Superfood Highlight: Ahiflower Oil
by Vickie Chin on May 13, 2018
Ahiflower Oil: 100% Plant Based, Sustainably Sourced & Better Than Flax!
Omega-6’s and 3’s are essential fatty acids that contribute to a healthy diet. Doctors recommend they be consumed at a 1:1 ratio for optimal benefits, however, the standard Western diet see’s individuals consuming Omega-6’s and 3’s at an alarming 20:1 ratio!
People are becoming more aware of this extreme imbalance and are looking to diets high in Omega-3’s in an effort to even out the scale.
What are Omega-3's?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that are extremely beneficial to our health. Omega-3’s are known for reducing blood pressure and inflammation in the body as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and associated cardiovascular issues. They are also known to contribute to brain health by increasing cognitive function in both children and adults. By working to lower LDL cholesterol, also known simply as bad cholesterol, Omega-3’s contribute to healthy cell growth. Unfortunately, our bodies are unable to naturally produce Omega-3’s and we must instead get them from outside sources, which is what makes them ‘essential’.
Omega-3 fatty acids are made up of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA can be found in plants, while DHA and EPA are found in nuts, seeds, oils and fatty fish. Of these three types, EPA and DHA are the most beneficial. Our bodies actually work to convert ALA into EPA and DHA.
The Problem with Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, eaten whole or in supplement form, have become some of the most popular sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. This popularity however, is not faring so well for our planet. Our large appetite for fish meat and fish oil has resulted in a large growth in the global aquaculture industry, which has tripled in size since 1995 (saveourseas.com). Although fishfarming sounds harmless, the issue is that in order to feed these farms, other fish such as anchovies and sardines are harvested in large quantities. According to saveourseas.com, 5 pounds of wild fish are required to produce one pound of farmed salmon.
"This popularity [of fish derived Omega-3's] is not faring so well for our planet"
Another issue that arises throughout the aquaculture industry is the facilitation and transmission of disease, due to the high density of fish in these farms. Scientists even fear the extinction of pink salmon in British Columbia, for example, due to the infestations of parasitic sea lice which is easily spread throughout these farms (saveourseas.com)
This high dependence of the aquaculture industry on wild fish stocks and the resulting disruption of the surrounding ecologies is putting our planet at risk.
One way that people are starting to combat this issue is through getting their dose of Omega-3’s from plant based sources. Chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp hearts are popular sources of Omega-3’s, especially for those who follow a plant based diet. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that the fatty acids found in these popular seeds are not as easily converted into the type of fatty acids that our bodies need. On the other hand, our bodies are quickly able to convert the ALA from fatty fish to the EPA and DHA that our bodies need.
For some people however, the plant based route is still the way to go. We’ve been told that flax, chia and hemp seeds are all good sources of plant based Omega-3’s, however as previously noted, they do not offer optimal conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA. Our bodies partially convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but the conversion rate of ALA from plant based sources is minimal. This is why most people recommend fish as the best source of Omega-3’s. However, for those who follow plant based diets, or those concerned about the wellbeing of our fish and oceans, Omega-3’s sourced from plants are the most sustainable option.
"For those who follow plant based diets, or those concerned about the wellbeing of our fish and oceans, Omega-3’s sourced from plants are the most sustainable option."
Of the three most popular sources of Omega-3’s; flax, chia and hemp, flax seeds come out on top for their omega 3:6 ratio. One ounce of flax contains an Omega 3:6 ratio of 4:1, while providing roughly 6 grams of ALA. This has created a large market for flaxseed oils and supplements.
What if we told you that you had another option for a plant based source of Omega-3’s that was better than flax and sourced from a single natural non-GMO plant?
Enter our Superfood Highlight: Ahiflower Oil!
Ahiflower oil is the richest and most effective combined Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid source from a single non-GMO plant found in nature. Ahiflower oil is the most eco-conscious, sustainable way to get the benefits of EPA found in fish oil from a vegan, plant based source. It also has a conversion rate of ALA to EPA 3-4 times greater than that of flaxseed oil!
"Ahiflower oil is the richest and most effective combined Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid source from a single non-GMO plant found in nature."
Ahiflower oil also contains Stearidonic acid (SDA), which has shown to be rapidly and efficiently converted to EPA. This is unlike most other plant based sources of Omega-3’s. Ahiflower oil is the richest source of this scarce fatty acid, with its makeup being more than 18% SDA. While the conversion rate of ALA to EPA is approximately 5%, SDA is converted into EPA with a much greater efficiency at approximately 30%!
Although our diets contain a hefty amount of Omega-6, we seemingly aren’t getting enough Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). GLA’s are extremely anti-inflammatory and contribute greatly to our overall health and wellbeing. Despite fish oils, flax and chia seeds containing high amounts of Omega-6, they do not contain this beneficial fatty acid. While hemp oil does contain small amounts of GLA, Ahiflower is far superior, containing over 5% of this essential fatty acid!
"While hemp oil does contain small amounts of GLA, Ahiflower is far superior, containing over 5% of this essential fatty acid!"
While most plant based sources of Omega fatty acids contain greater amounts of Omega-6’s than Omega-3’s, Ahiflower oil delivers a healthy 3.5:1 balance of Omega-3’s: Omega-6’s.
Not only is quality of utmost importance to us but, Organic Traditions prioritizes sustainability when it comes to sourcing our superfoods. So even if you don’t follow a vegan diet, if you care about our fish, oceans and planet, Ahiflower oil is for you!