Why Fish Oil Is So Good For You
Did you know fish oil is one of the most commonly prescribed and recommended supplements, especially in older adults? The CDC lists omega-3 fatty acids as the third most popular dietary supplement in the United States throughout all age groups! Now, why might that be? Because fish oil is really good for you!
It’s A Good Fat
Fish oil is a healthy fat under the umbrella of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The fish oil supplements that are often seen for sale in your grocery store or pharmacy contain the omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Omega-3s are essential to human survival; however, our bodies are not equipped to produce these fatty acids so we must obtain them from the foods we eat.
Fish Oil Health Benefits
Omega-3s have been found to fight off depression and anxiety, improve eye health in certain conditions, reduce the risk of heart disease, fight inflammation, improve mental disorders, reduce fat in the liver, and improve bone and joint health.
Best Sources Of Omega-3
The best sources of omega-3s are algae and/or oily fish. This is why many people take omega-3 supplements labeled ‘fish pills’ because the majority of omega-3 sources are oily fish like mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, etc. Some of the very best sources of omega-3s are wild-caught seafood. If you can eat algae or seaweed, those are great sources as well. Farm-raised fish do not have the same levels of Omega-3s.
Most sources recommend that healthy individuals eat at least 2 servings of fish each week to maintain proper omega-3 levels. However, this can vary in unhealthy individuals. It is likely that this recommendation is too low anyway. There are no definitive dosing guidelines for omega-3s; however, most health organizations and medical professionals will recommend a daily intake somewhere between 250-2000 mg on average. But again, no concrete dosing guidelines have been determined due to a lack of research.
Alternative Vegetarian Sources
While fish and seafood are the most efficient sources of omega-3s they are not the only source. Omega-3 is also found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, soy, canola oil, and algae. You can also find the following foods often fortified with omega-3s: eggs, margarine, milk, juice, yogurt. Supplements are probably the easiest and lowest calorie way to obtain the PUFAs needed for the anti inflammatory benefits.