Every morning I begin my day with a single spoonful of cod liver oil. It’s part of our morning routine, serving nutrient-dense cod liver oil alongside eggs and bacon and sautéed greens, soaked oatmeal, fresh homemade yogurt and fruit or whatever else we plan to have for breakfast. It’s part of our morning ritual, and on the occasions I forget, my little boy is there, spoons and bottle in hand, to remind us.
Why My Family Takes Cod Liver Oil
You see, I’m convinced that cod liver oil keeps us healthy. It’s an insurance policy, of sorts, that helps to make sure that we’re getting the nourishment we need every single day: good quality fats and fat-soluble vitamins in particular. We take more when we’re battling a bug, along with plenty of bone broth and fermented foods.
And as the omega-3 fatty acids found in cod liver oil are strongly anti-inflammatory, and support cognitive and emotional health as well as immune system function, we take cod liver specifically to support our overall health.
Cod Liver Oil as a Traditional Food
While cod liver oil is now used as a whole food dietary supplement, but it was originally used simply as food. Cold water fish, fish oils and cod liver oil played a vital role in the culinary heritage of Scandinavia, much in the way that seal oil is traditionally used among Alaskan natives. Later, cod liver oil was used as a liniment, and, eventually, was used medicinally, too.
What Makes Cod Liver Oil So Good for Us
Cod liver oil is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are strongly anti-inflammatory, and which support cognitive, reproductive, cardiovascular and immune system health. EPA and DHA, found almost exclusively in fish, are particularly critical to health. DHA supports neurological health and and brain development which is why it is a particularly critical fat for babies and young children whose brains are developing rapidly (in fact, DHA is often added to infant formulas).
In addition, cod liver oil, as opposed to fish oil, is a good source of both naturally occurring vitamin A and vitamin D, which work in balance together. In his studies of isolated societies subsisting on traditional and native foods, Dr. Price noted that intake of fat-soluble vitamins like A and D (as well as E and K) exceeded modern intake of those same vitamins by about 10 times (read more of his work in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration).
Vitamin D is particularly important, as recent studies have found that upwards of 70% of US children suffer from insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D (read it here). Further, food sources of vitamin D are critically vital to developing sufficient levels as sunshine alone, especially in northern latitudes, is typically not sufficient.
How Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is Produced
When choosing a cod liver oil, my family prioritizes sustainability, ethical and traditional production, and good quality in both flavor and nutrition. So, production matters – a lot.
Rosita sources their cod livers from fisherman who catch their fish by hook and line, thus minimizing bycatch and other destructive methods of fishing. Further, they source their cod livers from sustainably managed Norwegian fisheries where the cod populations have exploded, seeing pre-WWII stock levels. Ensuring that the cod liver oil is sustainably and ethically produced.
Further, as the fragile fatty acids in cod liver oil leave the oil prone to oxidation, the oil that I buy is produced in very cold conditions, and bottled in oxygen-deprived conditions that minimize the risk of oxidation, and keep the oil fresh, well-flavored and in good condition.
How to Take Cod Liver Oil
I find that Rosita’s cod liver oil offers a pleasant, mild flavor – light, not overpowering, not particularly fishy and very mild. So, in the morning, I pour our cod liver oil into little Japanese-style soup spoons (like these). We slurp it down and move on with breakfast. I typically serve a teaspoon of cod liver oil to my husband and take a teaspoon myself, serving a half teaspoon to our 9-year old boy.
You can also swirl a teaspoon of cod liver oil into a few ounces of fresh orange juice, too.