So you are a vegan, or contemplating being a vegan, or even just have a friend or relative who is a vegan. Then this post is for you. I want to discuss one of the many issues vegans are faced with - where do I get my brain food, the healthy fats that everyone insists I can only get from grass fed beef, fish or fish oils. Well first off fish oil is in my opinion the least recommended source for Omega 3 (DHA) due to all the toxins in our waters now. So what is a safe and reliable source? Walnuts, chia seeds and flax seed, but then we are faced with the great debate, is it synthesizable?
There are two sides of the fence to stand on when talking about how affective the synthesis of plant based Omega 3's are and the precursor (a- linolenic acid) - which are commonly found in flaxseed, walnuts and chia seeds. DHA synthesis occurs primarily in the liver, with the brain capable of producing only a limited quantity. Vegetarians and vegans generally have reduced blood plasma levels of DHA compared to omnivores. And yet, despite the low levels of DHA in a plant-based diet the researchers pointed out: "Many populations thrive on an entirely plant based diet and are able to obtain adequate levels of DHA to support cognitive development and plasticity".
So now the questions is if it is a shortcoming how do we fix it? As if this golden polyphenol found in a common household spice didn't have enough miracle trates along comes another. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been found in a recent study by NIH , to enhance the biosynthesis of the essential fatty acid DHA in rats. That's pretty cool if you ask me. So what does this mean for us vegetarians or vegans? It means you need to drink that turmeric tea, eat some curry and add that golden spice to as many dishes as possible. Want a recipe or two? Check out my recipe finder and type the search word 'turmeric'.