If you eat fish regularly, you know all too well how deliciously satisfying it is.
However, there is a whole lot more to fish than great taste alone. Let’s help put this into perspective. A study published by the Washington State Department of Health revealed that this light, flaky meat is low in fat and high in protein. More than that, it is also an excellent source of vitamins D and B2. Additionally, fish also contains calcium and phosphorus. Both of those minerals support strong, healthy bones and teeth.
Furthermore, adding more of this light, flaky meat to your diet can provide you with a host of health-boosting minerals. Those essentials include iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. In short, a plate of fish will tantalize your taste buds and improve your overall health.
WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT FISH
While most kinds of fish are rich in vitamins and nutrients, some contain far more than others. For example, mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and other fatty fish contain more omega-3 fatty acids than different types of fish.
Further, these omega-3 fatty acids can go a long way toward improving heart health. However, you must eat a lot of fish containing these essential fatty acids to achieve this health benefit.
Take the advice of Alice Lichtenstein, the former chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee, as well as a professor of nutrition science at Tufts University located in Boston, MA. She suggests you should consume fatty fish at least twice per week. In doing so, it will lead to a healthier heart and better overall health, Dr. Lichtenstein goes on to state.
So you’re still not sure that you should eat fish twice per week? Then you may find this next section interesting. More than that, you might decide to make a special trip to your local supermarket to stock up. Along with a stronger, healthier heart and a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, consuming fish regularly contributes to the following when it comes to health benefits:
1 – LOWERS YOUR CHANCES OF DEVELOPING NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES
Sadly, a large percentage of the U.S. population is struggling with a neurodegenerative disease of some kind. To put this into perspective, a study published by the National Institutes of Health revealed that 5.4 million Americans are currently struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. And that number could reach 12 million in the next 30 years, according to the same study. That said, it is essential to note that dementia and Parkinson’s disease are neurodegenerative diseases, as well.
While getting older does put you at risk for developing these mind-robbing diseases, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. And this is where eating more fish-based meals can come into the picture. A separate study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also commonly referred to as JAMA, revealed that consuming fish-based foods twice per week can reduce one’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 47 percent.
For those who have concerns about mercury and would rather eat fish a little less frequently, adding even small amounts to your diet can be beneficial. According to Martha Morris, the lead researcher involved in the study, those who ate fish and other types of seafood at least once per week significantly reduced their risk of developing dementia.
2 – FISH CAN HELP REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Are you struggling with osteoarthritis or any other kind of joint disease? Then a diet that includes fish-based meals can help ease the inflammation that is contributing to your symptoms. That’s because inflammation is the root of stiffness, swelling, and even pain.
That said, an Arthritis Foundation article revealed that individuals who consumed fatty fish saw considerable relief from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. That’s because fatty species are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. And those struggling with osteoarthritis experienced even more relief from arthritis-related symptoms. It should be noted that eating more fish-based meals will not prevent either of these joint diseases from advancing. However, doing so can make day-to-day life a little bit easier.
3 – CAN HELP LOWER HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Considering that high blood pressure links to heart attacks, strokes, and chest pain, you should do everything in your power to keep your blood pressure levels in check. And this includes eating plenty of fish-based meals. Studies show that eating these meals, along with exercising regularly, can help lower high cholesterol, which further reduces the likelihood of developing heart problems.
4 – MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF DYING FROM CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
While it is clear that eating fish-based foods twice per week can improve heart health, doing so can also reduce your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a study published by the American Heart Association. In another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a peer-reviewed medical journal, researchers found that study participants that consumed at least two fish-based meals per week reduced their chances of suffering a coronary death by as much as 36 percent. All in all, eating mackerel, salmon herring, and sardines, for example, can help you live a longer, healthier life.
There are many more health benefits associated with eating two fish-based meals per week. However, those we mention in this article are, arguably, the most significant.
WHAT ABOUT MERCURY?
Most scientists, researchers, nutritionists, and dieticians will agree that the positive health benefits that come from eating fish-based foods twice per week far outweigh the negatives, namely exposure to mercury. And this is especially true for men who are middle-aged and older as well as postmenopausal women. Besides, the 3.5-ounce cooked serving that the American Heart Association recommends consuming per meal helps keep exposure to this heavy metal to a minimum.
Of course, if you’re still worried about eating fish-based meals twice per week, you can make it a point to eat only those that are made with salmon, canned light tuna, catfish, and pollock, all of which are low in mercury. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, you should avoid meals made with the following as they contain a fair amount of this element:
- King mackerel
WHO SHOULD AVOID EATING FISH-BASED FOODS TWICE PER WEEK
Aside from shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, consuming seafood twice per week is safe for most people who are not allergic to seafood. Additionally, women who are pregnant should either avoid or limit the amount of fish-based foods they consume.
According to a study published by the American Pregnancy Association, the mercury in these foods links to fetal brain damage and developmental delays. Further, a separate study published by the National Institutes of Health revealed that a fetus exposed to a high concentration of mercury while in their mother’s womb is more likely to develop the following:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Autism spectrum disorders
- More likely to demonstrate antisocial behavior
Note that the American Pregnancy Association caution pregnant women on consuming seafood with an elevated concentration of mercury. They recommend eating salmon, canned light tuna, catfish, and pollock–in moderation. Nonetheless, it would still be a good idea for pregnant women to speak with a nutritionist, dietician, or physician. Those professionals can determine a specific nutrition plan for their pregnancy.
CAN YOU SUBSTITUTE FISH-BASED FOODS WITH SUPPLEMENTS?
It is reasonably safe to say that some people are in no hurry to pile seafood onto their plates. And this could be because they don’t like the taste, struggle with seafood allergies, or follow a vegan diet. Do these situations resonate with you?
Then you will be happy to know that you can take fish-oil based supplements to achieve these health benefits. Studies show that just one oil-containing capsule contains about 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, which can go a long way toward reducing inflammation, improving mobility, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and much more.
In summary, making fish-based meals a staple in one’s diet provides a wide range of health benefits. They are also easy to prepare and taste delicious. So consider buying mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, or albacore tuna the next time you go grocery shopping.