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Fish Oil: What It Is and Why You Need It There was a time in the not too distant past when the mention of any type of fat was an anathema to anyone interested in health and fitness. Boy, how times have changed. Nowadays, we understand that there are such things as healthy fats – and chief among them are those derived from fish. In this article, we’ll find what’s so good about fish oil and how you need to be incorporating it into your nutrition plan. What’s in Fish Oil? Our body needs fatty acids to survive and function. Many of them it can be made by the body, but there are others that must be provided through our diet. These are referred to as essential fatty acids.
There are two key types of essential fatty acids that the body relies upon:
Omega-3 In an ideal world we would consume these two varieties of EFA’s in a one to one ratio and that is what is needed for our bodies to operate optimally. However, because of the unhealthy, chemically enhanced diet that the vast majority of us consume, that ratio has been sabotaged heavily in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, that ratio is 20:1 in favour of omega-6. That’s because omega-6 is found in wheat products, and wheat products feature heavily in the modern Western diet. The result is that the vast majority of people have a chronic shortage of omega-3 fatty acids. So, what happens when we are deficient in omega-6 fatty acids?
So, what is the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids? You got it – fatty fish! Long Term Benefits of Omega-3 The benefits listed above can be considered immediate or short term. Let’s take a moment now to also consider the long-term benefits, as identified by science. Omega-3 Make You More Heart Healthy Omega-3 fatty acids have the effect of decreasing the stickiness of blood platelets. This makes them less likely to form into blood clots. Another beneficial heart effect is that omega-3 fatty acids reduce artery wall inflammation. Omega-3 Reduces your Stroke Risk According to a 2003 study of 43,000 men, those who consumed fatty fish 3 times each week (3-5 ounces per serving) had a 43 percent lowered risk of having a stroke. Omega-3 Staves off Memory Loss A number of studies indicate that people who eat fatty fish 2-3 times per week, will have enhanced memory in old age. Omega-3 Fills You Up According to a 2010 study, people who consumed omega-3 rich foods felt fuller for longer. As a result, they consumed fewer calories over the course of the day.
The Best Types of Fatty Fish The type of fatty fish that is the absolute best source of omega-3 fatty acids is salmon. This delicious, easy to digest fish is also packed with protein, making it an ideal food for health, and longevity. If you possibly can, you should consume salmon twice a week. The benefits of salmon for overall health can be appreciated when we consid
er the Inuit people of Greenland. Back in the 1950’s, researchers were perplexed at the extremely low levels of heart disease among these Eskimo people. They eventually focused on the content of their diet. And the main component of their diet is salmon. Scientific studies have since been conducted among the Inuit people that have quantified that a salmon rich diet severely decreases the risk of heart disease. Salmon, due to its omega-3 rich content, has also been shown to be an excellent combater of stress. This is due to the fatty acid’s ability to depress cortisol levels. Studies of Eskimo people compared to those who follow a typical western diet have made it clear that, as the amount of fish in our diet increases, the risk of heart disease decreases.
Here are five other fatty fish that will provide you with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
Albacore tuna Fish Oil Supplements
The fatty acids in fish come from the tiny algae that they eat as well as from other fish that form part of their diet. While it would be great to eat a fatty fish source every day, that is cost prohibitive for most people. That is what fish oil supplements are so advantageous. Omega-3 fatty acids either come in the forms of ALA (alpha linoleic acid), EPA (eicosapentanoic) and DHA (docosahexaenoic). You need all three of these sources. ALA is not contained in fish oil. The best source to get it is flaxseed oil. DHA and EPA are found in fish oil. That is why you should consider taking both fish oil and flax seed oil supplements. You can purchase your fish oil supplements in either liquid or capsule form. But you need to be discerning when buying them. The first priority is to ensure that you are getting the correct amount of omega-3. You want to take in 2,000-4,000 mg per day. You also need to check the label to ensure that the product contains high percentages of booth DHA and EPA. You also want a supplement that is mercury free distilled and that it is USP certified. Fish Oil: The Takeaways