Americans have wisely reduced their fat intake for many years, but there is one type of fat you do well to get more off and that’s the fat from fish: omega-3 fatty acids. This omega-3 benefits the fish to keep warm when it comes in cold water and humans benefit from it because it promotes better health. |
Eskimo’s diet consists mainly of fish and this is the reason why only a few have heart disease. Similar benefits have been noticed by fish eaters around the world, they simply have less change to die from heart disease. However, there is compelling evidence from research that the oils in fish may do far more than protecting the heart.
A team of scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that overall mortality was 17% lower among people, who ate fish twice a week, than people who ate little or no seafood.
The main reason for these protective effects is the ability of omega-3 to reduce inflammation. When we eat lots of processed foods, like cookies, crackers, and fast food, we get a lot of omega-6 fatty acids, which increase inflammation. If we don’t get enough omega-3 in our diet to counteract the effects of omega-6, we’re in a constant state of inflammation. And inflammation put us at risk for a whole host of conditions, including heart disease, overweight, and even depression We should get a ratio of 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3, but most people get an estimated 15 to 20:1. So we are way out of balance with omega-3.
The omega-3’s in fish seems to work by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxane, naturally occurring compounds, that in large amounts, may cause blood vessels to constrict, while elevating blood pressure. These compounds also may promote unwanted blood clotting in the bloodstream, which can lead to heart disease.
The ability of omega-3 to prevent clotting is very important. Clots that form in the bloodstream can block the flow of blood to the heart and brain, possibly causing heart attacks or strokes. Also, the oil in fish appears to raise levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, that helps to keep fatty sludge from depositing in the arteries.
Research shows that fish can offer particular benefits to people who have already had one heart attack. When they have two fish meals per week they may reduce their chances of getting a second, more severe heart attack.
The oil in fish also appears to help keeping the heart beating in a healthy rhythm. This is important because potentially serious heartbeat irragularitise, called arrhythmias, may lead to cardiac arrest, in which the heart stops beating totally. There is increasing evidence that omega-3 in fish somehow fortify the heart muscle and keep it beating regularly.
The American Heart Association recommends that all adults eat fish at least twice a week. However, the AHA also notes that some fish, specially big and older types, may contain mercury, PCB’s, dioxins and other environmental contaminants.
The benefits and risks of eating fish depends on a person’s stage of life. Children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should follow FDA guidelines to avoid mercury contaminated fish. Fish with the highest possibility of having mercury contamination are sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Eating a variety of types of fish will help minimize any potentially adverse effects due to environmental pollutants.
Cancer Protection Nutritionist have been advising us for a long time to eat less fat from meat and dairy products, to minimize the risk of certain type of cancers. But the fat in fish is a healthy exception. There is strong evidence that the omega-3 in fish protects against breast and colorectal cancers.
Fish protects against cancer the same way as it helps to prevent heart disease – by reducing the body’s production of prostaglandins. In large amounts, prostaglandins act as tumor promoters – that means, they encourage cancer tumors to grow.
Improved lung function You wouldn’t think that eating fish could improve breathing difficulties caused by smoking, but that’s exactly what researchers have found. Fish consumption have been linked to better lung function in adults.
There is only so much that the occasional tuna steak can do to protect you from developing lung disease if you smoke. But if you’re trying to quit or if you live with someone who smokes, eating fish is a good way to reduce the damage. If you smoke, you’re under big time oxidative stress, which will increase inflammation. Omega-3 in fish helps to protect cell walls, which will reduce oxidative stress. Plus, omega-3 will help your nerves and therefore lower your anxiety level, a big thing for people who are trying to quite smoking.
Multiple Protection There are two more reasons why you should get more fish in your diet. In one study, researchers looked at the fish eating habits of more than 8,700 expectant moms in Denmark. They found that the more fish the women ate, the less likely they were to deliver pre-mature babies, and babies with a low birth weight.
Researchers speculate that the omega-3’s in fish prevent preterm delivery by helping to promote blood flow through the placenta, allowing the fetus to get more nutrients. In addition, by blocking the effect of protaglandins, which are responsible for initiating uterine contractions, omega-3’s may help prevent early labors and deliveries.
The omega-3 in fish also protects against autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, two studies have shown that taking fish oil in addition to 45 minutes exercising, 3 times per week, lead to a less body fat, suggesting that fish oil may also promote weight loss.
Choose Salmon All fish provide some omega-3, but salmon is without doubt the best choice. A 3-ounce serving of king salmon provides 3 gram of omega-3. The more deeply colored the salmon, the more omega-3 it provides. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive varieties of salmon usually have the most omega-3
Ignore farm-raised varieties. Farm-raised fish are often fed with grains, instead of their natural diets, which effects their body fat. When they are fat omega-6 in the grains, they become sources of omega-6 fats.
Shop for variety. Besides salmon, spanish mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, fresh whitefish and herring also are good sources.
Buy in cans One of the easiest way to get more omega-3 is to buy a can of water-packed chunk light tuna (avoid albacore, which has been linked to mercury ).
Save microwaving When using conventional methods, the high cooking temperatures can destroy nearly half the omega-3 in fish. Microwaving has little effect on these beneficial oils and is therefore a good cooking choice to get the most benefits from your fish. Share this:
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Alzheimer's disease, cancer protection, dementia, heart disease, inflammation, omega-3, preterm delivery, prostaglandins, rheumatoid arthritis,