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Nutritional Spotlight: Fish Oil

Fish oil. This nutritional powerhouse isn’t one to swim by.

The secret to the supplement is a proliferation of omega-3 fatty acids, namely EPA and DHA. Since omega-3 fatty acids aren’t made by our bodies, we must get them from food.

Though it’s possible to get omega-3s from plant-based sources (think flax seeds and dark leafy greens), EPAs and DHAs are found only in fish and have been shown to have the strongest health benefits of all — especially as we age.

The Benefits

On the inside? Research done by Ohio State University showed that the omega-3s found in fish oil can help slow the aging process on a cellular level by literally keeping DNA intact: Fish oils can help lengthen the small segments of DNA called “telomeres,” which can shorten over time and pose major risk to your white blood cells. Fish oil also reduces inflammation from the inside out, helping decrease risk of heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, even cancer. Your cardiovascular and nervous systems will thank you.

On the outside? One of the more touted benefits of fish oil has to do with eye health. Some claim fish oil helps alleviate dry eyes, ward off cataracts, and even stave off age-related macular degeneration. Talk about seeing the light!

The Best Bets

Yes, you can find ample EPA and DHA in wild-caught fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, and tuna (just make sure to eat it raw or lightly cooked, as overcooking destroys some of the better benefits). But if you’re unable to get two 3.5-ounce servings of omega-3-rich fish per week, it’s wise to supplement.

Always go with the least processed option: We like Green Pasture’s cod liver oil capsules, available at Thrive Market.

Photo: Lecic

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