The typical diet of the Inuit people of Greenland is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. The Inuit were basically hunters and gatherers. They subsist on fish, sea mammals, and sub-arctic land animals. During summer, they gathered roots and greens, blueberries, and crowberries.
The more traditional Inuit chew on blubber. It is a chunk of fat attached to the whale skin and is considered a standard fare in the diet. Basically, the Inuit diet is high in fat, cholesterol, and protein. These are good fats though because they come from fatty fish and sea mammals. The polyunsaturated fats coming from these food sources are better known today as Omega 3 fatty acids.
A Closer Look at the Traditional Inuit Diet
The traditional Inuit diet consists mainly of meat, fish, and oils. The standard fare was walrus and seal meat. These are marine mammals that have lots of fats because they live in cold waters. Sea foods are also included in their diet specifically fatty fish such as salmon, pike, and torncod. These sea foods are also very rich in Omega 3.
The Inuit people used seal oil to cook some of their foods. They also used this oil as dressing or as a dipping sauce. The Inuit tribes also got their oil from arctic whales. It was very common for the Greenland Eskimos to chew on whale fat called blubber. It was eaten raw and provided the Inuit with essential Omega 3 fatty acids.
Apart from fish and sea mammals, the Inuit hunted for wild ducks, fowl, quails, moose, reindeer, and caribou. These are sturdy land mammals and birds. They have the ability to withstand the freezing temperatures of the arctic because their muscles are lined with fat.
Traditional Inuit prefer to eat raw white fish. The fish meat will be frozen and sliced thinly before being served. They also smoked or dried their fish and meat. Because of minimal cooking, the Inuit people could get higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids from their foods.
The Benefits of Fatty Diet to the Inuit People
It has been observed that cases of cardiovascular disorders among traditional Inuit people were low. In 1970, Dr. Jorn Dyerberg explored the frozen tundra of Greenland to get in touch with the Inuit. Incidentally, Dr. Dyerberg was the one who first identified Omega 3s. He collected blood samples from the Inuit people and studied their dietary habits.
The Danish researcher confirmed that the diet of the Inuit people was indeed very rich in essential Omega 3 fatty acids. It was credited as a major contributing factor to the low incidence of heart ailments among the traditional Inuit.
From all this we can draw the conclusion that “there are no essential foods—only essential nutrients. And humans can get those nutrients from diverse and eye-opening sources” (Harold Draper)
Today, the popularity of Omega 3 fatty acid can not be denied. More and more people have realized that this essential fatty acid could promote good health. Just like the Inuit people of Greenland, you should try to increase your consumption of fatty fish. The essential oils of fatty fish are excellent sources of heart friendly Omega 3.