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The Health Benefits of Eating Fish

Taking care of your health and your body is one of the most important things you can do. You only get one body, after all, and you should try to treat it right and give it the nutrients it needs. Fish has long been touted as one of the healthiest meats you can eat and there is a vast array of scientific studies and information to back that up. Light, flakey, buttery, baked or lightly fried—anyway you enjoy your fish, there are so many great reasons to eat it. It’s omega-3 fatty acids, important nutrients and vitamins are just a few great reasons.

Omega – 3 fatty acids.

Why is the omega – 3 fatty acids in fish so vital?

  • The human body can take most types of fats it needs from other fats and raw materials. Not so for omega – 3 fatty acids (or omega -3 fats, n-3 fats). These are absolutely essential fats that the human body cannot make from scratch. Omega – 3 fatty acids must be gained from foods high in it. Fish is naturally high in this crucial fat.
  • Your cells need it. Omega 3 – fats are an important part of cell membranes and affect how well the receptors in these cells function. It’s a starting point for creating hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxing of your artery walls and inflammation. They bind to receptors that regulate genetic function, and likely due to that binding, Omega -3 fatty acids can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and may even assist in controlling lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Most beneficial evidence of Omega-3 fatty acids has to do with heart disease. These fats appear to help your heart beat at a steadier rhythm and could prevent the veer toward potentially fatal erratic rhythm.
  • Omega – 3 fatty acids can help improve mood and anxiety, especially those fatty acids classified as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, which play numerous physiological roles and can reduce inflammation.)
  • Another type of Omega-3, DHA, is a major component of the retina in your eye. When you don’t get enough of this type of Omega 3-fatty acids, vision problems could arise. Getting enough of Omega-3 is also linked to reduced risks of macular degeneration, one of the world’s current leading causes of eye damage leading to blindness.
  • During pregnancy, Omega-3’s are crucial for brain growth and development in infants. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a structural component of skin, retinas, and important to brain growth and development in infancy and childhood. Getting enough Omega-3s in pregnancy is associated with numerous benefits, including higher intelligence, better communication and social skills, fewer behavioral issues, decreased risk of developmental delay, ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy.
  • DHA is excellent for your skin, helping manage oil production and hydration, assisting in reducing premature aging and can even lower the risk of acne.

The Good Fat

You’re probably bombarded with it daily—this fat is bad fat and this turns into that fat. Fatty fish, however, is chock-full of yes, good fat. What is good fat? Good fat from fish often includes high-quality proteins, iodine, fat-soluble vitamin D, and of course, those Omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fatty fish is recommended at least once or twice a week. Great fish to meet these needs would be salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and mackerel, just to name a few.

Memory improvement and may protect from age-related deterioration

Unfortunately, everyone ages. As time goes by age-related deteriorations can affect the human brain, anywhere from simple forgetfulness to the more serious cognitive decline found in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Observational studies of people shown to eat more fish have concluded they were more likely to have slower rates of cognitive decline!

Your brain has what is called Grey Matter, which is a major component of your central nervous system, consisting of neuronal cell bodies, neuropil (a synoptically dense region containing low numbers of cell bodies), synapses and capillaries. It’s even found in your spinal cord. It’s the major functional tissue in your brain and contains the neurons that process information and store memories. Studies have shown that people who eat fish at least once every week tend to have more Grey Matter in the centers of the brain that regulate emotion and memory.

Fish may help fight depression and anxiety

Making fish a regular part of your diet and weekly meals can help those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Depression, though still not talked about as widely as heart disease, is still one of the world’s biggest health problems. In pairing medication and fish properly, studies have found those with depression may be less likely to find themselves feeling depressed with the addition of fish to their meals. Controlled trials of Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) have found that the fatty acid is beneficial against depression and can increase the effectiveness in medications used to treat depression.

The perfect, and only really good source of Vitamin D

Did you know that Vitamin D deficiency is still affecting nearly 1 billion people, worldwide? Roughly 50% to 90% of the population has Vitamin D insufficiency. You can, of course, take a wide range of vitamins or get some sunlight to help with Vitamin D levels; but with the dangers of UV and the sometimes ineffectiveness of vitamins, the best way to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D is getting it directly from eating fish at least once or twice a week. A single four-ounce (or 113 grams) serving of salmon contains 100% of the recommended intake of Vitamin D your body needs.

Reducing the risk of Diabetes

Fighting against diabetes or juvenile diabetes may be made easier with the inclusion of fish in your diet. It’s estimated in the U.S. alone that about 1.25 million American have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetics are insulin-dependent and it is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is the hormone that is absolutely needed to allow sugar to enter cells and produce energy.

Several studies concluded that eating the proper amount of fish in your diet may reduce the chance adults or children have in getting diabetes.

Help prevent Asthma

Asthma appears to be on the rise in both children and adults. Fresh fish in your diet may help prevent you or your children from being diagnosed with asthma. Asthma is a chronic or long-term condition that inflames and narrows airways in the lungs. The inflammation makes the airways swell, and that swelling can cause the wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing from asthma. N-3 or Omega-3 fatty acids consumption has been linked with a 24% lower risk in developing asthma, as EPA and DHA (marine fatty acids) have the ability to inhibit inflammation.

Sleep better

Sleep disorders and insomnia are very common worldwide. The increase of exposure to blue light, Vitamin D deficiency, stress, and other factors all take a role in contributing. In a study featuring 95 middle aged men over six months, fed a meal with salmon three times a week, they reported improvements in both sleep and daily functioning. It’s suspected that the Vitamin D in fish is what led to this.

Last but never least? Fish is one of the easiest dishes to prepare. When cooked just right, fish can be a meal tossed together on a busy night. Not only is it healthy, but the delicious richness to fatty fish can feel as if you’re having a ‘cheat’ meal, but you’re really feeding your body so many nutrients and vitamins it can’t make on its own!

When you think of it that way, the health and mental wellness benefits of fish are nearly endless!

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