8 Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Fish
Too many of us are guilty of walking straight past the fresh fish in the supermarket and straight to the red meat or chicken. We all know it’s delicious, so maybe it’s just force of habit that makes us skip this easy to prepare meal.
If the flavour isn’t enough to make you throw some in your cart, fish is packed with protein, omega-3 (a type of polyunsaturated fat), iodine, and vitamin D; all essential nutrients that many of us struggle to get enough of in our diets.
Here are 8 health reasons to make you stop in the fish aisle and pick out some for yourself or your family:
1. It Fosters Muscle Development
Fish contains all of the essential amino acids, meaning it is a complete protein. When we work out, we break down our muscle fibres and we need lots of protein to rebuild and grow them. Because it is low in fat, it is perfect for those trying to put on muscle, lose weight or stay lean.
2. It Decreases Likelihood of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 40. It affects between 30 and 50 million people throughout the world and can lead to an inability to read or recognize faces.
A 2011 Harvard study of female health professionals revealed that those who ate fish and omega-3 regularly had a 35-45% lower risk of significant macular degeneration.
3. It Reduces the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases Including Diabetes
Autoimmune diseases are an expanding source of stress on our lives and our healthcare systems.
Although they have long been linked to dietary causes, more research is beginning to emerge that fish and its abundant omega-3 can help to reduce the risk of these diseases.
Norwegian scientists have shown that cod-liver oil can reduce the risk of type-1 diabetes, and a study by Finnish scientists also appears to confirm the role of fish in combating diabetes.
4. It Helps with Mood Disorders
Disorders such as depression, anxiety and self harm seem to be becoming more and more apparent, especially amongst young people. Some scientists have hypothesised that this is because of a reduced intake of fish in the western diet.
Recent studies suggest that the omega-3 found in fish can reduce the risk of self-harm, suicidal behaviour and depression. More studies are needed in the area, but omega-3 based treatments seem promising in certain patients.
5. It Reduces the Risk of Asthma in Children
In the modern world, asthma rates continue to climb, particularly in children. It is believed that this could be due to how the environments that we grow up in have changed over the last few decades.
A US-Chinese meta-analysis of previous studies found that fish consumption during pregnancy and infancy led to a reduction in asthma rates by up to 68%. The scientists believed that this was due to omega-3.
6. It Boosts Brain Development in Children
We all know that the early stages of life are so important for how we will be as adults, but not many people know that omega-3 is a crucial element in our early neurological and eye development.
To support optimal foetal growth, studies recommend that women eat two servings of low-mercury containing fish. Eating too much fish can be dangerous for expectant mothers due to potential mercury poisoning, though the risk is low.
7. It Strengthens Sperm
A study released by Harvard’s School of Nutrition indicates that a diet higher in fish and other healthy foods such as legumes and whole grains is healthier for sperm in young men.
In the study, people in the top quarter of healthy eaters had an 11% higher number of sperm that swam well than those in the bottom quarter.
8. It Reduces the Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes
As two of the leading causes of death in the Western world, this is definitely something we should all be concerned about. Several studies have indicated that regular fish consumption leads to a decreased risk of both heart attacks and stroke.
One particular study of US health professionals showed that men who ate fish 2-4 times each week had a 15% lower risk of heart disease than those who ate it infrequently.
Scientists are unsure of the exact mechanism, but believe it is due to the omega-3 fatty acids that are abundant in fish.
Fish is delicious and it’s good for you.Filled with nutrients that our bodies crave, especially omega 3, we all need to get some more on our plates. Eat more fish and live a happier, healthier life.