Oils. They are everywhere, from your kitchen cupboards to the lotions in your cabinet. Incorporating healthy dietary oils in day to day life provides numerous health advantages and benefits that are hard to obtain elsewhere. Whether it be for nutrition, skincare, or overall health, there are endless uses for oils. Two popular oils you have probably heard of are fish oil and cod liver oil. The third oil is a little less common, but a great vegetarian/vegan option, algae oil.
It came to fame in the 1970’s when it was discovered that populations such as the Eskimos and Japanese had exceptionally low rates of coronary events, despite their large consumption of fish. The Mediterranean diet became popular and people began to increase their fish intake in order to consume more omega 3-fatty acids. We must consume these in food because our bodies cannot make them on their own. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to brain functioning, inflammation and normal growth and development. Fish oil supplements are an easy way to contribute more oil when less fish is being consumed. Fish oil can even be absorbed through the skin topically, if not swallowed.
Cod Liver Oil
This oil contains high levels of EPA and DHA, which are the good omega-3 fatty acids we need in our diet. The unique difference between typical fish oil and cod liver oil is the presence of vitamin D, and A. Cod liver oil contains both. Vitamin D is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones, and we typically get our vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin A is important to immune function, reproduction, cellular communication, and vision. There are two forms of vitamin A we gain in our diet; the first beta in the consumption of meat products, especially the liver. The other, vitamin A, is gained through the consumption of plant pigments and beta carotene. Beta carotene is present in carrots, as well as other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Our body turns beta carotene into omega-3. Cod liver oil may help lower overall inflammation in the body, lower risks of type 1 diabetes, maintain bone density, support a healthy immune system, slightly increase HDL (good cholesterol) and prevent plaque build-up in arteries, essentially improving overall vitamin deficiency symptoms.
It is great to combine oil into our diet if possible, for the best nutrient absorption. Cod liver oil can be combined with garlic, pepper, crushed rosemary, and some salt to create a tasty and healthy salad dressing. It can also be sneakily slipped into an omega protein shake or a mint chocolate smoothie for easy and refreshing consumption.
If you can’t stand the taste of the ocean, this oil contains omega-3 fatty acids just like our fishy friends mentioned above. Algae oil today is used for a variety of reasons being nutrition, medicine and even animal food enrichment. You can buy algae oil for sautéing or high heat roasting, due to its high smoke point, although it is important to remember culinary oil will not contain omega-3s. Oil extracted from algae is rich in the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, with specific amounts varying between brands. Fish, in fact, get their omega-3 from consuming algae themselves. They are unable to produce EPA and DHA (the good fats), so they get it by consuming microalgae which results in the presence of omega-3 in fish oils. In a 2018 study by the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department of Baltimore, algae oil was found to be nutritionally equivalent to cooked salmon and to function the same as fish oil in the body. Algae oil is a great vegetarian option for consuming omega-3 without the fish counterpart, resulting in a less fishy taste as well.
In our diet is extremely important to consume omega-3 in order to avoid mood swings, concentration problems, skin-related illness, energy loss, fatigue, joint discomfort, and more. All symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency. These oils from the sea are just one way to improve your omega-3 content. It is important to balance all parts of the body to maintain optimal health and bodily function. Come back for more on how to maintain a happy and healthy body for a happy and healthy life.
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Norris, Taylor. “Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil: Differences, Benefits, Risks, and Dosage.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 7 Feb. 1986, www.healthline.com/health/cod-liver-oil-vs-fish-oil#cod-liver-oil-benefits.
“Vitamin D.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Oct. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-d/art-20363792.
“Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin A.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/.
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Danahy, Anne. “Algae Oil: Nutrition, Benefits, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 8 Jan. 2020, www.healthline.com/nutrition/algae-oil#algae-oil-vs-fish-oil.