In the past, I have written about the benefits of fish oil as a supplement for just about everyone. The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil are currently a darling of holistic medicine and for good reasons.
They've got a knack for reducing inflammation throughout the body. Omega 3 fatty acids (in the correct ratio to the more commonly consumed omega 6's) can aid in preventing, reducing, and reversing all sorts of ailments from heart disease to eczema, attention deficit disorders to respiratory conditions.
Among real foodies, the recommended fish oil is cod liver oil (which you will often see abbreviated as ‘CLO').
To be honest, when I first learned about CLO, I was skeptical. Mostly because this stuff tastes horrific. Anyone who tells you otherwise probably also thinks childbirth is not painful and root canals are fun – not impossible, but not probable either.
In our next two posts, we will discuss dosages and how you – and even your picky kids – can get this stuff down with ease. But for now, let's get clear on why to bother taking cod liver oil…
Cod liver oil benefits
We know that fish oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and you can read all about the benefits of omega 3s here.
Cod liver oil has the added benefits of being naturally rich in the fat soluble vitamins D and A. As a culture, we are notoriously low in vitamin D, which contributes to numerous problems, from weak immune systems to hormone imbalances.
The problem is, however, that most cod liver oil (and other fish oils) is processed in such a way that destroys much of the naturally occurring vitamins. These cod liver oils have their vitamins A and D added back in. The main issue with this is that the vitamins A and D are no longer in the proper proportion, leading to a risk of possible vitamin A toxicity when taken in large doses.
You can read everything you need to know about vitamin A toxicity here.
Enter extra virgin cod liver oil.
The oils of extra virgin cod liver oil are slowly extracted without heat, retaining the naturally occurring vitamins and goodness.
This means that cod liver oil contains the proper ratio of the essential fat soluble vitamins A and D – two nutrients that are neither able to be obtained through vegetable sources nor through any conventionally processed cod liver oil supplements.
Cod liver oil is a traditional superfood
Here's an interesting quote from the makers or extra virgin cod liver oil, Rosita Real Foods:
The origin of the use of cod liver oil as a food dates back to the Viking Era (late 700s to 1100). Fish and fish liver oil were important parts of the Norse diet. The Vikings consumed most of the fish liver oil during the cold months when the days were shorter and lacked sunlight. And because the winter months were also the prime fishing season, the livers stayed fresh and the oil obtained was also very fresh and of a high quality. The most common method of obtaining fish liver oil used by the Scandinavian Vikings in Northern Norway was as follows: Water in a large pan, rather like a kettle, was brought to a boil. Birch tree branches were placed on top of the pan, and the liver was placed on top of the birch branches. As steam rose, it began to cook the liver, and oil from the liver would begin to drip into the water. The straw-colored oil was skimmed off, and the process was repeated several times. The pale oil obtained was largely devoid of taste and odor. The Vikings would often consume whole cod livers dipped in the cod liver oil…Highly valued for its powers of healing, strength, and energy the pure, raw oil was called “Gold of the Ocean” by the Vikings of Northern Norway.
In summary, extra virgin cod liver oil is a traditional super food that is prepared by old-fashioned methods that preserve the maximum nutritional benefit.
Cod liver oil provides much-needed omega 3s as well as vitamins A and D in proper proportions. It's certainly worth taking on a regular basis.
In our upcoming discussions about cod liver oil, I will discuss how to determine the proper dosage and how to get this stuff down with a smile on your face.
Have more questions about cod liver oil benefits? Ask them below!