Q: Ive heard a lot lately about the benefit of taking fish oil pills. Is there any truth to this?
A: There are numerous health benefits to increasing your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids:
decrease risk of irregular heart beat
decrease triglyceride levels
decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries
lower blood pressure (slightly)
The recommendation is to get your omega-3 fats from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna at least twice a week. Children and pregnant and nursing women may be at increased risk of exposure to the mercury in fish, so these recommendations would not be suitable for them. You can also get some of your omega-3 fats from tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnuts and flaxseed, and their oils.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.