The Norwegian tradition
Norwegian fishermen lived a hard life in the 18th-century. Routinely, the men voyaged into the Norwegian and North Seas for weeks at a time to catch cod, mackerel, and herring. It was, of course, a miserably cold and wet job, resulting in frequent colds for the men. To add to their burden, the daily tasks of pulling the nets would leave the men’s hands cut and burnt.
Lucky for the fishermen, part of their catch contained a remedy.
Cod liver as medicine
When the ships returned to shore, the men in charge of dressing the cod noticed something peculiar: their wounds healed faster while handling the cod liver.
Not long after this discovery, it became common practice for the fishermen to bathe their wounds in cod liver oil.
Fish Oil Benefits:
The fishermen rightly observed that the cod liver oil was absorbed slowly through the skin. Others, encouraged by the discovery, started to eat the livers whole or drank a cup of the squeezed oil. These methods were shown to not only heal wounds, but to beat away common colds, aches and pains, and even the symptoms of rickets.
Today, fish oil is consumed by over 100 million people worldwide. With over 165 years of medical research behind it, fish oil has become one of the most medically tested substances on Earth. This ever growing body of clinical research has not only proven that the Norwegian fishermen were right about cod liver oil’s abilities to boost immune response, alleviate aches and pains, and help with rickets; today’s research also reveals that fish oil helps improve heart health, mental health, joint health, and special needs.
For all those benefits, there’s no better way to celebrate than to raise your glass - or spoon - of oil and say “Skal.” That’s Norwegian for cheers.
1. British Medical Journal: “Cod liver and tuberculosis.” December 2011.
2. University of Maryland Medical Center: “Omega-3 fatty acids.” 2011.
3. The British Journal of Nutrition: “Influence of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on immune function.” June 2012.
4. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: “Reemerging nutritional rickets: a historical perspective.” April 2005.