The Dietary Benefits of Eating Fish

February 6, 2010 · 2 comments

This is a guest post by Janette, a weight loss industry professional.

A well-balanced diet is an essential part of leading a healthy life. In order to have a good diet, one needs to include a variety of foods to ensure you are getting the nutrients that each food group has to offer. Healthy diets almost always contain fish, a protein food with fewer calories than other meat sources. In addition, many weight loss programs recommend increasing the amount of fish in your diet because it’s lower in saturated fat than red meat. Fish contains healthy fats that will reduce your cholesterol and improve your health. Fish also contain Omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your heart healthy and fish have been shown to be an important part of healthy diets around the world.

HDL cholesterol is often called the good cholesterol, as it has been found to be protective of the cardiovascular system. Therefore, substituting fish for meat is one of the best dietary changes you can make for everyone in your family. The term “fatty fish” may sound unappealing, but actually fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of Omega-3 fatty acids which are good fats, as opposed to the bad saturated fat you find in most meats. In fact, fish is the only food that directly supplies large amounts of the Omega-3s that have been shown to cut the risk of heart attack and stroke. Omega-3s may also help prevent certain cancers, cognitive decline, and eye disease. Just why it happens is still being studied, but the American Heart Association says research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids contribute to a decreased risk of sudden death and arrhythmia; decreased thrombosis (blood clots); and lower blood pressure. And Omega-3s also show promise for reducing the risk of dementia, arthritis, asthma and kidney disease. It’s clear why these fish should be a staple of everyone’s heart-healthy diet.

Studies have shown that fish also alleviates other ailments like prostate cancer, depression and inflammation. A Swedish study shows that men who did not eat fish doubled their risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those that did. Fish also contains selenium, thought to have cancer-fighting properties. The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish are believed to raise levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which aids in reducing depression and the omega 3s, also regulate the body’s inflammation cycle, which prevents and relieves painful conditions like arthritis and cystitis.

The facts are clear. If you want to be healthier, make sure you eat a lot of fish. So, the next time you’re passing your local fish market, get out of the car and take home some fish…you’ll live longer than those people who’ve driven by without stopping. Bake, poach, grill or steam your fish, but don’t fry it. Both pan-frying and deep-frying fish can destroy those beneficial Omega-3s. So, cook the fish yourself at home, perhaps with some freshly squeezed lemon (and maybe even serve it with a bottle of white wine). Your body will thank you!

John says, “my kids loved baked salmon so I do get a chance to make that every once in a while, but my wife isn’t a huge fish fan so that makes it harder. But I love a simple baked fish!”

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{ 2 comments }

Pamela M. Kramer February 6, 2010 at 9:34 am

I can never get past the smell of any seafood. That smell sets off my gag reflex. Any alternatives?

If even the freshest, most mild fish is unpalatable for you then probably the best answer is an Omega-3 supplement. But I’m no doctor.

AndrewENZ February 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Heh…no fish for me!

Dude, you live in NEW ZEALAND – don’t you have some of the FRESHEST fish in the world??

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