Thursday, 22 January 2015

Fish and Human Health

Fish has a reputation for being low calorie, high protein “brain food,” packed with vitamins and minerals, and a major source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating plenty of fish on a regular basis can help protect you from a range of serious diseases.

Benefits of eating fish
1. It can help to fight heart disease
The British Heart Foundation says eating oily fish can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve your chances of survival following a heart attack. Fish does this by lowering levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood - raised levels are associated with heart disease. Fish oils also appear to help reduce blood clotting and abnormal heart rhythms after a heart attack
2. It can lower the risk of Alzheimer's
Polyunsaturated fatty acids found in many fish may prevent damage to brain cells. Eating fish can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which is linked with dementia. A French study of 2000 people showed that those who ate seafood at least once a week had a significantly lower risk of dementia over a seven-year period than those who didn't.
3. It has cancer-fighting properties
A Swedish study of 6000 men over a 30-year period showed that those who didn't eat any fish had between double and treble the risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to those who ate moderate or large amounts. Shellfish, such as crab and lobster, also contains selenium, thought to have cancer-fighting properties.

4. It can ease depression
It's been reported that fish can help to ease depression. Again, it's down to omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to raise levels of the brain chemical serotonin.
5. It can reduce and relieve arthritis
Population groups that eat a lot of fish - Inuits in Greenland, for example - have low rates of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Studies have also shown fish oils to be useful in relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

6. It is good for your skin
According to dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, author of The Perricone Prescription, a salmon-packed diet can help smooth out age lines.
7. Boost Brain Development
The EFA omega-3 found in salmon and other nutrient-rich fish are essential nutrients for children because they contribute to brain development. Some studies have even found that omega-3 consumption can help soothe symptoms of ADHD.

8. Dose of Vitamin D
Saltwater fish is a sun-less source of vitamin D, which scientists say can help ward off disease, promote bone health, and with the help of the omega-3s in fish, ward off cognitive decline

9. Stronger Sperm
A recent study of 188 men found that those who ate more fresh fish — along with other healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — had stronger swimmers than those who ate unhealthy diets. Researchers say that more study needs to be done, but preliminary data shows that the better the participant’s diet, the stronger the shape and mobility of the sperm he produced.

Which fish should you eat to get the most health benefits?
White fish, like cod, are a good source of low-fat protein and minerals. Oily fish, such as sardines, pilchards, salmon and mackerel, have the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. Crab, lobster and mussels come into the shellfish group and contain selenium - thought to have cancer-fighting properties.

Ways you can buy your fish
Full of flavour and convenient to prepare and cook.

Frozen fish with no coatings has the same nutritional content as fresh fish. Fish often comes breaded, battered and in sauce – choose those with lowest salt and fat.

Keep as an essential in your store cupboard – ideal for making a meal when you’re in a hurry.    Choose canned fish in mineral water over brine and oil.

Choose varieties with lower salt content.

Safety precaution

Children, pregnant women or those planning to have a baby should avoid eating shark, marlin or swordfish as they contain high levels of mercury. Other adults including breastfeeding women should have no more than one portion per week. For more information read our pregnancy and breastfeeding pages. Learn more about fish allergies in the food allergy section.

Storing fish

Purchase as near as possible to when you are going to consume it as it is highly perishable. In the refrigerator, keep in an airtight container or on a plate covered with cling film. Do not put mussels, oysters or any other live shellfish into airtight containers, because they need to breathe. Place in bowl and put in the coldest part of your fridge


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