The Health Benefits Of Fish

The health benefits of fish have been proven for many years. Since the 1950s when the diet of Eskimos was first studied, scientists have been exploring the link between fish and better health, especially heart health.

High cholesterol is a major problem in most western countries. Improving your heart health is something that must be worked at. There are many effective supplements that help lower cholesterol. But, long lasting health still requires a change in diet and habits. One of the most effective ways to improve your diet is to begin eating more fish.

The best health benefits of fish come from cold water fish such as salmon. These have the highest levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Because of this, it is recommended to include cold water fish as a part of 4 meals each week. Some researchers believe that eating only two servings of fish per week would substantially decrease the mortality rate due to disease. One great way to add fish to your diet is to use canned tuna or salmon. Just add the fish to a salad or sandwich.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

The human body cannot function without fat. The primary health benefits of fish are due to their high content of natural fats. These "good" fats are a type of fat called Omega 3 fatty acids. The important components of Omega 3 found in fish are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

How much EPA and DHA do we need? A good guideline for most people is 500 mg to 1000 mg daily of DHA + EPA.

These fatty acids can only be obtained through eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement.

USDA data shows that in order to obtain 1000 mg of DHA + EPA from fish you need to consume the following amounts of fish:

Fish Portion In OZ.
Salmon 1.4 to 4.5
Trout 3 to 3.5
Flounder 7
Sole 7
Tuna 2.5 to 12
Sardines 2 to 3
Haddock 15

For more information on omega 3 fatty acids check out this ariticle from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Should You Be Concerned About The
Mercury Content in Fish

There are many health benefits of fish. But, we have all heard the horror stories about mercury contamination in fish. Nearly 8 percent of American women between the ages of 16 and 49 have higher concentrations of mercury than the EPA's recommended reference dose.

Some of this may be due to consuming fish. Almost all fish and shellfish contain small amounts of mercury. However, for most people the amounts of mercury in fish are insignifigant from a health point of view.

Yet, some fish do contain high enough levels of mercury to be of concern to unborn babies and children. For this reason the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing, and young children should avoid certain types of fish.

FDA Recommendations Regarding Fish

Because of concerns in this area the FDA has made the following recommendations that allow you to enjoy the health benefits of fish.

1. Avoid eating the following fish due to their high concentrations of mercury.

-King Mackerel

2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. The most popular are:

-canned light tuna

Note that Albacore tuna has a higher omega 3 content than than canned "light" tuna, but also has higher mercury levels. There fore limit consumption of albacore tuna to one 6 oz. serving per week.

3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week.

We've focused primarily on the benefits of the omega 3 content of fish on this page. Fish oil supplements are also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids.

But remember, when you consume fish, you will also be receiving all the health benefits of fish including a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Are you considering cholesterol lowering supplements? You can learn about Lipi-Rite here. Lipi-Rite is a product that contains high amounts of many natural ingrediets that have scientific research supporting their ability to lower cholesterol levels.

More than the Health Benefits of Fish on our Foods That Lower Cholesterol page