A couple years ago, after about 16 years of being a lacto-vegetarian (a vegetarian who eats dairy products), I decided to add fish oil supplements and seafood to my diet. It was a huge leap for me because I had avoided animal flesh for so many years, but I had done the research and knew that Omega-3 fatty acids were something that I was missing from my diet. I took the leap and now classify myself as “ovo-pescan,” which means I avoid all animal products except for seafood and eggs. This decision was made after much agonizing and research, but I now believe that, for me at least, eggs and seafood are beneficial to my health. I eat seafood 2-3 times per week, but I make sure it is only wild caught and as low in mercury as possible. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be careful when choosing your seafood. Mercury poisoning is nothing to laugh at. In a future post, I will go into more detail about choosing the healthiest seafood. I’ll also go into my reasoning for eating eggs and the kind of eggs I eat in a future post. Suffice it to say, I won’t eat just any old egg!
Now to the topic of this post: fish oil supplements. The fish oil capsules I take are pharmaceutical grade, which means this isn’t your grandmother’s cod liver oil. Pharmaceutical grade means the oil has been molecularly distilled and that it is very low in mercury and PCBs. Because many of the benefits of fish oil come when you take them in high doses, you don’t also want high doses of mercury and contaminants.
So what exactly are the benefits of fish oil? Studies show that it significantly cuts the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. It also shows great promise in protecting the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative problems. Too much fish oil can thin the blood, so be sure to consult your physician before taking high doses or if you are taking any medications or have special health problems.