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Well and Good: Beyond Fish Oil

I’ve seen otherwise sophisticated, smart adults make a face when the subject of Omega-3s comes up. I know what they’re thinking: Fish oil. Do I really have to start taking that?

Well, yes and no. You do need Omega-3s daily. But today, you’ve got so many options besides swallowing a spoonful of cod liver oil.

Essentially, Omega-3 refers to a group of essential fatty acids that our bodies need us to consume daily. These fatty acids perform all sorts of beneficial tasks in the body. They help lubricate joins, lower inflammation, assist with memory, and may even improve our mood. And, importantly, Omega-3s are associated with many important cardiovascular benefits, including helping increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk of stroke. Finally, it’s thought Omega-3s may even help prevent some forms of cancer.

With all that going for them, you’d think we’d all be eating our fill of them every day. But most Americans don’t ingest as much as they need to. Omega-3s occur naturally in many foods, especially fatty fish, but it’s difficult for most of us to get all we need from our diets alone. You can up your consumption by adding fish like salmon and mackerel to your diet, and eating plant sources like flax seed, hemp seed and walnuts.

But if you’re not eating these foods daily, you can consider adding a supplement to your routine. Yes, that can mean fish oil, usually from sources like cod live, salmon, anchovy mixed with sardine and mackerel, or a newer source, calamari. But you can also find Omega-3s in capsule or tablet form, in many formulations including those just for women, men, pregnant women, and even kids. There are even dietary supplements like Anutra, a ground form of chia seed that you can add to yogurt, juice, cereal or salads.

Whichever one you choose, just remember to faithfully incorporate it into your diet every day. Your body will thank you for it.