Healthy Body Healthy Vision

Healthy Body Healthy Vision

Posted on Mar.11, 2013, under Educational, Eye Health, Low Vision Info

When you go grocery shopping for fresh or frozen salmon have you noticed that there are several different kinds of this fish? The label may say Atlantic farm raised salmon or wild Alaskan salmon. If you are like me, you probably also noticed the price difference between the two with the wild Alaskan salmon costing lots more. You’ve heard that salmon is good for you and is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. So why not just get the cheaper farm raised one so you can afford to eat it more often?

I wish it were that simple. Why does grocery shopping have to be so complicated? The more our food sources get away from what is natural, as nature intended, usually the less benefit there is to our health. Unfortunately this is true with salmon. Let me explain why.

Benefits of Eating Salmon

Salmon is considered one of the super-foods of healthy fats because of its rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids. The retina has a high concentration of omega-3’s especially DHA. Omega-3s play an important role in visual function and are also known to be anti-inflammatory. Increasing the amount of salmon to just 2 servings per week can impact one’s risk of developing macular degeneration. Researchers from Australia and Singapore published a study entitled, “Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid and Fish Intake in the Primary Prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” The authors found that high dietary intake of fish oils was associated with a 38% reduction in the risk of late macular degeneration. Those who ate fish twice a week, not only reduced their risk of late AMD, but also early AMD.

Balanced Omega 3 and Omega 6 Ratio

There are basically two types of essential fatty acids (EFA), which means the body cannot produce them, but must get them from food sources. They are omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Both EFAs compete for the same cell receptor sites which is why it is important to have the right ratio. Today’s American diet means that just about everyone is getting way more omega-6s than omega-3s thanks to processed foods. Dr. Lylas Mogk, the author of Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight, writes, “ … people whose diets have the right ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have less macular degeneration than those whose diets are skewed.” In order to get these EFAs back in balance we need to be very intentional in reducing omega-6s and increasing our omega-3s. Farm raised salmon has less omega-3’s and more omega-6’s than wild caught Alaskan salmon – defeating the purpose of getting our EFA ratio back into balance.

For more tips on nutrition to support a healthy body and healthy vision go to:
Macular Degeneration Diet

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN
Better Health for Better Vision