Most people know that we are advised to eat at least two portions of fish a week but statistics show our total daily Omega-3 intake is still declining. We may however not necessarily know why we are told to do this and what the potential heath benefits of eating fish are.
Omega-3 fatty acids are key to the health benefits
We are advised to eat two portions of fish because they naturally contain high levels of Omega-3 essential fatty acids - particularly oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. Vegetarians can find Omega-3s in walnuts, flaxseed and some leafy vegetables.
Are Omega-3s actually good for you?
Omega 3 fish oil is being discussed within the media more than ever before, making it probably the widest talked about supplement today. We have summarised some of the well known benefits of Omega-3:
6 reasons to take an Omega-3 fish oil supplement
- To promote good cardiovascular health
Several clinical studies have also shown that people who consume large amounts of fish oil can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by as much as 50%.
- To help lower cholesterol
In research on cholesterol, patients taking natural stable fish oil had reduced levels of LDL cholesterol (the 'bad cholesterol' which is known to be a major risk factor for coronary heart disease), whilst levels of HDL cholesterol (the 'good cholesterol') were increased.
- To help reduce stress
Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids (DHA) inhibits the adrenal activation of stress hormones elicited by mental stress. This is presumed to be due to effects exerted at the level of the central nervous system.
- To reduce the onset of cognitive issues
A high intake of fish oil rich in DHA has been proven to reduce the onset of cognitive issues.The brain does not make DHA but it is found most abundantly there and is thought to be crucial for brain function.
- To help boost our metabolism
Fish oil turns on our metabolism boosting cells (lipolysis) and turn off our fat storage cells (lipogensis).
- To help prevent fat storage
EPA and DHA help insure cell membranes remain healthy. The membranes are flexible and contain a large number of insulin receptors that are more receptive to circulating insulin. This results in decreased fat storage in fat cells.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.