“Fish oil is a natural alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with no side effects but with the potential to reduce the inflammatory response, thereby reducing joint stiffness and pain,” says nutritionist and Melrose ambassador Steph Lowe Starts at 60.
Studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure. How? The omega-3s found in fish oil reduce inflammation throughout the body – inflammation that could otherwise damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease and stroke.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, fish oil is also important for brain and skin health and has been linked to a reduced risk of depression and anxiety, according to Lowe. It is also good for eye health. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that eating fish and other foods high in omega-3 fat was linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Getting enough fish oil
Since our bodies do not naturally produce omega-3 fats, it is important to ensure that our diet is rich in them. To reduce the risk of heart disease, the Heart Foundation recommends eating two to three 150g servings of oily fish every week. In addition, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia suggests a daily intake of 610 mg per day for men and 430 mg per day for women. If you have joint pain or mild arthritis, Lowe recommends a daily intake of 2.7 g.
High-fat fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, anchovies, salmon, and mackerel. If you’re not eating a lot of oily fish, you can benefit from a fish oil supplement. And while canned tuna or canned salmon may be a cheaper solution, Lowe believes that they don’t have the same nutritional value as fresh fish and that fish oil supplements are the best option.
“As a nutritionist, I always prefer food, but one of the biggest challenges we are facing right now is that most of our fatty fish is raised and grain-fed,” she explained, explaining that most fresh fish have a higher percentage of food contain omega-6 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that has been linked to inflammation.