Fish is a good source of nutrition and many kinds of fish are low-cost and easy to prepare. Women Fitness brings you top 10 reasons to eat a variety of fish and shellfish as part of a balanced diet.
1. Fish is an excellent low-fat food –
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in all seafood, including shellfish, oysters and shrimp. Most shellfish and white-fleshed fish like flounder and even some dark-fleshed fish like yellow-fin tuna contain less total fat than any other form of animal protein. 60% of the brain’s solid matter is composed of essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fats found in cold water fish make up a large portion of the communicating membranes of the brain. Brain cells must constantly refresh themselves with a new supply of fatty acids. DHA is a particular omega-3 fatty acid found in fish that appears to boost brain development.
2. A great source of protein, vitamins and minerals –
including vitamins A and D, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and iodine in marine fish. Its protein – like that of meat – is easily digestible and favourably complements dietary protein provided by cereals and legumes that are typically consumed in many developing countries. Calcium is an added bonus offered by canned salmon. The bones in canned salmon are soft and edible making canned salmon an excellent source of dietary calcium, which is vital in the fight against osteoporosis.
3. The oils in fish are important for unborn and breastfed babies– DHA is critical to infant normal eye and vision development. Pregnant women who eat more of a key fatty acid found in fish have babies who show signs of more mature brain development, according to a new study. Those newborns whose mothers had more of it in their blood had heartier sleep patterns in the first 48 hours after delivery compared to those whose mothers consumed less of the compound, known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and sardine are particularly a good choice for the diet of pregnant and lactating women.
4. Eating a variety of fish helps to reduce your chances of stroke or heart attack-Two recent Harvard studies support the American Heart Association’s advice to make fish a regular part of a heart healthy diet. As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine, several weekly servings of fish – a prime source of omega-3 fatty acids – seem to help protect both men and women from heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, as components of the phospholipids in cellular membranes, may help guard against cardiac death by protecting the heart cells from the effects of ventricular tachycardia. These fatty acids may also inhibit the development of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels and by reducing platelet aggregation. There is also some evidence that omega-3s may help improve endothelial dysfunction, an indication of developing atherosclerosis. Cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring are particularly good sources of omega-3s, but most varieties of fish contain some fat in this form. Individuals who can’t or won’t eat fish can use canola or soybean oil, and margarine in place of other vegetable fats, or add small amounts of ground flaxseed to prepared dishes. Both options can boost omega-3 fatty acid intake in a step toward a more heart healthy diet. Fish, like aspirin, keep platelets from clumping and, therefore, help prevent clots.
5. Reduces inflammation and joint pain–
Numerous studies show that omega-3 fatty acids, especially those found in certain oily ocean fish, reduce inflammation and joint pain. Eat oily ocean fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and albacore tuna.
6. Help in lowering blood cholesterol levels–
As a comparison, look at skinless chicken breast, which contains about 58 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per serving. salmon and swordfish have 39 mg per serving. Shrimp are higher in cholesterol at 152 mg. But each contains less saturated fat – which is primarily responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels – than skinless chicken breast.
7. Fish-oil supplements may dramatically reduce the risk of sudden death in heart attack survivors. According to The Journal of the American Heart Association, a daily gram of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduced the risk of sudden death and death overall in people who have had heart attacks
8. Women with diabetes who eat more fish have healthier hearts–
According to Frank B. Hu, M.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health, “Regular fish consumption should be considered as part of a healthy diet for diabetes management. For individual patients, at least two servings of fish per week are recommended.”
9. Eating fish, containing the omega-3 DHA, could help to prevent Alzheimer’s–
According to a research led by University of Guelph professor Julie Conquer found that fish may prevent Alzheimer¹s and other cognitive impairments in,elderly patients. It was found that these patientshave lower blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, than people with normal cognitive functioning. Researchers concluded that eating fish, containing the omega-3 DHA, could help to prevent Alzheimer¹s. Published in Lipids, December 2000.
10. Fish-Rich Diet May Reduce Levels of Fat Hormone-
According to scientist, A diet rich in fish may lower levels of the fat-regulating hormone leptin. The substance seems to tell the body when it has consumed enough food, and researchers posit that obese people somehow lose the ability to recognize these chemical cues. But exactly how the system works and what other factors influence the hormone’s levels are unknown. Women generally possess higher levels of the hormone than men do, it was found the leptin levels of women who ate fish to be less than half that of both the female and male vegetarians.
In general, people in developing countries are much more dependent on fish as part of their daily diets than those living in the developed world. By adding one or two fish meals to your family’s diet each week, you can get some very hefty health benefits.