Coconut oil? Sure. Olive oil? Even better! But, cod liver oil? Well, that sounds messed up. Or maybe not? Despite common belief, cod liver oil is a nutrient-dense source of vitamins A and D as well as omega-3 fatty acids, bringing lots of medical answers to the table.
Sadly, cod liver oil is stigmatized for its sometimes distinctive smell. However, enduring such smell is a small price to pay considering the various health benefits of this superfood. So, wanna know more?
1. Bone Health
A quick look at its nutrition board shows us that cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamin D. If you don’t know it by now, vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium from the gut and, thus, improving bone health. So, it comes as no surprise that cod liver oil is doing a pretty good job keeping our bones healthy.
Contrary to popular belief, fats play an important role in our overall health. This defamatory rumor came to life because we’ve mistakenly labeled every type of fat out there as “unhealthy” whereas only saturated fat is to blame. On the flip side, foods high in unsaturated fat should be considered healthy as they positively affect heart health among others.
Being a rich source of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, cod liver oil may change things for the better, especially if triglyceride and cholesterol levels dangerously increase as you age. In fact, one study suggests that consuming cod liver oil reduces cholesterol and triglyceride markers significantly whether you are a man or a woman.
3. Blood Pressure
According to one study, eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular health go hand in hand. More specifically, this type of fat decreases systolic blood pressure by regulating several metabolic functions and gene expression. So, by association, cod liver oil reduces blood pressure levels in individuals with mild to severe hypertension.
Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of visual impairment and blindness. Causes such as oxidative stress, high blood pressure, and poor vascular health are considered the three top factors for the progression of this disease.
Containing an awful lot of vitamin A and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), cod liver oil is greatly appreciated for its therapeutic value when it comes to glaucoma. How come? Not only is vitamin A a potent antioxidant preventing oxidative stress but PUFAs also decrease blood pressure and, thus, improve your body’s automated neuroprotective function.
5. Kidney Health
As chronic kidney disease turns into a major public health problem these days, several people end up dealing with renal issues and in need of dialysis or (even worse) transplantation. Diabetes, oxidative stress and hypertension are just three of the most common causes of renal dysfunction. By serving as an excellent antioxidant, reducing blood pressure and preventing diabetes, cod liver oil is a powerful natural food which protects our body against kidney disease progression.
Between joint stiffness, fatigue, weight loss and a sense of pain every time you make even the simplest moves, arthritis can hold you back from enjoying everyday things. And the truth is that things can only get worse as the disease progresses.
Luckily, cod liver oil may be one of the most convenient ways to relief these frustrating symptoms. In one study, so much as 1 gram of cod liver oil daily tones down morning stiffness as well as painful and swollen joints which make everything seem complicated. In fact, 68% of the study’s participants mentioned that this fish oil improved their quality of life by eliminating arthritis-induced joint pain.
7. Skin Wounds
Newsflash: Cod liver oil is not just for eating. Research proves that this underestimated fish oil can also be part of a wound-healing ointment. More specifically, cod liver oil promotes the rate at which skin heals even up to 25% due to its high content in vitamin A.
What do anti-depressants and cod liver oil have in common? That’s right; they can both prevent the development of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Even though one study clearly shows a slight difference in depression markers before and after consuming substances rich in omega-3 fatty acids, some still insist that this discovery is not enough to make waves in the psychiatric community. So, further research is necessary.
Have you ever wondered why people in Scandinavia are less likely to develop cancer than those in other countries? One recent study answers to this question, claiming that cod liver oil may be the secret behind a long cancer-free life.
In fact, experts suggest that the risk of developing tumors or lung cancer is significantly lower in people who consume foods or supplements packed with cod liver oil. No matter if you use/eat them occasionally or daily, cod liver oil can still do the trick.
10. Type 1 Diabetes
Also known as juvenile, type 1 diabetes is usually developed during a person’s childhood. With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin. Without insulin, glucose piles up in your body causing all sorts of health issues, including heart failure, weight gain, neurodegenerative disorders and much more.
According to research, incorporating cod liver oil in the diet of pregnant women and kids going through their first year of life is positively linked to lower risk of type 1 diabetes. Why? But, because of vitamin D’s unique ability to promote glycemic control.
11. Cognitive Health
As we age, our body gradually gives in. Several functions not only slow down but may stop altogether. And as part of our age-sensitive body, the brain is one of the first to get affected. Signs of an aging brain are diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia. On the bright side, scientists claim this downward cognitive spiral is preventable, and cod liver oil plays a crucial role in this.
Jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids, this one-of-a-kind fish oil prevents cognitive decline by affecting lipid production, reducing inflammation and acting on several other functions of the human body.
Science has spoken. From treating common health issues such as hypertension or high cholesterol to preventing severe diseases such as glaucoma, cancer and type 1 diabetes, cod liver oil sure knows how to make our everyday lives easier. It’s up to us to take advantage of its natural protective nature and give our health a boost.