- Posted October 23, 2013 by
Why Should I Eat Fish?
Fish was probably among the first foods consumed by our ancestors dwelling near bodies of water that have covered over two-thirds of the earth’s surface for millions of years. For thousands of years until the present modern day age, mankind continues to reap the bounty of the sea with multi-million dollar fishing vessels catching tons of fish in one go using a variety of methods that collect deep sea species or those dwelling on the water’s surface.
One the other end of the line, a simple homemade fishing rod made from a length of bamboo or tree branch, some fishing line, hook and bait can catch fish one at a time from a still body of water like a pond.
Eating fish is one of the most obvious reasons that humans have evolved to how we are today. Fish are high in protein and omega fatty acids and low in saturated fat making it a popular healthy food for dieters. In fact, pescetaranism was coined for those who refrain from eating red meat but allow themselves seafood.
Health benefits from a consuming a lot of fish include improvements in brain function and heart health. Doctors have long recognized that the unsaturated fats in fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, appear to reduce the risk of dying of heart disease. For many years, the American Heart Association has recommended that people eat fish at least twice a week because of this.
What are they and why are they good for your heart?
Fish contain unsaturated fatty acids, which, when substituted may lower your cholesterol. But the main beneficial nutrient appears to be omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish. They are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that's thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease.
These acids may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, boost immunity and improve arthritis symptoms, and in children may improve learning ability. Eating one to two servings a week of fish, particularly fish that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly sudden cardiac death.
Does it matter what kind of fish you eat?
Salmon, herring and to a lesser extent tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit, but many types of seafood contain small amounts of omega-3.
Most freshwater fish have less than do fatty saltwater fish. Some varieties of freshwater trout have relatively high levels of omega-3.
Are there any kinds of fish you should avoid?
Some fish, such as tilapia and catfish, don't appear to be as heart healthy because they contain higher levels of unhealthy fatty acids. Keep in mind that any fish can be unhealthy depending on how it's prepared. For example, broiling or baking fish is a healthier option than is deep-frying.
Some researchers are concerned about eating fish produced on farms as opposed to wild-caught fish. Researchers think antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals used in raising farmed fish may have harmful effects to people who eat the fish.
Source: Friendly Fisherman - Why Eat Fish? by Sue Smith, November 2011