Why Is Fish Healthy?
Fish is both low fat and high protein – and provides a variety of health benefits. When compared to other animal proteins white fish is much lower in fat, while oily fish boasts incredible amounts of omega-3 acids which are known as “good fats”. Human beings do not naturally manufacture large amounts of these essential nutrients in their bodies so eating fish is part of a healthy diet. It is also worth noting that fish are lower in the so-called “bad fats” (omega-6 fatty acids) that are found in red meat and can be responsible for heart disease.
What Are the Benefits of Omega-3 Acids?
There has been a large amount of research indicating that omega-3 acids contribute to a healthy lifestyle. They have a number of benefits including:
- Contribute to great cardiovascular health by regulating blood clotting and helping healthy blood vessel constriction.
- Are vital for prenatal and postnatal neurological health and development.
- Can assist in reducing tissue inflammation – and reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Can prevent irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), as well as reduce the incidence of depression and prevent the early onset of mental decline in the elderly.
The omega-3 acids found in fish appear to have enormous benefits – however, they must also be free from environmental contaminants and eco-friendly. Some of the fish species that match these criteria include:
- Arctic char
- Wild salmon from Alaska (fresh, frozen, and canned)
- Albacore tuna from the U.S. and Canada
- Atlantic mackerel
- Farmed rainbow trout
Check out a luxury salmon supplier if you need to purchase high-quality, healthy salmon.
Are Fish Oil Supplements Effective?
For those who do not enjoy fish, or if the species above are not available there is an alternative and this is store-bought fish-oil supplements. These can supply significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. The oil is sourced from fish that are harvested for animal feed (a good example is Peruvian Anchovies), as well as for human consumption.
Always look for supplements made from purified fish oil. PCBs build up in fish oil just as they do in swimming fish. These contaminants can prove damaging to health.
Are There Other Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
You can get your omega-3 fatty acids from non-animal sources such as flaxseed, wheat germ, and walnuts. However, it should be noted that these do not seem to convey the same health benefits as fish. You can also enjoy superior omega-3 fatty acid benefits from shellfish and marine algae.
Is It Safe to Enjoy the Benefits of Omega-3 When Considering the Risks of Seafood Contaminants?
Fish is by and large a healthy food – and can be safely consumed in moderate quantities. However, just how much fish you can eat will depend largely on your age and physical health. When considering fish take note of the following:
- Women who might fall pregnant and young children should moderate their fish intake. Fish contaminated with mercury can have severe effects on child development.
- For those older than 50, the tradeoff between omega-3 fatty acid benefits and eating large amounts of seafood should be acceptable.
- Those with diagnosed cardiovascular issues need to accept that they will be at an increased risk of cancer should they eat large amounts of fish. this is due to the high PCB count in many fish species. Once again, it requires a risk/benefit analysis. The benefits of high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids may outweigh the risk of cancer (1 in 100,000 – the level recommended by the EPA).
However, PCBs elevate the risk of conditions other than cancer. The tradeoff equation can be complex. However, there are many low-contaminant seafood options available and many are high in omega-3 fatty acids. The list can be found above, so there you can reduce your risk of consuming contaminated fish.