The Total Body Benefits of Fish Oil
By now, almost everyone has heard the pitch for fish: fish oil boosts cardiovascular and nervous system health, nourishes the brain, and even enhances visual function. Yet, despite its key role in fostering good health, American rarely include this necessary fat in their diets. Instead the majority of fats consumed are those found in vegetable oils, such as corn oil and grains.
Reducing Inflammation and Strengthening Cell Membranes
Some of the benefits of Omega-3 fats are linked to their role in making cell membranes more flexible. The cell membrane regulates the movement of molecules into and out of the cell, and Omega-3 fatty acids within these membranes increase their flexibility and allow them to more effectively absorb nutrients. If deprived of Omega-3 fats, the Omega-6 content (corn, soy, cottonseed, safflower oils) in the membrane increases, which can compromise cell function and lead to inflammation. When that happens, the risk increases of developing diabetes and many other obesity related diseases increases because the cells begin to resist absorbing insulin and glucose as a result of increased cell rigidity. Increased inflammation can also lead to pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, as with conditions such as arthritis. Omega-3 fats have been shown to help ease chronic PMS and menstrual problems, Research in Denmark found that women who consumed more Omega-3 fats experienced less pain before and during menstruation.
Fat Burning Benefits
One doesn't normally think of fish oil as beneficial for those trying to lose weight but research demonstrates that one of the best way to burn away the fat stored around your middle is by displacing it with the good fats from fish or by taking fish oil supplements. An increase in Omega-3 fats can help your body more efficiently eliminate excess stored Omega-6 fats. A study at the Washington University School of Medicine found that older stored fat in the body is burned off faster when you consume more Omega-3 fats. In another study involving animals researchers found that without adequate fat in the diet, fat stores mobilized to the liver, but the liver could not initiate fat burning, and the fat just accumulated. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is also showing benefit for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Fish oil is vital for preserving the health of the aging brain. Omega-3s can protect against memory loss and may help reduce the cell damage that has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. Because the brain is approximately 60-70% fat, healthy fat provides nourishment for the brain and has also been shown to be supportive for many other brain related conditions including ADHD and depression.
Omega-3 fats in fish oil produce excellent benefits for the heart. According to a study in Europe involving people with heart disease, adding just a gram of fish oil to the diet each day for several years reduced the risk of having a fatal heart attack by 25 percent. The Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are used as buliding blocks for prostaglandins (hormone like substances that control the widening and narrowing of blood vessels and have been shown to influence inflammation). By reducing inflammation and encouraging the dilation of arteries, EPA and DHA help reduce the risk of heart disease. Cold water fish such as mackerel, salmon, cod, flounder, albacore tuna, sardines and anchovies are rich sources of EPA and DHA.
Need help with implementing more Omega-3s into your diet or have questions about the best quality fish oil and where to buy? Start by scheduling a free 15 minute discovery call to learn more.