Ever wondered why some people have a longer life expectancy? It has often been said that we are what we eat. And if we took a closer look at the diets of countries that have the longest life expectancy then it would be no surprise that their diets have the healthiest mix of foods prepared over their table. The Japanese in particular have diets that are rich with fish and vegetables. So what makes it standout from most of today’s modern diet and what are the benefits of taking fish oil?
Fish takes a centerpiece when we talk about Japanese diets. Its cuisine is characterized by fish often prepared raw combined with fruits and vegetables. One nutrient that is found in great amounts in fish particularly fish fat is Omega 3. This could not be found in fats found in animal meat making it special to fish fat.
Unlike many of the body’s much needed nutrients which are produced by breaking down food, Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that could only be taken directly from its source. Good sources of these fatty acids include cold water fishes like salmon, herring and calamari. It could also be found in plant based sources like flaxseed.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be categorized into three types; EPA, DHA and ALA. Fish fat and calamari or squid oil contain EPA and DHA while plant based sources have ALA. Those contained in plant sources however (ALA), needs to be converted to EPA and DLA before being used by the body.
Omega 3 could be found in great amounts in fish fat. It is also referred to as polyunsaturated or essential fatty acids. Omega 3 or “good fat” helps clear clogged arteries and reduces the risks for cardiovascular diseases. This is the exact opposite the action of meat fat which is one of the main culprits in strokes or heart attacks.
The benefits of Omega 3 go beyond keeping our hearts healthy. It is also a vital building block for cell walls. It helps regulate the flow of nutrients to and from the cell and helps send signals to the brain. Omega 3 is essential for keeping our body’s basic unit (cells) healthy and functioning at its optimum.
Omega 3 is required for normal brain development. Pregnant women are strongly advised to take their recommended dietary allowance of Omega 3 to ensure normal brain development. This is also important during their growing years for optimum brain growth.
Omega 3 also plays a role in the production of hormones. It is responsible for regulating the production of eicosanoids. This aids in the body’s normal immune functioning by reducing inflammation. It reduces blood clotting and promotes the dilation of blood vessels. Omega 3 could also decrease the gravity of strokes and heart attacks by reducing blood clots.
A healthy diet means eating the right type and amount of nutrients. But many of us fail to follow a healthy diet because of the lack of food choices. Varying your choice of foods
The best way to get the most out of eating fish based diets is to have variety. You could have the recommended daily amounts of Omega 3 by eating cold water fish or squid oils. Omega 3 fatty acids could be sourced from a variety of food. These include cold fish, prawns and squid oils which are rich in DHA and EPA. ALA, the third type of Omega 3 fatty acid could be taken from vegetable oils and nuts. Plant sources for ALA include soy bean, flax seed, canola and olive oil.