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Benefits of fish oil

Fish oil"So, why is fish oil good for you?" The question comes up periodically. The full answer is a really a long one (see Barry Sears’s book The Omega Rx Zone), but here’s a nutshell version.

Fish oil is a rich source of a category of fatty acids called omega-3s (specifically EPA and DHA). The ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to another category called omega-6s is important to the function of a whole lot of hormonal and cellular processes in the body–including a lot of things having to do with insulin response (and the chain of hormonal reactions that it sets off), inflammation, blood cholesterol management, and immune-system, cardiovascular, and neurological function, etc.

Unless you supplement with omega-3s, pretty much everyone in the U.S. gets way (way!) too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s. Fish oil is an easy–and relatively inexpensive–way to help restore the balance. The super-short answer is: it’ll help you lose weight, control cholesterol and blood pressure, regulate hormone levels, and generally stay healthier.

If you’re taking any medications, it’s always a good idea to check for contraindications, of course. Especially folks on blood thinners. (On the other side of the coin, fish oil and a Zone-like diet can reduce the need for a lot of medications, especially cholesterol-lowering ones.) In some cases, folks can get their doctors to actually prescribe it (and therefore insurance to pay for it).

Brands we like are Carlson’s (capsules and liquid) and Nordic Naturals "Ultimate Omega" formula. You can get them at Super Supplements for a reasonable price, or Basha’s grocery store in their refridgerated natural food section. The liquid is a good value, per dollar, but it’s less convenient, and some people are squeamish about the taste or texture–though we find it utterly inoffensive. It does come in a lemon or orange flavor, which helps cover the "fishy" flavor, though these brands are quite mild.  Whatever kind you use, store it in the fridge.

-courtesy Carrie Klumpar, CrossFit Eastside

Scientific evidence has shown a diet rich in Omega-3 effectively helps promote:

  • superior cardiovascular system
  • superior circulatory system
  • reduction of blood platelet "stickiness"
  • relief from arthritis and many forms of inflammation
  • reduction of joint aches and pains
  • healthy cholesterol levels
  • healthy triglyceride levels
  • healthy brain & memory function
  • mother’s health and optimal development of her child’s brain, nerves and eyes during pregnancy & breast feeding
  • healthy insulin levels
  • promotes more optimal mental health, helping to alleviate symptoms of depression and psychosis

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