Fishing for Facts

A new study reports that eating fish or taking fish oil supplements may be good for brain health in old age. Teens, younger children, including pregnant women and breast-feeding moms can take fish oil as a supplement to fish. Fish oil is likely safe for everyone. A diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements might help with teen depression.

Omega-3 fatty acid is a good fat found in fish such as sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon. It preserves the memory and thinking skill of the brain. Brains normally shrink as we grow older but having high omega-3 levels seems to slow this process. It also helps prevent heart disease such as cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. If you love eating fish, you can get your fish oil from fish high in the omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately most people’s diet has shifted away from fresh vegetables and fish to high omega-6 instead; these omega-6 foods includes crackers, cookies, and corn-fed beef.

Taking fish oil might be helpful if all you consume is a lot of red meat. Grain-fed animals that serve as a source of red meat supply omega-6 fatty acids to your diet. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for health when kept in proper ratio to omega-3 fatty acids. Getting omega-3s from fish oil helps balance out high dietary doses of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation and omega-3s reduce it. Inflammation in blood vessels increases your risk of heart disease.

In addition to omega-3s, fish is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. And, it’s low in saturated fat. Fish, like other meats, normally contain little sodium unless they’re processed. Canned, dried or smoked fish might be high in omega-3 fatty acids but also high in sodium and are better avoided if you’re trying to restrict your sodium intake for health reasons, such as high blood pressure

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