Fish and fish oil

WHY THEY MAKE THE LIST Again, it's because of protein (in the fish) and healthy fat (some of which you find in the fish, although supplementing with fish oil is an easy way to make sure you get enough of it).

FAT TRICK Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil (as well as in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil), are "essential" fats. Your body can't make them from other fats. Again, there's a strong anthropological argument that fish eating was integral to human evolutionary development. And it says something about our modern food chain when you realize there's hardly any omega-3 left in it. Wild animals used to ingest it through the plants they ate, and then wild humans got those omega-3s when they killed and ate the animals. No more; most of our meat is now grain-fed. And even fish are trickier bastards to eat safely, with high mercury levels being reported in tuna and other predator species.

That's why I recommend several fish-oil pills a day (at least six). Each contains a gram of fat, about 20 to 40 percent of which is in the form of EPA and DHA, a pair of omega-3 fats associated with everything from a smaller waist to a healthier brain.

BEST OF THE BEST Wild salmon is considered the best type of fish for flavor, fatty acids, and safety (it's not a predator, so there's little risk of mercury contamination). In fact, a study in Science in early 2004 showed that farmed salmon contains many more toxins than wild salmon, including PCBs. But, unfortunately, there's no way to know for sure if the "wild" salmon offered in your local grocery store is really wild. A New York Times investigation in April 2005 found that the "wild" salmon the reporters bought in six of eight stores was actually mild—farm-raised. Since the stores were charging premium prices for the allegedly untamed fish, this is a financial issue as well as a health concern.

For supplements, go for salmon oil (look for the word "concentrated" on the label; it'll have more EPA and DHA in it). If the store doesn't have it, plain fish oil is also okay.

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