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Can Fish Oil Help Combat Junk Food’s Effect?

Overindulge? Pop some fish oil. According to new research, the supplement has been shown to help slow down fatty foods’ harmful effect on the brain.

You stay on track with your diet during the week, but the weekend comes with its own set of temptations. A night out with the guys or kicking back with a few beers at the game may sway you to cheat—and recurring episodes of drinking and poor eating could take a toll on your health. But new research published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that supplementing your diet with fish oil can intercept the negative consequences of eating junk food.

“Excessive intake of certain macronutrients, the refined sugars and saturated fats found in junk food, can lead to weight gain, disrupt metabolism, and even affect mental processing,” said study co-author Lucy Pickavance, Ph.D., in a news release. Turns out, when you’re filling up on high-fat foods, you’re not only expanding your gut but also disrupting your brain’s ability to generate new nerve cells.

Once you mess with your brain’s ability to make new cells, you mess with its ability to control what you eat—and what you weigh. The good news: omega-3-rich fish oil supplements may counter these negative effects by fueling neurogenesis, or the creation of new nerve cells, according to a recent review of 180 studies on the topic.

So, how much do you need? Shoot for 1,000mg per day, advises Adiana Castro, R.D., co-founder of Compass Nutrition LLC, a private nutrition practice in New York City. “It should contain DHA and EPA to promote and maximize its effects,” she says. “And make sure the ingredient list labels the source of fatty fish, such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and so on.”
 

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