Men who want to live long (and prosper) should take a few tips from Iceland. On average at 81.2 years, Icelandic men have one of the most consistently high life expectancies in the world (while UK men languish at 16th place in the life expectancy charts at 79.4 years). The Nordic island also boasts more than its fair share of people living to over 100, with more than 50 centenarians recorded in 2018. Not bad for a country with the same population as Coventry.
But if moving to Rejickavic is out of the question, there is one easy way to emulate the male population of Iceland - increase the amount of fish in your diet.
Iceland has one of the highest consumptions of fish in the world, with every man, woman and child eating their way through 91.8kg each year. That’s more than 250g (nearly 9 ounces) per day. And here in the UK? A mere 28% of us eat two portions of fish per week.
Eating more fish, particularly of the oily variety, can benefit everyone. But for men, it can work wonders on everything from concentration at work to performance at the gym.
So should all men be eating oily fish in Icelandic proportions? Read our guide to omega-3 benefits for men to find out.
Is omega-3 good for men?
You only need to look at the role omega-3 plays in the male body to find that out. Omega-3 contains a component called DHA, which is found in oily fish and fish oil supplements. But DHA is also found in significant amounts in two very important male body parts – the brain and the testes.
The brain is around 60% fat and around 20% of that should be made up of omega-3 fatty acids because they give brain cell membranes their structure. But it’s also found in the male sex organs where it forms the building blocks of healthy male sperm.
But while the DHA found in omega-3 is vital if you’re a man, you can only get this essential fatty acid through your diet, your body can’t make it on its own. A great reason to keep fish on the menu.
What is omega-3?
There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid, (ALA) found in supplements and plant foods like flaxseed and chia seeds, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid, (DHA) found mostly in animal sources such as oily fish. Some of the best omega-3 foods for men include mackerel, salmon and sardines.
What are the benefits of omega-3 for men?
Let’s have a closer look at the role omega-3 plays to keep men healthy.
Omega-3 fish oil and the brain
If you want to concentrate at work (and maybe even nail that pay rise) you need to feed your brain plenty of healthy fat. Why? Because the brain is full of it - in fact, all the cell membranes in the brain are made out of the stuff! But not just any fat. Unlike the rest of the body, the only fatty acid allowed into healthy grey matter in appreciable amounts is the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
Omega-3 DHA is vital for your brain throughout life, but it’s also known to help with learning and memory in adults - so no more zoning out in important meetings. It’s something that’s been recognised by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) who approve the claim that taking 250mg of DHA daily can help maintain normal brain function.
So, is the key to concentration to eat more oily fish? Simon Dyall, head of nutrition at Bournemouth University, thinks so. “Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in many different fundamental brain processes,” he told Time Magazine. “Both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) influence gene expression, oxidative stress, cerebral blood flow, levels of neurotransmitters and other brain-related processes such as the production of new neurons.”
Omega-3 fish oil and sperm
Like the brain, healthy seminal fluid contains a hefty amount of omega-3 fatty acids as it gives your little swimmers the fluidity to move about well. But that’s not all. DHA is is used to bind the building blocks that make up the acrosome (the little cap right at the tip of the sperm cell) together. This is important because the acrosome contains all the enzymes that let the sperm penetrate the egg.
Omega-3 fish oil and testosterone
Omega-3 fatty acids make up the membranes of all the cells of the body, but did you know that they’re also the precursors of locally produced hormones? This includes testosterone, which has a huge role to play in male health, from keeping you feeling happy and confident, to maintaining muscle mass and libido.
What fish oil is best for men?
When it comes to supplements the best fish oil for men is one that contains high amounts of both EPA and DHA, as these are the active ingredients that can be used by the body.
Life & Soul has all the essential fatty acids you need, with 3,500mg of omega-3 (2,000mg of EPA, 1,000mg of DHA, 200mg DPA and 300mg of other omega-3s) in every single teaspoon.
It’s also guaranteed to contain low amounts of environmental toxins and comes from pure, sustainable and fresh oily fish.
So is omega-3 fish oil really good for men?
From the boardroom to the bedroom, taking omega-3 fish oil can help maintain your health - and you don’t have to eat pounds of fish to reap the benefits if you go for a high quality fish oil.
Make sure you choose a brand that is safe and pure, with high levels of EPA and DHA like our Life & Soul omega-3 fish oil and always check with your doctor first, particularly if you’re on medications such as blood-thinners or aspirin.