Anytime there is a month of "observance" dedicated to a certain disease (such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month), it also raises the question of health across the board, for both men and women.
A big part of that comes down to lifestyle and diet. In fact, so many chronic diseases can be prevented and addressed by things completely in your power.
What are some lifestyle and dietary measures that are important for women's overall health?
An anti-inflammatory diet, plenty of exercise, getting enough sleep, stress management and the use of supplements can all be very effective in preventing illness and disease.
But, perhaps the most important factor is diet; what you put in your mouth is so influential.
Vitamin D is very important when it comes to breast cancer prevention and treatment. Omega-3s are also very important in the reduction of inflammatory markers, which science has proven are a significant factor in the development of certain cancers.
Specifically, long-chain omega-3s (EPA/DHA) have been shown to be essential for every stage of a woman's life experience, including pre-conception/fertility, labor outcomes, PMS symptoms, hot flashes, mood... they are basically a "womb-to-tomb" factor.
Having the proper balance between omega-3s and omega-6s is important, because they fight for the same receptor sites in your cells. In Western societies like the United States, we get more than an ample amount of omega-6s in diet, from dairy, meat, nuts and seeds, legumes, and particularly vegetable oils -- which have become much more prominent in our diets in the last century. In fact, soybean oil consumption has increased one thousand fold in the last 100 years.
So, you're getting all these omega-6s; but how can you get enough of the long-chain omega-3s? Certainly you can't eat fish all day long. This is why supplementation becomes essential for most everyone.
How much omega-3s should you be taking?
Dr. Aimée Shunney recommends at least 1200 mgs of EPA/DHA per day, but potentially more depending on your health and what's going on in your life. The tricky part is that fish oil supplement labels can be confusing, so you need to check serving sizes to ensure you're getting enough of EPA/DHA.
Can you overdose on fish oil?
It would be really challenging. The FDA has said there are no adverse effects reported in 3000 mgs of fish oil, and the European version of the FDA has made that same statement for 5000 mg.
Should children take omega-3s?
Absolutely. Omega-3s are important for brain and nervous system development. Pregnant women should also make sure they're getting enough as deficiency can impact the fetus's growth and development.
Dr. Shunney joins Andrea and Lisa to share more about the importance of nutrition and lifestyle factors in preventing disease, as well as why omega-3s are so vital for overall health and wellness.