Christian Living

Healthy Living

Take the Plunge with Fish Oil: Better Health Guaranteed!

One of the best things you can do for your health is to take a fish oil supplement each and every day. Fish oil contains Omega-3 fats, which are essential to the proper function of our bodies. It keeps us from getting sick by strengthening our immune system, it makes us smart, keeps us thin, and even improves our mood!

Sadly, however, there are very few sources of Omega-3 fats. Coldwater fish are the best. That means fish like salmon, sardines, and blue fin tuna. It's tough to actually eat those fish on a regular basis, so fish oil capsules each day take the worry out of making sure you're getting your Omega-3s.

And here's another disappointment: many, many fish are MIS-LABELED! That's right. So if you think you're eating fish that's high in Omega-3 fats, you might not be. A recent study revealed that restaurants, grocery stores, and fish markets sold fish that was labeled one type, such as blue fin tuna, when actually, after DNA testing, it was revealed that the fish was in fact, a different type of fish, such as tilefish (which is banned in the United States because of its high mercury content!).

What should we do about this? The way to avoid eating the wrong fish when you think your purchased the right fish is two-fold.

Number one: know what the skin of the fish you want to eat is supposed to look like. You can search "google images" for that information. Therefore, whether you're in a restaurant or at the store, look at the skin of the fish to make sure it's the fish they say it is.

This requires a bit of courage if you're at a restaurant, because you'll have to ask your server to see the skin of the fish, which may require him/her to go back to the kitchen and hunt down the skin, which might be a lot of trouble. That means you risk secret retaliation from an unhappy server....ever heard of a "sneezer?"

The other way to make sure the fish you're eating is what they say it is, is by only ordering salmon or ocean trout. These two fish have such unique appearances, no other fish can masquerade as salmon or ocean trout. The survey of mis-labeled fish encompassed major cities across the United States, but the most disturbing findings were in San Francisco and New York City, where a whopping 60-percent of the sushi that was labeled "tuna" was actually a different type of fish.

When shopping for fish oil supplements, look at the label. Get fish oil pills that have the amount of EPA and DHA listed separately. This will most likely be listed per pill. Make sure you get at least 1,000 milligrams of DHA each day. That means you'll have to do some basic math. For example, I take fish oil capsules that each contain 260 milligrams of DHA. That means in order to get by daily 1,000 milligrams of& DHA, I need to take 4 capsules each day.

My daughter Ashley, who is exceptionally beautiful, brilliant, and funny, is now living on her own in The Big Apple. In a move of maturity beyond her 23 years, she recently bought a bundle of vitamin pills and has been taking them faithfully ever since. But I had to laugh when I actually saw these pills with my own eyes on a recent trip to visit her. They're GUMMY VITAMINS! In other words, candy disguised as vitamins. They all contained a bunch of sugar and very little actual vitamins. For example her fish oil vitamins each contained just 75 milligrams of DHA. So that means for her to get enough DHA she would have to eat more than 10 each day!

Naturally, she said the reason she likes the gummy vitamins is because the standard type of fish oil capsules are unpleasant to take. She is correct. But I reminded her, and remind myself each morning, that it is LESS TROUBLE taking the big pills than the trouble we face if we do not take them....the lesser-of-two-evils, so to speak. And I pointed out that we need to toughen-up a bit! After all, there are women her age fighting terrorists in Afghanistan as we speak, so with that in mind, surely we can muster the strength to take big vitamin pills.

Some people, because they are vegan or vegetarian, refuse to consume fish or fish oil capsules. These people prefer to get their Omega-3s from plant sources, such as flax, walnuts or green vegetables. Unfortunately, the truth is, those people may not be getting the Omega-3s that they think they are because those are foods that, at best, are CONVERTED to EPA and DHA, and a great many people do not have bodies that efficiently perform this conversion. I would strongly suggest that vegans and vegetarians re-think their objection to consuming fish oil capsules. After all, Jesus advocated eating fish!

So for better health, guaranteed....take your fish oil. But make sure you're getting the real deal, make sure you're getting enough, and make sure to do it each day! Among other benefits too numerous to list, perhaps topping the list is the fact that fish oil reduces inflammation, which according to the latest research is responsible for heart disease, cancer, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, even depression and wrinkles.

And coming in a close second, DHA feeds your brain, which is mostly fat, after all. So if someone calls you a "fat head," take it as a compliment! That means you're smart!