If you are sick and tired of hearing about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, you are not the only one. We all know that omega-3 fatty acids play very important role in normal growth, development and the function of the brain. They are also known to protect you from the heart disease. So, if you are gobbling omega-3 fatty acid supplements, you are one of many. But, scientists say that the things are not as simple and the latest review of research shows that the supplements in fact show very little effect. What you need is the real thing – fish, real, fatty fish, at least two times a week and the more the better.
Omega-3 fatty acids and other acids
Little knowledge is a dangerous thing. We know that omega-3 fatty acids are doing great things for our brain, but it seems that there are more factors at play. In a very large review of research that included 800,000 participants, researchers from the University of Cambridge found that the omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial only if taken directly from the source ” “ fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Their research found that five portions of fish a week reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease by 12 percents. On the other hand, supplements did not show any significant effect.
Another interesting finding is that we need to pay attention to balancing omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent inflammation, with the intake of omega-6 fatty acid or linoleic acid, which promotes inflammation such as arthritis. Omega-6 fatty acid is another important fatty acid, commonly found in eggs, chicken, nuts and cereals. It seems that we need much less omega-6 fatty acid than it was previously believed. Americans are consuming 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3 acids. One diet that has both acids well balanced is Mediterranean diet.
Fish has more than fatty acids
When asked to explain why the omega-3 fatty acid supplements show such different effects from the same compound taken directly from the fish, scientists explained that fish has many other nutritional benefits than just the fatty acid. It is also easy to digest and low in calories, especially if grilled, broiled or cooked instead of fried.
The problem with eating enough fish is that many types of fish contain dangerous quantities of pollutants that are particularly dangerous for pregnant women. To find which fish is good for you and which you should avoid, check Fish Advisory at the EPA website.
Scientists also stressed that eating fish has many additional benefits. Eating fish instead of red meat also means avoiding bad proteins that red meat contains.