I used to work as a marketer/copywriter for a prominent North American sports supplement company. It was a lot of fun and it exposed me to, and educated me on, both the benefits and drawbacks of many different types of supplements. My time spent with this company by no means made me an expert but since working there friends and family constantly ask me which supplements they “should” be taking for optimal health. My answer? There are a slew of great scientifically sound products out there (from protein powders to creatine to fish oil) and there are even more NOT so great products. You have to do the research!
In truth, many supplements can be beneficial and convenient when taken to complement your diet full of nutritious whole foods. But right now I want to discuss one absolute must-have supplement: fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, can’t be produced by your body – yet they’re absolutely essential for your body and mind to function properly. So you’ve gotta get them from whole food or supplements.
Fish oil contains powerhouse Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which work to support heart health, healthy cholesterol levels, and mental clarity – just to name a few amazing benefits. Unfortunately, because of the “typical” North American diet high in grains, sugars, and other processed foods and low in the good stuff (of course here I’m referring to fish, but I can’t NOT mention the necessity of other lean meats, veggies, fruits, and nuts and seeds), many of us are undernourished, particularly when it comes to Omega 3s.
Omega-3 fatty acids can’t be produced by your body – and yet they’re absolutely essential for your body and mind to function properly.
One thing fish oil is particularly amazing for, which is certainly of interest to athletes, is reducing inflammation in the body. I.e., easing joint pain and potentially reducing muscle soreness. As per Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Answer, a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids (he suggests whole food of course but when that’s not possible, a supplement will do) complemented by a diet absent of grains will set you up for very happy joints – and a healthy life.
Like many CrossFitters, I decided to try “going Paleo” as prescribed by Cordain; I’ve complemented this by taking a fish oil supplement to ensure I’m getting my share of Omega 3s. I can’t say enough about the changes I’ve noticed. Aside from immediately and effortlessly dropping a couple lbs. (bonus!) and my skin feeling so good, the difference I feel in my joints is incredible. And I didn’t even consider myself a sufferer of joint inflammation before! I can only credit this to no grains + fish oil. Add to this improved mental clarity (I feel so mentally sharp since going Paleo and taking fish oil), and I’m a believer for life.
Here’s a quick list of just some of the incredible benefits of fish oil. Like anything, you have to do your own research too so I’ll also add some great links below for more reading.
- Improves brain function
- Helps you focus
- Improves mental clarity and memory
- Stabilizes your mood/can ease depression
- Lowers cholesterol
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Reduces joint pain – key for athletes and anyone with arthritis
- Can also help you recover more quickly from muscle soreness
- Reduces menstrual pain/cramps
- Improves the look and feel of your skin
- Improves vision
The Paleo Answer, Loren Cordain
Train hard & stay educated!