Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of fish oil and all the publicity it’s been receiving lately. But what you may not know is why you can’t get it through eating fish; and, more importantly, why you even need fish oil to begin with.
So, I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself, why can’t I just eat lots of fish instead of taking fish oil? Mainly because all fish are contaminated with mercury or persistent toxins such as PCBs and dioxins. And the more fish you eat, the more toxins you accumulate inside your body. And, unfortunately, in order to get adequate omega 3 fatty-acids, you’d need to eat a lot of fish, about twenty times more than you’re currently eating. Which not only is a lot of fish but a lot of toxins.
A hundred years ago, before large-scale, cheap food manufacturing, we used to get a good deal of fish oil (uncontaminated) and other healthy oils through our diet. Now, with the invention of modern day oils like vegetable oil and soybean oil, we’re adding more omega 6 fatty-acids to our diet and less omega 3s, aka fish oil. In your diet, you want a healthy balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty-acids. But in the average American diet, we’re getting 14 times more omega 6s than omega 3s and this can cause a plethora of health problems.
For instance, some of the health dangers of too many omega 6s in your diet include:
- General inflammation
- Heart disease
- Decreased sex drive
- Skin damage
- Accelerated aging
What you want to do is balance your omega 6 and omega 3 intake with a 5 to 1 ratio. Or aim for 1 gram of omega 3s for every 5 grams of omega 6s.
Here’s why you want to take advantage of ensuring you have the proper amount of daily omega 3s.
- Improved heart/cardiovascular health
- Improved brain function
- Boosted immune system functioning
- Improved skin
- Decelerated aging
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased sex drive/performance
Some of the cardiovascular benefits of taking fish oil include lowering triglycerides (fats) which are a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and lowering hypertension (high blood pressure) when it is due to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, fish oil aids in preventing blood clots, reducing heart irregularities and circulatory problems.
When it comes to brain function, fish oil can help eliminate depression and aggression as well as help with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and dyspraxia. In general, fish oil helps promote optimal brain functioning and lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Basically, fish oils or omega 3s are the type of good fat that helps your body fight inflammation, create healthy skin and hair, and improve heart and brain health.
How much fish oil do you need?
In order to get the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, you have to take the right amount and get it from a highly potent source. First, not all omega 3 fatty-acids are created equal. You want to get your omega 3s from long-chain omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA or DHA (the two types contained in fish oil). Second, you want ultra-refined EPA/DHA fish oil. Your best bet is to find one with 60% of the fatty acids consisting of EPA and DHA. And lastly, you need to make sure you take enough. If you’re not overweight and don’t have any existing chronic conditions, you’ll need 2.5 grams of fish oil daily. Any one who is overweight, starting a diet or suffering from a chronic disease such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes will need to up their fish oil intake to 5 grams per day. If you don’t take enough, you simply won’t see the benefits.
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