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Evidence Based Benefits of Eating Fish

Posted on March 03 2017

Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet. It is loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D.

Fish is also the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain.

Here are 7 health benefits of eating fish that are supported by research.

 

1. Fish is High in Important Nutrients That Most People Don’t Get Enough of

Generally speaking, all types of fish are good for you. They are high in many nutrients that most people aren’t getting enough of. This includes high-quality protein, iodine and various vitamins and minerals. However, some fish are better than others, and the fatty types of fish are considered the healthiest. That’s because fatty fish (like salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and mackerel) are higher in fat-based nutrients. This includes the fat-soluble vitamin D, a nutrient that most people are deficient in. It functions like a steroid hormone in the body. To meet your omega-3 requirements, eating fatty fish at least once or twice a week is recommended.

 

2. Fish May Lower Your Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes

Heart attacks and strokes are the two most common causes of premature death in the world Fish is generally considered to be among the best foods you can eat for a healthy heart. Not surprisingly, many large observational studies have shown that people who eat fish regularly seem to have a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease.

 

3. Fish Contains Nutrients That Are Crucial During Development

Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for growth and development. The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is especially important because it accumulates in the developing brain and eye. For this reason, it is often recommended that expecting and nursing mothers make sure to eat enough omega-3 fatty acids. However, there is one caveat with recommending fish to expecting mothers. Some fish is high in mercury, which ironically is linked to brain developmental problems. For this reason, pregnant women should only eat fish that are low in the food chain (salmon, sardines, trout, etc), and no more than 12 ounces (340 grams) per week.

 

4. Fish May Increase Grey Matter in the Brain and Protect it From Age-Related Deterioration

One of the consequences of aging is that brain function often deteriorates (referred to as age-related cognitive decline).Interestingly, many observational studies have shown that people who eat more fish have lower rates of cognitive decline. One mechanism could be related to grey matter in the brain. Grey matter is the major functional tissue in your brain, containing the neurons that process information, store memories and make you human. Studies have shown that people who eat fish every week have more grey matter in the centers of the brain that regulate emotion and memory.

 

5. Fish May Help Prevent and Treat Depression, Making You a Happier Person

Depression is a serious and incredibly common mental disorder. Although it isn’t talked about nearly as much as heart disease or obesity, depression is currently one of the world’s biggest health problems. Studies have found that people who eat fish regularly are much less likely to become depressed. What this means is that fish can quite literally make you a happier person and improve your quality of life. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids may also help with other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder.

 

6. Fish is The Only Good Dietary Source of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has received a lot of mainstream attention in recent years. This important vitamin actually functions like a steroid hormone in the body, and a whopping 41.6% of the US population is deficient in it. A single 4 ounce (113 gram) serving of cooked salmon contains around 100% of the recommended intake of vitamin D.

 

7. Fish is Delicious and Easy to Prepare

This last one is not a health benefit, but still very important. It is the fact that fish is delicious and easy to prepare. For this reason, it should be relatively easy to incorporate it into the diet. Eating fish 1-2 times per week is considered sufficient to reap the benefits. If possible, choose wild-caught fish over farmed. Wild fish tends to have more omega-3s and is less likely to be contaminated with harmful pollutants. That being said, even if eating farmed fish, the benefits still far outweigh the risks. All types of fish are good for you.

 

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