Fish oils derived from cold-water fish such as salmon, cod, tuna or cabbage. Recently they have given attention as dietary supplements because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, along with omega-6 fatty acids, are essential components of a healthy diet.
The body can not manufacture them and must get them from cereals, fruits, vegetable oils and other foods. Also, it is necessary to consume a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Some researchers believe that these two types of fatty acids should consume in the same proportion. And others argue that you have to consume more omega-3 than omega-6.
In any case, fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can help maintain balance in the ingestion of both types of fatty acids. The most important types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.
The body needs the first of these to produce prostaglandins, hormones that help to protect the heart and cell membranes. The second is necessary for the proper functioning of the brain, eyes and reproductive system.
In general, fish oils recommended as dietary supplements to lower the level of triglycerides in the blood, decrease inflammation of various parts of the body and fluidize the blood.
Fish oil and heart health
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils increase the concentration of cholesterol, that is, high-density lipoproteins while decreasing the concentration of cholesterol, that is, low-density lipoproteins.
They also decrease the total cholesterol level. So, fish oils protect the heart, since they prevent the formation of blood clots and fatty deposits in the arterial walls.
In people suffering from coronary heart disease, fish oils can help to reduce the risk of blood clots in the brain or lungs, the pain associated with angina and the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have demonstrated in several clinical studies. This research began when it discovered that the Inuits rarely had heart attacks or rheumatoid arthritis, even though their diet is rich in fish fat, seals, and whales.
These foods contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. So it was interpreted that this type of fatty acids helped to protect Inuits from the usual consequences of high-fat diets.
Later studies confirmed that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart rhythm disturbances.
In a study of more than 20,000 people, those who ate fish at least once a week cut the risk of heart attacks by half, compared to those who did not eat fish.
In a study with a follow-up of five years, individuals who followed a Mediterranean diet, with particular emphasis on oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fish, fruits and vegetables, had heart attack rates 70% minors compared to people who did not follow this type of diet.
In a study with more than 11,000 people followed between three and five years, it was observed that fish oil reduced the risk of death from heart attack. However, this study had some methodological defect that made its results inconclusive.
Fish oils, too, can help to control blood pressure. Several studies have shown that their intake decreases blood pressure. On the other hand, in a study with more than 2,000 people, no significant final result was achieved.
How much is it safe to consume?
Fish oil can consume in various ways, such as capsules or it can include in daily meals.
The dose should not exceed 3 capsules of fish oil per day. 1000 mg of fish oil contains approximately 300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. A daily intake of 3000 mg or less is safe for everyone. Pregnant women can consume approximately 3200 mg per day.
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