The American Heart Association recommends that every adult receive 1,000 milligrams of two essential fatty acids called DHA and EPA every day. The easiest way to get these omega-3 essential fatty acids your heart needs is to take fish oil supplements, which contain essential fatty acids from the sea.
Why You Need DHA and EPA
The two omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA play an important role in human health. Every cell in the body can use them to make a special kind of hormone that stops inflammation. A little inflammation can be a good thing. Inflammation activates the immune system. It activates the centers in the brain that keep us vigilant and alert. It dissolves infectious microorganisms and gets rid of dead tissue.
The problem is that the hormones our bodies use to create a kind of healthy inflammation are made with a different set of essential fatty acids called the omega-6's. We get up to 30 times too much omega-6 in our diets, and almost all of us need more omega-3.
Why You Need Fish Oil Supplements
There are lots of plant foods that supply omega-3 essential fatty acids. There are omega-3's in walnut oil, soybean oil, and canola, camelina, chia, perilla, and especially flaxseed oils. The problem with using these foods rich in omega 3's is that they are also rich in omega-6, and it's the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 that determines whether inflammation is enough or too much. There's a similar problem with eating fish to get your omega-3's. Cold-water fish such as Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic wild salmon, and kippered herring can provide your body with all the the omega-3's you need for basic health in a single 3-1/2 oz (100 gram) serving a day.
Fried fish cancel out the benefits of fish oil
But you have to eat these kinds of fish every day, and you need to eat them as nearly raw as possible. Fried fish doesn't provide omega-3's in a form your body can use. And wild-caught ocean fish, as you may have noticed, aren't exactly cheap! Fish oil supplementsprovide all the fish oil you need without the fish. They are easy to store, and they stay fresh for months, especially if you refrigerate them. But be sure to get the best quality fish oil supplements.
How to Recognize the Best Quality Fish Oil Supplements
The best-quality fish oil supplements, sometimes labeled as "omega-3 tablets" in countries where English is not the first language, provide the DHA and EPA you need without a lot of other "marine products" you don't need. Look for products that provide at least 600 mg (DHA and EPA combined) per capsule.
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The best-quality fish oil supplements are distilled to remove heavy metals and toxins such as PCB. Children and women who are or who could become pregnant should only receive distilled fish oil products. And there is also a subjective way to recognize the best fish oil supplements. They shouldn't give you "fish breath" or make you burp! When your stomach is happy with your fish oil supplement, chances are that your cardiovascular system will be, too.