I read a lot of magazines, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I read some of the celebrity rags. And one thing I’ve noticed is that every time there is an article that details a celebrity’s diet, fish is a major component. This is probably because celebrities usually have a nutritionist or dietitian on staff to help them create healthy, well-balanced menus that provide the most bang for their buck. And fish is a nutrition powerhouse. It is high in protein and unsaturated fats, low in saturated fat and rich in healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
Research shows that increasing your consumption of fish can help prevent heart disease and may improve your mental health. Several scientific studies have found that people who eat fatty fish that is high in omega 3 fatty acids on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest. The omega 3 fatty acids in fish have also been found to help prevent blood clots and protect against irregular heart beats. In fact, experts say that one to two servings of fish per week can reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by one third.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish high in omega 3 fatty acids at least twice a week for heart health, and evidence shows that eating fish just once a month can still yield health benefits. The heart health benefits of fish are largely due to the omega 3 fatty acids in the fish oil, which help to increase your healthy cholesterol levels while lowering your triglycerides and blood pressure. Some studies have even found a link between these fatty acids and mood disorders, such as depression, but more research is needed.
Fatty varieties of fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Other food sources like soybeans, canola, walnuts and flaxseed as well as oils from those seeds and nuts are also rich in omega 3’s and contribute to overall heart health. However, research has found that the omega 3 fatty acids in fish are especially beneficial.
Despite the health benefits of fish, it has received some negative coverage in the press lately due to the risks associated with high mercury intake, especially to pregnant women. A high level of mercury during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and nervous system damage to the baby. The Environment Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration recommend that pregnant women or those who may become pregnancy and women who are nursing avoid consuming fish that is high in mercury. This includes shark, swordfish, kin mackerel and tilefish. But according to the AHA, for middle-aged and older men, and postmenopausal women, the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risks.
Published On: April 13, 2007