Toss out omega-3 capsules? Don’t even think about it! Don’t let misleading headlines come between you and these amazingly good fats. Here’s why:
Omega-3s are still heart-smart. The report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed people for just four and a half years or less (for some, it may take longer to see the benefits); most also took heart drugs (older studies show a big advantage for fish-oil takers who weren’t also taking drugs, suggesting they really do help); and it didn’t factor in what people ate (fish-oil capsules can’t cancel out a triple cheeseburger and milkshake).
Omega-3s guard your brain. Meanwhile, there’s more evidence that DHA omega-3 does great things for your grey and white matter. The key is DHA: the active component of omega-3. Missing out on these good fats shrinks your brain and boosts dementia risk. Not getting enough also messes up your ability to remember where you parked the car or put your keys. DHA omega-3s protect your brain from damage after a stroke, too.
DHA omega-3s keep your vision sharp. They slash your risk for low vision and blindnessby cooling inflammation, slowing overgrowth of blood vessels in the eyes and keeping your retinas damage free.
Start with omega-3-rich fish. Three fist-size, non-fried servings a week. Top sources of omega-3s are wild salmon and trout.
Take an omega-3 supplement daily. Take enough to provide 600 to 900 milligrams of DHA, the most potent omega-3. (The other active form is EPA, and relatively inactive is ALA.)
But if you don’t like fish oil or are a strict vegetarian, try algal-oil capsules. Algae-based DHA omega-3 supplements get their fats from the same place fish do: microscopic algae.
Worried about toxins in fish? Steer clear of types with the most mercury: swordfish, shark, tilefish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy and mahi-mahi. Little fish like anchovies, herring and sole have low levels, as do canned light tuna (albacore’s got more mercury) and pollock. Of course, infants, young kids, pregnant moms and women trying or planning to conceive should avoid any amount of mercury in fish.