What Are The Benefits Of Eating Fish?
Reasons Why Eating Fish Is Healthy
Fish is one of those low-fat, high-protein food sources that offer several health benefits. White-fleshed fish especially has a fat content that is lower when compared to any of the other animal protein sources. Oily fish is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, better known as the “good fats”. The human body is not able to produce enough of these important nutrients, fish should be a vital part of our diets. At the same time, fish is very low in omega-6 fatty acids, which are known as the “bad fats”, which are found commonly in red meats.
Reasons Why Omega-3s Can Benefit Your Heath
Evidence that continues to grow has indicated that omega-3 fatty acids might offer several health benefits. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Regulate cardiovascular health in the way of maintaining healthy blood clotting or vessel constriction
- Plays a role in neurological development for both prenatal and postnatal
- Might lower tissue inflammation while alleviating the symptoms relating to rheumatoid arthritis
- Might contribute to playing an important role in an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), slowing down mental decline when it comes to older individuals, and reducing depression.
Omega-3s that are present in fish (known as DHA and EPA) seem to offer the same top-rated health benefits. Fish that are eco-friendly has minimal environmental contaminants, and are higher in omega-3s include:
- Wild salmon sourced from Alaska (canned, frozen, or fresh)
- Artic char
- Albacore tuna from Canada or the U.S.
- Rainbow trout (farmed)
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Are Fish Oil Supplements Beneficial?
Other than eating meals that contain fish, there are other methods to obtain omega-3 fatty acids by using supplements. The fish oils are either derived from the fish that is caught for human consumption or the smaller fish that is caught for the purpose of animal feed, for example, Peruvian anchovies.
It is important that consumers are aware that contaminants like PCBs can accumulate in the fish oil as these do in many species of fish. This is why it is important to only purchase fish oil capsules that contain only purified oil.
Are There Other Sources Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3s are also available in terrestrial sources such as walnuts, wheat germ, and flaxseed. These may offer health benefits, yet research has indicated that they cannot provide the same level of health advantages when compared to the omega-3s that are found in marine algae, shellfish, and fish.
Do The Omega-3 Health Benefits Outweigh The Risks Linked With Contaminants Found In Seafood?
In general, fish is a very healthy source of food that can usually be consumed in a safe manner. However, some health experts have suggested that depending on the health circumstances and age of the individual, certain people are advised to limit how much fish they consume. Here are a few considerations:
- For women that are still of childbearing age, or for younger children, eating mercury-contaminated fish has the potential to impact the development of the child or baby.
- Older men and women may be under the impression that it is acceptable to exceed the limits of recommended seafood or fish in order to maximize their intake of omega-3.
- Individuals that have a risk relating to cardiovascular disease should be thinking about the risks of cancer when they eat fish that is high in PCBs since the benefits relating to omega-3s might outweigh the risks of cancer (1 in 100,000 which is a level that the EPA recommends). However, these chemicals can result in serious health issues besides cancer, which means the tradeoff might not be as simple.
There is good news since there are many high-omega 3, low-contaminant seafood options to choose from (refer to the list mentioned above), which means you shouldn’t have to worry about the risks relating to consuming contaminated fish or seafood.