There are many reasons to add fish to your dining pleasure. Beyond omega-3s, seafood is also full of protein, vitamin B12, potassium, selenium, and, in some seafood varieties, iron and vitamin D. Just like with fruits and vegetables, different types of fish and shellfish are bursting with different nutrients. The best way to get all of the nutritional benefits of seafood is to mix it up and try a little bit of everything.
According to an upcoming report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), “consumption of fish provides energy, protein, and a range of other important nutrients, including the long-chain n-3 [omega-3] poly unsaturated fatty acids.” These international agencies are urging governments around the world to do a better job of encouraging people to eat fish.
How much fish you should eat also depends on how much you weigh because it determines how the body processes the contaminants. To adjust the meal size for a lighter or heavier weight - subtract or add 1 ounce of ﬁsh for every 20 pounds of body weight. Its important to adjust frequency of fish meals to give your body time to handle the contaminants in between ﬁsh meals. For a visual idea, 3 oz fish = checkbook.
For the Heart
Women of childbearing age can reduce their risk of heart problems by regularly eating fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, said a Danish. The study is the first to examine younger women, age 15-49, and determine whether fish in their diet has a real impact on their current likelihood of heart problems, instead of their longevity. For instance, "those who rarely or never ate fish had 50 percent more cardiovascular problems over eight years than those who ate fish regularly," the research said.
Women who rarely or never ate fish faced a 90 percent higher risk of heart problems than those who ate fish weekly. When researchers looked at hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in three different assessments over a 30 week period, they found it was three times higher among women who did not eat fish. The findings, published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, are based on a Danish study of 49,000 women with a median age of 30 that spanned eight years.
For the Brain
Fish also can help grey matter. In a study of 260 healthy elderly participants, researchers led by Dr. Cyrus Raji, a resident at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s department of medicine, found that those regularly eating baked or broiled fish — but not fried — lowered their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
People who ate fish at least once a week — most of whom consumed fish one to four times a week — were significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment over the five years following their brain scans, compared with those who didn’t eat fish.
The fact that fish-eaters may experience brain benefits from seafood does make sense, however — other studies have suggested that the omega-3 fatty acids found in some fish such as salmon can lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.