How Often Should I Eat Fish? The benefits of eating fish are just too good to ignore. Packed full of high-quality protein, healthy fats and various vitamins, fish contains everything your body needs. However, due to health concerns surrounding mercury contamination in large fish, it can be difficult trying to work out how often you should eat fish. Fret not – we’ve got the low-down on everything you need to know about eating fish.
How Often Should I Eat Fish
It’s the omega-3 fatty acids, which are plentiful in many types of seafood, that probably confer most of the heart benefits of eating fish. “Omega-3s are important for cell-to-cell signaling in heart muscle and for cells within the lining of the arteries,” Rimm says. They reduce inflammation, help prevent heart rhythm abnormalities, improve the flexibility of arteries, and help lower cholesterol.
The guideline authors looked at the positive effects of omega-3s on cardiovascular health by examining data from numerous observational studies and randomized controlled trials. Among the main conclusions are:
- Those who consume one fatty fish meal per week had a 50% decreased risk of sudden cardiac mortality than those who consume little to no seafood.
- Compared to individuals who ate little or no fish, those who ate one serving of fish per week had a 14% decreased risk of ischemic stroke (the kind brought on by a blood clot in the brain).
• Those who consumed seafood four or more times a week had a 22 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease overall vs. those who ate it less than once a month.
Fish vs. Fish Oil Pills
If you dislike seafood, you might wonder if you can get the same advantages by taking a tablet instead.
The American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific guideline on this subject last year, advising those who have experienced a heart attack or have been given a heart failure diagnosis to take omega-3 supplements.
However, the authors came to the conclusion that taking fish oil supplements didn’t help anyone else prevent heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure based on the available research.
The benefits of fish may be at least partially attributed to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, but they may also result from the substitution of fish for foods high in saturated fat, such as steak, according to Lichtenstein. “Making healthier dietary choices in addition to taking a supplement”
Is More Fish Better?
It’s possible that going beyond the recommended two servings a week could provide additional health benefits. But hard evidence is lacking. “There just aren’t a lot of studies that included consumption at higher levels,” Rimm says.
Based on the available evidence, the researchers concluded that much of the benefit comes from moving from very little or no fish in the diet to eating fish once or twice a week. “However, if fish is consumed four or more times a week as a substitution for other less healthy foods, then I do think that more is better,” Rimm says.
Choose Low-Mercury Fish
One drawback of eating more fish is the possibility of being exposed to mercury, a toxin that can harm the health of adults as well as fetuses and young children when consumed in excess. Mercury can also disrupt brain development in fetuses and young children.
While everyone should eat fish to improve their heart health, women of childbearing age (particularly those who are pregnant or breastfeeding) and children are urged to do so in order to obtain the omega-3 fatty acids that promote developing brains.
“Eating fish is healthful, and you can consume a lot of fish. Simply pay attention to which fish are high or low in mercury, advises Jean Halloran, head of food policy projects at Consumers Union, Consumer Reports’ lobbying arm. Even for adults, excessive mercury exposure poses acute neurological hazards, including mental fogginess, tremors, and balance loss.
The AHA advises people to seek fatty fish with the highest omega-3 content for their two weekly portions. Salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna are on the list.
The Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations for children and women of childbearing age, however, conflict with several of those suggestions. Albacore tuna is recommended by the FDA as a “once a week choice.” And while King mackerel is a high mercury fish that the FDA advises avoiding, Atlantic mackerel is low in mercury and safe to consume two or more times each week.
The authors of the AHA advice concluded that the benefits of eating fish twice a week exceed any concerns, especially if you consume a variety of seafood, and did not discover any evidence that mercury had any negative effects on cardiovascular disease. However, Rimm points out that they did not examine youngsters or expectant mothers in their analysis of the literature.
Consumer Reports advises eating low-mercury seafood to get your omega-3s. Fortunately, several of these—Atlantic mackerel, sardines, salmon (especially tinned salmon), and trout—are excellent providers of omega-3s. Even though other low-mercury fish like tilapia, catfish, flatfish, and sole don’t contain as many omega-3s, they do contain some, according to Halloran.
Halloran notes that earlier Consumer Reports tests of mercury levels in tuna show that pregnant women shouldn’t consume it at all. Tuna is the second most popular form of seafood after shrimp. Everyone else should avoid eating solely tuna and instead choose chunk light, which has one-third the mercury of albacore and around one-fifth that of sushi tuna (such as bigeye).
How Often Should You Eat Fish?
Could you eat more fish in your diet? Fish in particular contains vitamins like vitamin B2 in seafood. Along with being a strong source of minerals like potassium, magnesium, iodine, zinc, and iron, fish is also high in phosphorus and calcium.
But when is enough, enough? A lot of nutritionists advise eating fish at least twice a week. This is so that fish can keep you healthy, particularly for your heart.
The Harvard School of Public Health conducted research on a number of cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension, stroke, and congestive heart failure. They find that the incidence of sudden cardiac death and coronary heart diseases is dramatically reduced when seafood is substituted for less healthful foods like pork or beef.
Furthermore, research supports the heart-healthy benefits of eating seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. A person’s heart is protected by omega-3 fats because they lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels while also reducing inflammation and maintaining the health of blood vessels.
The many health benefits of seafood in San Antonio
lowers the likelihood of a variety of diseases.According to research, consistently eating fish may lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
beneficial for pregnancy.Separate studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids promote good brain growth and function in babies, which explains why pregnant women frequently eat fish. Additionally, it supports the growth of the nerves and the eyes during pregnancy.
to your health. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA are found in fatty fish. (eicosapentaenoic acid). According to research, it prevents clotting, lowers blood triglyceride levels, preserves the lining of brain cells, and fights inflammation.
However, it should be remembered that not all fish has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines, mackerel, herring, arctic char, anchovies, trout, and salmon are fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
aids in protecting vision.One of the main causes of blindness and vision impairment in older persons is AMD (age-related macular degeneration). According to some research, omega-3 fatty acids and fish may offer protection from this disease. According to one study, eating seafood once a week reduced the chance of developing neovascular AMD by 53%. According to a another study, eating fish regularly was linked to a 42% lower risk of AMD in women.
may prevent children from developing asthma.According to studies, children who regularly eat seafood have an almost 20% lower risk of developing asthma. However, adults have not shown any discernible effects. Inflammation of the airways is one of the main symptoms of the common illness asthma.
Reduces the risk of autoimmune ailments. Autoimmune ailments like type 1 diabetes usually occur when an individual’s immune system begins attacking and destroying healthy tissues in the body. Some studies have associated the intake of omega-3 oils with a decreased risk of autoimmune diabetes in grownups and type 1 diabetes in kids. In addition to this, anecdotal evidence has shown that seafood intake may reduce an individual’s risk of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
vitamin D-rich source.One of the best nutritional sources of vitamin D is fish and seafood derivatives. Herring and salmon are the fish that have the most vitamin D in them. Additionally, fish oils with high vitamin D content include cod liver oil. To benefit from the health advantages of seafood in San Antonio if you don’t consume it frequently or get enough sun, the most typical and plentiful source of vitamin D, think about include fish in your diet or taking vitamin D supplements.
may be used to treat and ward off depression.Depression is a prevalent mental illness characterized by a lack of interest in things and life, diminished energy, melancholy, and a foul disposition. Additionally, it is among the most prevalent health issues worldwide. However, research indicates that people who regularly ate seafood had a lower risk of developing depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids may also greatly increase the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs while also aiding in the treatment of depression, according to numerous controlled studies. Additionally, according to researchers, fish and omega-3 fats may help minimize other mental illnesses including bipolar disorder.
Improves brain health. Observational studies have demonstrated that individuals who consume more fish have slow mental decline rates. Other studies have also shown that individuals who consume seafood every week have more grey matter in parts of the brain that regulate memory and emotion than those who don’t. Grey matter is the major functional tissue in the brain.
Is There a Maximum? How Much Fish is Too Much Fish?
One of the biggest reasons that people are concerned about regularly eating fish is the fact that some types of seafood contain measurable amounts of mercury. Mercury is a toxic substance that can contribute to illness and neurological disease, and it’s especially dangerous for pregnant women and young children. Fish do not produce mercury on their own, but ingest trace amounts that have leaked into oceans, lakes and other waterways from mercury dumps and burning fossil fuels.
While most types of seafood don’t contain enough mercury to cause any harm, pregnant women, children under six and those who are concerned with their mercury consumption should avoid eating king mackerel, marlin, swordfish, bigeye tuna, or ahi tuna.
Concerned About Mercury?
The fact that some forms of seafood contain detectable levels of mercury is one of the main causes of people’s concerns about frequently eating fish. Mercury is a hazardous metal that can cause illness and neurological disorders. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to its dangers. Fish do not naturally manufacture mercury; instead, they consume trace amounts that have escaped from mercury dumps and the burning of fossil fuels into the world’s oceans, lakes, and other waterways.
While the majority of seafood doesn’t contain enough mercury to be harmful, pregnant women, kids under six, and others worried about their mercury intake should stay away from eating bigeye or ahi tuna, king mackerel, marlin, or swordfish.
Mercury-Free Means All You Can Eat
Fortunately, there are several species that have little to no mercury, so you can eat fish as frequently as you desire without worrying that it will hurt you or your loved ones. Mexico, Honduras, or Indonesian tilapia is one of our favorite fish to cook. These tilapia are fully mercury-free in addition to being a good source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, even pregnant women can consume the prescribed two servings of fish each week by eating tilapia without having to worry about adverse health effects linked to mercury ingestion.
Here are the fish and seafood options with the lowest levels of mercury levels:
- Wild and Alaska salmon
Eating Fish Won’t Negatively Impact Your Body
Some people refrain from regularly consuming fish out of concern that it would increase their blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Fish do contain some cholesterol, but they also provide critical nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids that help keep cholesterol levels in a healthy range. Actually, studies show that those who use fish as their main protein source have greater levels of the good cholesterol. When it comes to blood pressure, omega-3 fatty acids can actually lower it, particularly if you choose freshwater fish that isn’t frozen and hasn’t absorbed any salt from the surrounding waterways.