Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oil Supplements

Healthy fats are important for better health and sustainable weight management. Fats, after all, are an important source of energy and intrinsic to joint mobility. A few oils actually benefit us as dietary supplements as they balance out the - oh so important - Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. We're talking about the fish oil in our diet (for those who don’t eat fatty fish regularly) and flaxseed oil if you are vegetarian.

Fish oil
Fish oil is the largest source of Omega 3 fatty acids. It all boils down to the Omega 6:Omega 3 ratio. The ideal ratio is 1:1, which is beneficial to keep inflammation at bay. Omega 6 is mostly found in vegetable oil, fake butter products, processed foods, fast foods and also in nuts like walnuts. Today, due to modern diets the Omega 6:Omega 3 ratios are quite warped in favour of Omega 6 and ensuring that we get enough Omega 3 (through fatty fish or fish oil) is all we can do to balance it out.

Benefits of fish oil
1) Lowers cholesterol – No matter what your current heart health, fish oil plays an important role in preventing coronary diseases and lowering cholesterol levels and keeping it in check.
2) Lowers triglyceride levels – Several researchers have found that one of the benefits of fish oil is lowering the triglyceride levels in the blood and hence once again lowers the risk of coronary diseases. 
3) Reduction of inflammation – Many inflammatory diseases like thyroid inflammatory disease can be reduced with consuming fish oil supplements on a daily basis.  Just a small amount goes a long way in reducing inflammation in many ways.
4) Eliminates joint pains – In the same vein that it reduces inflammation it also reduces joint pain and reduces the risk of arthritis later on.
5) Promotes weight loss – Promotes the weight loss and fat burning better than only diet and exercise. Scientists in Australia discovered that fat loss benefits of fish oil combined with diet and exercise were significantly greater than diet and exercise alone.
6) Reduces soreness from weight training – If you enjoy lifting heavy but do not look forward to the accompanying soreness, you had better start making fish oil part of your diet. The reduced soreness will make exercise not only more enjoyable, but also more frequent thanks to reduction in recovery time.

Flax Seed Oil
Though I maintain that fish oil is one of the best sources of Omega 3 that you can find, flaxseed oil is not far behind. At the risk of sounding repetitive some benefits of flaxseed oil are: lowering cholesterol, countering inflammation, better skin as it helps treat acne, guards against the effects of aging (read arthritis), help fight prostrate problems and reduce cancer risks.

Though both of these are good for vital Omega 3’s, meat eaters would be better off with fish oil as the DHA and EPA found in fish oil (which play a big role in the formation of brain and retinal tissue) are more useful than ALA found in flax seed oil.

Strict vegetarians, go for flaxseed oil, but for the rest of you, fish oil it is all the way.

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