Question: I’ve been told that fish is a good source of nutrients. What are the benefits of eating fish and how can I incorporate it into my diet?
16 September, 2008
Answer: Make no bones about it, eating fish is healthy, especially fish with scales. In fact, fish-eating populations live longer with lower rates of disease.
Many fish found in cold waters contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which significantly lower your risk of heart disease, ease symptoms of arthritis, and generally improve your overall health and immune system.
Omega-3s help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes because they appear to relax the tiny muscles that control the size of arteries, allowing the vessels to widen and carry more blood to the heart.
Furthermore, several scientific studies have found that Omega-3s lower levels of cholesterol and in some cases have been shown to decrease blood pressure.
Fish oil has also been found to raise levels of the brain chemical serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical, and most experts recommend four to 12 standard fish oil capsules a day for improving symptoms of mild depression.
Eating fish twice a week will give you the 7 grams of Omega-3s that health experts recommend. For the most part, oily fish from cold northern waters, such as sardines, herring, mackerel, bluefish, salmon and to a lesser extent tuna, contain the most Omega-3s. However, be aware that deep fat frying your fish increases total fat content and decreases the proportion of Omega-3s and other beneficial nutrients.
Alternatively, Omega-3s are also found in plants such as flax and hemp, or you could always take an Omega-3 supplement.
I have recently answered another similar question and have included it below.
Answer: Eating any sort of fish is very good for you, but it is best to keep the battered variety for a treat once in a while!
However, oily fish is particularly good for you for a number of reasons, the main one being, it is an incredibly rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fatty Acids are the basic building blocks of which fats and oils are composed.
Contrary to popular belief, your body does need fat! But it must be the right kind of fat.
These fatty acids are essential nutrients and play a vital role throughout your body.
Your brain contains large amounts and needs them to function properly; they help to reduce inflammation, thin blood, lubricate skin and joints, reduce depression and generally improve your overall health and immune system.
In fact, fish-eating populations such as the Eskimos, tend to live longer with lower rates of disease.
However, not all fish contains enough Omega 3s to be of any real benefit.
The ones to look out for are the oil-rich, cold-water fish such as sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon and trout, all of which contain large amounts of Omega 3s.
Eating oily fish three times a week should give you the minimum 7 grams of Omega 3s that health experts recommend, but you do need to be sure that the fish you buy comes from unpolluted waters.
Many of the fish listed above inhabit rivers and coastal waters that have become contaminated and these contaminants can be passed down the food chain to us.
So, to make sure you are getting the correct RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), you could try an Omega 3 supplement.
There are several out there to choose from, but as with fish, you need to be sure it is sourced from non-polluted waters.