All month (here, here, and here) I’ve been alluding to the extra special powers of omega-3 fats and now the wait is over (am I the only person who thought of James Franco in Pineapple Express when reading that?)
(No, weed does not contain omega-3s, that I know of).
Anyhow, let’s get back to business.
What do omega-3 fats do? The better question is what can’t they do? They’re that good. From Precision Nutrition they:
- keep our hearts and brains healthy
- lower inflammation
- improve our cells’ communication
- keep joints mobile
- help us stay lean
- help build muscle
There is also strong evidence that they can:
- improve your blood lipids (like triglycerides and HDL-C)
- help reduce some symptoms of depression and anxiety
- help reduce some ADHD symptoms
- help regulate our metabolism and blood sugar
That’s a lot of good stuff, right?
What food contain Omega-3s?
- some aquatic life (cold water fish, shellfish, algae) contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – these types are what our bodies mostly use
- some nuts and seeds (flax, chia, walnuts, hemp) contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) – this can technically be converted to the other types of omega-3s but generally very little of it actually is, so it’s hard to get enough EPA/DHA from plant these sources.
Why do some people take fish oil supplements?
In a nutshell (get it?), most people eat plenty of nuts and seeds but not enough fish, leaving the opportunity to supplement in an effort to maximize the health benefits of omega-3s listed above. Should you? It depends. First, try to do these 3 things on a consistent basis:
- Eat more fatty fish (if this aligns with your dietary preferences).
- Eat other healthy fats like the ones on this list (link).
- Minimize unhealthy fats like the ones on this list (link).
If you do decide to supplement, check the label and determine what size dose will yield you 1-2g of EPA/DHA (likely 3-6g of total fish oil). This is a safe amount that will give you all the health benefits.
Another (plant-based) option is a krill or algae supplement. If you go this route, shoot for 300mg EPA/DHA.
Here are some brands that Precision Nutrition has vetted:
|Omega-3 Liquid by Thorne Research|
Our top recommended fish oil product, it’s high in EPA and DHA, comes in great-tasting raspberry lemonade, contains astaxanthins for antioxidant support, and is extremely pure.
|o3mega by Genuine Health|
This excellent product contains a high concentration of EPA and DHA. As with the Thorne Research product, we prefer liquid as it’s easier to get higher doses of fish oil in liquid form vs. capsules.
|Omega-3 Softgels by Thorne Research|
Another excellent Thorne Research product, this one provides fish oil in capsule form and is free of heavy metals and toxins. It also contains peppermint oil for a more pleasant taste.
If you found this info useful, you’ll LOVE my free Healthy Foods Cheat Sheet, complete with portion guide and bonus Grocery Shopping Template!