salmon

  1. Power your sperm with seafood

    Gentlemen, if you want to keep your sperm swimming -- and who doesn't? -- head on over to the nearest fish market and load up on tuna and salmon.

    The fattier the fish, the better -- because the same fatty acids that make these fish such healthy choices for everything from your heart to your eyes to your brain are also positively critical to your fertility.

    The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one of the essential building blocks of sperm -- and a new study on mice shows how it's also a key part of the acrosome, which is what enables the sperm to penetrate the egg.

    You might say it's the most important part of all. The mice would agree: When they were denied DHA, they produced fewer sperm -- and the ones they did create were misshapen, rendering them infertile.

    But once DHA was put back into their diets, they began to produce again like, well, mice. (Side note: There has to be a pest-control angle in here somewhere).

    This is, of course, just one study on mice. But human studies have also shown how high levels of these essential fatty acids can boost your fertility.

    One study from just a couple of years back found that fertile men tended to have higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, while infertile men had higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids.

    And these days, with diets heavy in grain fed animals from factory farms, most of us get less of the desirable omega-3s and far more of the undesirable omega-6 fatty acids.

    Call it one more reason to switch to fresh all-natural grass-fed meats.

    Naturally, omega-3 fatty acids aren't the only answers for sperm health. A lot goes into male fertility -- and studies over the years have shown that high levels of vitamin D can boost the speed and forward motion of sperm, an essential trait called motility.

    Other studies have also shown that junk food, soda and the BPA used to line canned goods (including soda cans) can slash sperm levels and turn the ones that are left into the microscopic equivalent of couch potatoes: slow, lazy and uninterested in the quest for the egg.

    That would explain the recent rise in male infertility.

  2. The natural way to beat inflammation

    Inflammation has gone from a condition you should worry about to a marketing buzzword used to sell everything from drugs to juice to cereal.

    Well, at least they got it half right: You should worry about inflammation, and do what you can to bring your own levels down.

    But forget the drugs, juice and cereal -- because none of those things will ever beat the anti-inflammatory powers of plain old fish oil, and the latest research proves it again.

    A new look at data on 702 patients who took part in one of 11 clinical trials finds that people who take fish oil supplements have lower blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammation marker linked to everything from heart risk to dementia to bone breaks, according to the study in Nutrition.

    Other studies have also found that fish oil can put the hurtin' on homocysteine.

    One published in 2009 found that omega-3 supplements reduced levels of the inflammation marker by 22 percent in diabetics -- versus just one percent among those who took a placebo.

    And that's really only the beginning of the benefits.

    Studies have found that healthy omega-3 fatty acids can help protect your heart, eyes, and gums while raising levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering levels of deadly triglycerides.

    Fish oil can also help boost the mood and beat depression -- especially among seniors.

    The best sources of these omega-3s are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and herring -- and the highest concentrations are often in the one part of the fish you're probably not eating: the liver.

    Researchers looked at a dozen fish commonly eaten in Spain and found all had livers rich in the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids you need for good health.

    And if you like anchovies, good news: The livers of these famously oily little fish had some of the highest omega-3 levels of all.

    But why stick to the liver when you can eat anchovies whole?

    OK, I know that's not for everyone -- but if you don't like anchovies, fish livers or even fish itself, there's a simple solution: a high-quality fish oil supplement from a company you trust.

    Some can leave a fishy aftertaste or, even worse, a case of the "fish burps," but don't give up -- refrigerate your capsules instead.

    And if that doesn't work, try a different brand until you find one that leaves you with all the benefits... but none of the burps.

  3. Fish oil helps seniors beat the blues

    If the maritime atmosphere doesn't lift your spirits, the menu sure will--because the omega-3s found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna are the ultimate blues busters.
  4. Hearts & minds: The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

    Do you want to keep your mind in top shape and lower your risk for dementia? The answer is simple: Eat more fish.

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