In the never ending search for fix-it-all elixirs (they do not actually exist) fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids may be as close as you can possibly get. The World Health Organization recommends consuming 1-2 portions of fish per week because of the numerous benefits it provides. However, it can be tricky for some people to consume that amount of fish so a fish oil supplement is another good alternative.
Curious about the benefits of fish oil and omega-3s and how they could improve your health? Below we have what we feel are the top five health benefits of fish oil/omega-3s (there are certainly more than that) to sell you on being more mindful of getting your weekly dose of healthy fat.
Top 5 Health Benefits of Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid
1. Supports heart health and diminishes heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world; however, studies have found that people/cultures that eat a lot of fish have much lower occurrences of this disease. In fact, fish oil and omega-3s can help increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL), lower triglycerides and blood pressure, prevents plagues that cause arteries to harden and can help reduce abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. It is important to note that while fish oil can improve risk factors for heart disease, there isn’t any strong evidence that it can prevents heart attacks or stroke.
2. Helps keep you brain and mental health in check. Because our brains are made of about 60% fat, it only makes sense that consuming omega-3 fatty acids would help to keep everything in tip-top shape up there. There is evidence that suggests fish oil (supplements) can help reduce the chances of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar depression. In children there is proof that omega-3s can help with behavioral disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and in the elderly fish oil may help prevent mental decline such as Alzheimer’s disease, but more studies need to be conducted.
3. May aid in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Fish oil (supplements) can help improve body composition and aid in weight loss in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. Another aspect of this particular health benefit of fish oil goes back to point number one: keeping heart health in line.
4. Can reduce chronic inflammation. Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties and has the ability to help treat symptoms of chronic inflammation by reducing the production and gene expression of cytokines (inflammatory molecules). Fish oil can also reduce joint pain, stiffness and the need of medication for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Healthier, younger looking skin can be attribute to fish oil and omega-3s. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and often the most abused because it’s open to the elements. The older we get the more our skin health declines in large part to sun exposure, however fish oil/omega-3s can aid in slowing this process down. Evidence suggests omega-3s help manage the oil production and hydration of your skin, prevent premature aging and reduces the risk of acne.
Additional Benefits to Keep in Mind
Decreased risk of fatty live disease.
Reduced asthma in children.
Prevention of certain cancers.
Fights certain autoimmune diseases.
Promotes brain health during pregnancy and early life.