Why is Fish Consumption Healthy?
Fish is one of the most popular low-fat, high-protein foods, known to have a wide array of benefits. In particular, white-fleshed fish are lower in fat than any other source of protein, and the oily kind is rich in omega-3 fats, also referred to as good fats. Given the human body cannot make substantial amounts of these nutrients, fish is without a doubt, one of the most important parts of a diet. In addition, fish is low in omega-6 fatty acids, or the bad fats, which are often found in red meat.
The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in a Human Diet
Extensive research shows that omega-3 fats have a wide array of health benefits including:
-They help maintain cardiovascular healthy by regulating vessel constriction and blood clotting.
-They are essential for both prenatal and postnatal neurological development
-They play a crucial role in an irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia), stopping the mental decline in seniors, and alleviating depression.
-They may alleviate tissue inflammation and reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
The DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been shown to have the most benefits. Species high in these fats, eco-friendly and low in environmental toxins include:
-Farmed rainbow trout
But What about Fish Oil Supplements?
Other than fish consumption, another way to get those omega-3 essential fats is through store-bought supplements. Fish oil comes from both standard fish caught for human food, and small fish caught for animal feed. However, contaminants like PCBs tend to accumulate in fish oil just like in fish and so, you’ll want to ensure you get supplements made from purified fish oil. If you are a salmon lover you would probably love seeing ‘best smoked salmon‘
Other Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
Other places to get omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, wheat germ, and flaxseed. However, although still beneficial, these omega-3s do not provide as great benefits as those sourced from fish, marine algae, or shellfish.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Benefits Vs Risks
Generally, fish is an excellent source of healthy food and in most cases, can be safely consumed. However, depending on health circumstances and age, some individuals need to limit the amount of fish they consume. A few important points to consider include:
-For young children and pregnant women, eating a lot of mercury-contaminated fish can have adverse effects on the child’s development. Older men and women can exceed the recommended fish meal limit in order to increase their essential oils consumption.
-Individuals with a high risk of cardiovascular disease need to weigh the cancer risk of consuming fish high in contaminants like PCBs, with the advantages of consuming fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended level by the EPA is 1 in 100,000 (benefits outweighing the risk of cancer). However, the tradeoffs are not as simple as these contaminants are known to cause other severe health issues.
Fortunately, as mentioned above, there are several alternatives to omega-3 seafood options. As such, there is no need to risk consuming contaminated fish.
As evidence over the years shows, there are many benefits to consuming fish. Just ensure that you are eating the non-contaminated type.