Weight loss programs and diet supplements come and go. But when it comes to fish oil and weight loss that is a different story. Fish oil also known as omega-3 fatty acids is one compound that has been in the news often and very likely to stay there. The reasons are that ample research shows that these are essential to a wide range of functions, and also help reduce the odds and severity of an equally wide range of problems.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, What Are They?
Unlike cholesterol, the body doesn’t manufacture its own. It has to be gained from the diet. There are actually three main types, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The first is consumed in food, which is then broken down into the latter two. It’s the EPA and DHA that is so beneficial for so many functions.
Why Are They Important?
There are many studies which show that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD), arthritis and certain cancers. Developing fetuses who lack the needed amounts have been shown to be at increased risk for vision and nerve system problems. Omega-3 fatty acids are passed from mother to fetus during gestation.
Other studies also strongly suggest they play a vital role in proper cognitive function (memory and thinking). Lack of omega-3 (fish oil) could result in poor memory, mood swings, excess fatigue and other problems.
When talking about the positive side, those who do get appropriate amounts have improved blood sugar levels, better cholesterol levels and more. People who adopt a diet rich in omega-3 (fish oil) tend to have higher HDL levels (the good cholesterol). They tend also to have lower triglyceride levels, the most common form of fat in the body.
Is It Easy To Get Them In Your Diet?
They’re actually very easy to get in the proper amounts. The American Heart Association and other official organizations recommend 2 servings of fish per week. Many different species can fulfill the need: mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, halibut and others. Other marine life also contain this essential substance, including krill (a crustacean similar to shrimp).
One of the reasons fish oil and weight loss go hand in hand are the benefits of omega-3. These benefits have increased the popularity of such diets as the Mediterranean Diet. It typically includes lower quantities of high-fat red meat and more omega-3-rich fish.
It also supplies omega-3 in the form of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, garlic and other foods native to that region. Kiwifruit, for example, contains omega-3 fatty acids, as do lingonberries, walnuts and pecans, and flax (linseed).
What Are The Risks and Warnings?
It is possible to get too much of a good thing. Some types of stroke have been associated with consuming more than 3 grams of omega-3 per day in supplement form. When talking about fish oil and weight loss like any dietary recommendation, how much is good will vary with individual circumstances. Like any aspect of diet, when beginning something new it’s always wise to consult your physician for guidance first.