HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES
Benefits of Fish Oil
When the words oils and fats are mentioned, health-conscious individuals tend to run for cover. What they fail to realize is that there are good fats and bad fats. Complete avoidance of intake of oils and fats would actually be detrimental – rather than beneficial – to their health. Essential fatty acids must always be part of our daily diet. They are used as some of the basic building blocks of our bodies. Without them, we can not survive.
Essential fatty acids are divided into two families: omega-6 EFAs and omega-3 EFAS. Although there are only very slight differences to distinguish the two groups of essential fatty acids from each other, studies have revealed that too much intake of omega-6 EFAs can lead to inflammation, blood clotting and tumor growth. The good news, however, is that the opposite is true for omega-3 EFAs. Omega-6 EFAs can be found in vegetable oils while omega-3 EFAs can be found in fish oils among other foods.
Omega-6 vs. Omega-3
As mentioned earlier, omega-6 EFAs can be found in vegetable oils. This includes but is not limited to corn oil and soy oil, both of which contains high amounts of linoleic acid. Omega-3 EFAs on the other hand can be found also in marine plankton and walnut and flaxseed oils. It should be significant to take note that fatty fish and fish oils contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fatty acids that have been observed to provide many benefits to the human body. In the early 1970’s, a study on Greenland Eskimos have revealed that one of the major reasons why they rarely suffer from heart diseases is because of their high-fat diet (mainly composed of fish).
The two essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are also helpful in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, depression and various forms of cancer. Fish oil supplemented food have also proven to be useful in treating illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Raynaud’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and there are many more illnesses and situations in which intake of fish oil has proven to be significantly beneficial.
Making the Heart Healthier
In Athens, Greece, for instance, a study was made to show if there was a direct relationship between high fish diet and inflammation of blood vessels. The results revealed that those who ate more fish than the others had a lower level of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, factors that are commonly used to measure likelihood of blood vessel inflammation. These benefits remained even when the various risks associated with high fish diet were taken into account.
In Perth, Australia, a study had revealed that fish consumption can be used against hypertension and obesity. Researchers of the University of Western Australia have discovered that a weight-loss diet which includes a regular amount of fish consumption can be quite effective in reducing blood pressure and improving glucose tolerance.
In addition, people suffering from respiratory problems like asthma tend to be perceived as unfit and unhealthy. But certain studies have revealed the benefits of fish oil for individuals suffering from asthma. Statistics show that approximately 20 to 25% of children today suffer from one form of asthma or another at certain points in their lives. And certain evidence reveals that a regular diet of foods containing high levels of the omega-6 linoleic acids as the reason behind it.
Researchers of the University of Wyoming conducted a study by subjecting a number of children to a high-fish diet, while others continued with their regular diet. Results revealed that the participants who ate more fish were less prone to asthma attacks and were able to breathe more easily as well.
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