Fish is one of the key elements of a healthy diet. Eating fish regularly will enhance your health and protect you from an array of serious illnesses.
Fish is a mind food, a heart food, and a superfood, high in nutritional value, packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Fish has higher nutrient and protein value than any other type of protein available.
You should try to eat fish every day, or at least every other day. However, I am one of those people who doesn’t eat as much as I should. I am writing this article as much for my own benefit – I’m determined to turn over a new leaf and add more fish to my diet!
So, many of us know that fish is a superfood that makes us strong and healthy. Fatty fish, such as salmon, lake trout, herring, sardines and tuna contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and, therefore, the most benefit. But, it does not matter what type of fish you eat. All fish have elements to them to enhance your health and you are going to benefit from eating more fish.
Now I’m going to tell you about some more amazing reasons to eat more fish – below are 7 ways that fish will enhance your health.
1. Boost the condition of your heart
Fish is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It is not high in saturated fat like most animal-based proteins. One of the biggest enemies to your heart is cholesterol. Fish contains unsaturated fatty acids which, when substituted for saturated fats such as those in red meat, may lower your cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to lower fat levels from your blood, and therefore, reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
“Eating fish twice a week is a great way to improve your heart health!” – Says the American Heart Association.
According to the AHA, eating fish-based meals at least twice a week will reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases significantly. When you eat more fish, you cut back on other sources of protein which have more saturated fat and are less healthy for you.
So, do your heart a favor and start eating fish regularly.
2. Feed your brain
Your body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids, and so, we must obtain them directly from food. Eating oily fish like salmon, tilapia, trout, bass, catfish, tuna and all other similar types of fish will not only make you healthier, but also smarter.
Fish oil contains EPA and DHA in a ready-made form, and eating fish can enable us to absorb these compounds more easily.
These two ingredients improve your brain power. DHA levels have been linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Eating fish has also been found to help preserve an average volume of hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and gray matter neurons in your brain. (Non-Fried Fish Might Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s: Study)
3. Promote bone health
As you get older, your bone density tends to decrease. To maintain bone health, you may have to supplement your diet with calcium, the main building block for your bones. Fish contains high levels of calcium, so if you are concerned about the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, eat plenty of fish. Fish has strontium, which is effective for treating osteoporosis. Minerals like zinc and vitamin D in seafood and shellfish encourage bone growth and strong bone collagen production.
4. Improve skin and hair
To improve your skin and hair, omega-3 fatty acids in fish are must-haves in your diet.
“These fatty acids are responsible for the health of the cell membrane, which is not only what acts as the barrier to things that are harmful, but also the passageway for nutrients to cross in and out and for waste products to get in and out of the cell,” says Ann Yelmokas McDermott, PhD, a nutritionist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. (Source: Want Healthy Skin? Feed It Well)
5. Enhance your libido
Eating fish can improve your libido. It boosts sperm count and testosterone levels in men. Testosterone is also responsible for enhancing sexual performance and desire in both men and women. Eating seafood like scallops, shrimp, lobster and oysters, which are rich in iodine and zinc, are critical for the normal functioning of the male reproductive system.
6. Boost your mood
Eating smart also makes you happier, and it’s not only psychological. Studies have found that omega-3, and DHA found in fish oil can increase your brain’s level of chemical secretion linked to elevated mood, which helps you to cope with depression and mood swings. There are several types of fish and seafood along with other healthy foods that help you improve your mood.
7. Strengthen your immune system
Fish supplies essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, amino acids, calcium and DHA and EPA that strengthen your immune system and help to fight disease naturally. A report issued in April 2013 of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, helps provide clarity on this by showing that DHA-rich fish oil enhances B cell activity, which is part of the white blood cell. The white blood cell’s vital function is to fight infection and any foreign invaders that threaten the body.
Are there any risks involved with eating fish?
The concern with eating fish is finding out where and how your fish was raised and what methods were used for farming and harvesting. Make sure that you are eating fish grown and raised on an organic farm, utilizing sustainable methods of farming.
There are also concerns with pollution and mercury found in water. All water contains a small amount of mercury, but if you eat fish raised in a place where the water is contaminated with more pollutants and higher levels of mercury, then it might be a problem. Mercury is particularly harmful to the development of the brain and nervous system of young and unborn children.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that these groups limit the amount of fish they eat:
- Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
- Breast-feeding mothers
- Young children
Of course, there is no concern if fish are sourced from an organic fish farm.
How to cook your fish
How you cook your fish will affect the nutritional benefits. Try baking or boiling your fish rather than frying, which damages the healthy oils. And, don’t overcook it!
As with all healthy foods, eating fish directly is better than taking vitamins, calcium, protein and omega-3 supplements for health benefits.
Eating smart will actually make you smarter, healthier and happier. Fish is indeed a smart food that is beneficial for your health in many ways. It improves both your mental and physical health. It also makes you look and feel younger and strengthens your immune system.
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Source: WorldWide Aquaculture
Related articles and resources:
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Eat More Fish
- Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart – Mayo Clinic
- Organic Fish Farming – Sustainability Meeting Protein Demand | WorldWide Aquaculture
- Non-Fried Fish Might Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s: Study
- Strontium for Treating Osteoporosis and for Bone Health
- 7 Foods for Couples: Foods That Boost Your Mood | WorldWide Aquaculture