Eating omega 3's is one of the simplest ways to reduce your monthly pain. Better than that – if you have other pain, such as back or joint, it will likely help that too!
What are Omega 3’s?
Omega 3’s are a type of fat. They are part of the PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids). There are also Omega 6, Omega 7 and Omega 9.
Why are Omega 3 important for pain relief?
It’s not so much about how many Omega 3 you eat, it’s more about how many you eat compared to omega 6!
What am I eating with Omega 6 in it?
Most people eat these foods on a daily basis:
Meat, vegetable oils (olive, canola, palm, rapeseed, sunflower), most ready made snack/dip/baking foods in the supermarket (crisps, cakes, breads, sauces, check the label) takeouts, fried foods, margarine, partially hydrogenated vegetable fat, nuts, seeds, evening primrose oil.
Where can I find Omega 3’s?
Food sources include: Walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed (linseed), hemp seed, borage, oily fish, spinach, spirulina and mustard greens.
Additional vegetarian food sources include: turnips, zucchini, squash, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, dandelion greens.
Supplements are called: Omega 3 Fish Oils. If you buy any then make sure they are low mercury tested. Vegetarians use Flaxseed Oil Capsules.
Whats the problem with eating more Omega 6 than Omega 3?
All of your cells are walled with fat. The type of fat you eat will make up your cell walls. When cells degenerate, their cell walls get broken down and release molecules. Omega 3 breakdown encourages cause anti-pain, reduced swelling and less heat. Omega 6 breakdown causes pain, swelling, redness and heat. So you want to eat more of the Omega 3’s, and less Omega 6, to get your cell walls built of the good stuff!
Ideally we would have a 1:1 ratio of O3:O6, or at least under 1:4. Most people eat more like 1:17.
If you cannot get enough Omega 3 by food, you can suffer pain on a monthly basis, or in other ways like in your joints – then that is when you start supplementing with between 1000mg-4000mg fish oils a day.
Now you’ve named everything I eat as an Omega 6! Will I starve?
Omega 6 are not bad , it’s the ratio that counts.
The most important thing is to be aware of what has Omega3 and Omega6 in it.
Make a list and stick it on your fridge. Over time check in with it, and you will become familiar.
Focus on buying and eating the Omega 3 foods that you enjoy.
How can I track my O3:O6 ratio?
I recommend an app called Cronometer for nutrition tracking. Initially track your consumption and youll likely be surprised at how many 06 you are having (more than you imagined!). Be mindful to set up your own ideal O3:06 ratio, to max out at 1:4 (ideally 1:2 or 1:1).
Easy ways to get more Omega 3 to help relieve pain
What are some other oily fish?
The ones you will find easily in your supermarket are: Pink and Atlantic Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Herring, Mackerel.
The best Omega 3 fish are: Anchovies, Atlantic Salmon and Atlantic Bluefish, Cobo Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Pink Salmon, Sablefish, Sardines, Sockeye Salmon, Spiny Dogfish, Whitefish.
If you buy fish then do your best to get it from a fresh fish market. Easy alternatives are canned fish and the supermarket fish counter.
How long will this take to work?
Give it 3 months. I’ve seen some women get a rapid effect from Omega 3 capsules – in days . These healthy lifestyle additions can be used alongside painkillers, birth control pills and any other medical intervention you are using. The effects will build up over time. Let your doctor/specialist know what you are taking, especially if you are going in for surgery.
Do you need some help fixing painful periods? Contact Claire, certified Women's Integrative Health Coach at Awakening Wellbeing for personalized and group programs, available in person and online.