when I wasn’t bundled around a hot cup of water for the rest of the day.

 

I’ve been on another HIIT kick, and must have some gene of masochism in me, since I make up these routines to torture myself.

 

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This time it was a lower body focus. I have never met a longer 10 seconds or loved butt kicks as much before this workout. My legs made jello look like concrete at the end.

And now that I’ve sold you on attempting this torture great workout, here it is!

 

Using an interval stopwatch really comes in handy for these circuit workouts. I use this free one online, and saved the one I used for this routine just for you here. Ya welcome. πŸ˜‰

 

20 Minute Lower Body HIIT workout

 

You can up the anty by using dumbbells during the lunges and squats. Make sure to take a breather for at least 30 seconds in between each round as well.

 

Besides heating things up, exercise is also a great mood booster, which can come in handy during these cold, less sunny, and blizzard covered days of winter.

 

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But have you ever thought about fish to turn that frown upside down?

Yes these wonderful little omega-3 fats can add one more accomplishment to their resume with their ability to fight against depression. Let’s get our learn on with this month’s Did You Know Friday Link-Up!

 

Did You Know..

Omega 3 fats are associated with many health benefits such as

-Lower cholesterol

-Lower blood pressure

-Decreased risk of heart disease

-Enhanced brain function

and are essential, meaning the body can’t make them and must be consumed through diet.

 

So what’s the deal with omega 3 and depression?

It’s thought that those with depression have lower levels of the brain chemicals EPA and DHA, both of which (you guessed it!) are omega-3s!

Multiple studies and reviews (see here, here, and here) have looked at the effect omega 3 supplements in the form of fish oil have on depression and other mood disorder symptoms.

 

The Results?

Inconclusive. A handful of studies show positive results with omega-3’s and depression, others show no results. However, no negative results have been shown with supplementation, and is a low-risk treatment, which gives it the “it can’t hurt” recommendation.

BUT! This is in way,shape, or form a substitution for medication for depression, bipolar, or any other mood disorder, and should not be attempted without consulting with a physician first. If anything, omega-3’s should be consumed in conjunction with an already prescribed treatment. More studies need to be performed to reach a more conclusive recommendation.

So omega-3’s may not be a definitive cure for depression, but they could lower your risk, and carry loads of other health benefits that I still recommend getting some in the diet.

What are sources of omega-3’s?

I thought you’d never ask! πŸ˜‰

Of course you could just pop a fish oil pill and call it a day, but food is almost ALWAYS the answer before supplements. You have to strike a balance between omega 3’s and omega 6’s for optimal health, and taking in supplements is much easier to overdo it.

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In this case, they are! Fish is the best source of omega-3’s in the diet, especially the fatty fish. During my undergrad, we learned an easy way to remember these types with the acronym SMASH.

Salmon. Mackerel. Anchovies. Sardines. Herring.

I LOVE salmon so that was an easy one for me. Especially with the salmon patties I make every week. A can of wild caught Alaskan salmon costs me $2.99. Much more affordable than a $12 filet, so it is possible to eat salmon on a budget.

Sardines on the other hand?

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I just can’t do it. No matter how many ways and hot sauce I smother on them, I can’t get over their fishy taste.

Tuna is also a good source of omega-3’s, and I buy the chunk light variety which is lower in mercury than regular canned tuna. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 3 servings of fish per week.

Vegan/Vegetarian?

You can still get in omega 3’s through nuts and seeds, like chia, flax, and walnuts, but they are just not in a form that is as readily available as fish sources. It is possible though!

 

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The University of Maryland Medical Center has a great summary of omega 3’s here for more on recommended amounts, other health benefits, and studies that is a great read if you want to learn more. Otherwise hope on down below and see what else is cookin’ in the health-blogging world!

 

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Make it a great day!

Are you a fan of fish/seafood? What’s your favorite?

Tell me one new thing you learned recently.

 

 

11 thoughts on “The Omega 3 and Depression Connection

  1. I am in awe that y’all haven’t turned on the heat yet! YIKES! I am a huge cold wimp and felt a chill just looking at all that snow!
    Thanks for the info on omega 3’s! Stay warm!

  2. Your workout looks insane, but I’m sure it’s great. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to try it someday… πŸ™‚
    Great summary of Omega 3’s and their potential role in battling depression. Your SMASH acronym is so helpful too! Have a great weekend!
    Melanie recently posted…Weekly Nourishment Feb 2-6My Profile

  3. Thanks for the info. I just started taking flax seed pills recently, I’ll have to see what health improvements I experience. It may not be a treatment for depression, but I think drugs are definitely not the answer. My personal experiences with them was not good. Nutrition therapy is the best solution for most modern diseases, in my opinion.

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