You must have heard about Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements but did you know that it is critical for your brain health? And are you aware of recent studies that showed fish oil helps slow down age-related brain atrophy? The potential benefits of fish oil are mind blowing and there are practically no side effects which is one of the major reasons why they are so popular among all age groups. Let’s discover together the advantages of including fish oil in our daily lives.
Fish oil is obtained from the tissues of fish rich in oil. Fish is the greatest source of omega-3 fats and a good source of Vitamin A and D but you need to pick the right kind of fish to get maximum benefit. Having the most beneficial form of omega-3 that contains two fatty acids namely DHA and EPA are essential to fight and prevent physical and mental disease and these can only be found in fish and krill. You do find Omega-3 in flaxseeds, walnuts, spinach or chia seeds as well but animal based omega-3 fats are best for improving overall health.
However nowadays getting really fresh fish is almost impossible and is usually severely contaminated with toxic mercury. The fish I recommend is wild salmon, anchovies, sardines, herring, trout and mackerel. If you can get wild Alaskan Salmon, that would be great! It is better to avoid farmed salmon since they contain only half the omega-3 fats as compared to a wild caught fish. The farmed varieties may also have toxins or synthetic astaxanthin and genetically altered organisms in fish grain feed.
It is important to note that low concentrations of EPA (Eicosa Pentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosa Hexaenoic Acid) results in increased risk of death.
Having done a thorough and extensive research, let us look at some of the benefits of Fish Oil:
- Helps build immunity
Taking 1 to 2 grams of fish oil is sufficient for improving immunity in your body thereby preventing common ailments like cold, cough, fever etc.
2. Helps anti-aging
Recent studies show that it is a powerful anti-aging agent. A DNA at the end of our chromosomes called Telomere shortens as we grow older; taking fish oil will lengthen telomere thereby helping anti-aging.
- Helps prevent Cholesterol
Maintain healthy proportions of HDL & LDL.
- Lowers blood pressure
Improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
- Helps prevent inflammation
Joint pains like osteoarthritis can be prevented if daily dosage of fish oil is taken orally. Studies shows 50% reduction in osteoarthritis when diet consists of fish oil compared to non-fish oil diet.
- Helps in burning fat or lose weight
Taking fish oil daily along with some exercises will help burn fat and hence lose weight. It also helps gain or maintain muscle mass.
- Excellent for Brain and memory
Extensive research has been done in recent years that confirm the powerful ability of fish oil to increase brain activity and thereby promoting brain health and memory. It is interesting to note that even patients undergoing brain trauma who were treated with fish oil were responding well and regained better brain health.
- Improvement in Bone health
Fish oil improves bone health and bone mineral density. It is especially important for women because as they age, their bones become weaker and including fish oil in the diet ensures bone health is maintained and can help prevent osteoporosis.
- Reduce risk of Heart disease or stroke
Heart diseases or stroke can be prevented and people who are already suffering from heart ailments can see drastic improvements in their health by consuming fish oil.
- Reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s
Studies have shown that fish oil reduces the risk of Dementia and also Alzheimer’s because it helps improve brain shrinkage thereby improving memory.
- Helps protect loss of vision
Fish oil is also a good source of Vitamin A and D, vitamin A is known to protect vision hence extremely good for your eyes.
- Reduce symptoms of Epilepsy and seizure frequency
- Reduce psychosis and schizophrenia
Fish oil helps maintain mental health and reduces psychotic disorders and schizophrenia.
- Helps reduce stress and anxiety
Stress, anxiety, restlessness, sadness etc. are reduced when fish oil is taken daily. It helps in elevating mood and promotes a sense of well-being thereby reducing stress.
The AHA considers taking up to 3 grams of fish oil daily in supplement form safe. If you would like to take more than this then it is better to consult your doctor first.
What are the side effects of fish oil?
There are practically no major side effects but here are a few minor considerations that could occur:
- Belching and burping
- A lingering fish taste
- Fishy breath
- Some cases nausea and stomach upset
- Loose stools
Consider including fish oil in your daily diet either naturally or in the form of supplements. The numerous health benefits and practically nil side effects should encourage you to start if you have not already. Use fish oil to stay fit and healthy and live longer!