Found a surprisingly good book on health/nutrition at my local Ross store: “The Omega-3 Connection: The Groundbreaking Antidepression Diet and Brain Program” by Andrew L. Stoll, MD. This book covers the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids as a booster of mental health, an anti-depressant and an effective supplement for pregnancy. This book immediately caught my attention because of the earlier Economist article on the same subject, which had summarized the findings of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, conducted over a period of 15 years with data on 14,000 expectant mothers and their offspring:
- the children of those women who had consumed the smallest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids during their pregnancies had verbal IQs six points lower than average.
- at 3½ years of age, those children with the best measures of fine-motor performance were the ones whose mothers had had the highest intake of omega-3s.
- a low intake of omega-3s during pregnancy led to higher levels of pathological social interactions such as an inability to make friends as a child grew up.
This book goes into great depth to explain the differences between the various kinds of fatty acids (from worst to best):
- cholesterol (found in animal and dairy products)
- trans-fatty acids (hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine, and other synthetic products)
- saturated fatty acids (coconut and palm oil)
- monounsaturated fatty acids (oils from olives, canola, peanuts)
- Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (safflower oil, corn oil and sunflower seed oil)
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish oil, flaxseed/linseed oil, flaxseeds and walnuts)
A nice read, heartily recommended!