School of Fish

Why you should eat fish

Fish is low in fat and high in protein.The U.S. government recommends varying your lean protein choices by adding fish, nuts, bean, peas and seeds to your diet.

The health benefits

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2006, 631,636 Americans died of heart disease according to. But due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, you can lower heart rate, blood pressure and triglyceride levels and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Studies link fish to reducing depression, stroke and mental decline, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

One of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, DHA, is important for the brain development of infants so women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or may become pregnant, fish intake is important-as long as the fish is low in mercury.

Research is also looking at how omega-3s can be used in the prevention or treatment a variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes, arthritis,osteoporosis and asthma.

More about omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential acids because they are not made by the human body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.Omega-3 fatty acid reduces inflammation. They are also important for the brain and nervous system.

There are three kinds of omega-3s: alpha-linolenc acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), dososahexaenoic acid (DHA). The body converts ALA to DHA and EHA.

Omega-3 fatty acid, found in meat, is another fatty acid. The University of Maryland Medical Center says a balance between the two omega acids is important because they work together, but that the average American eats 14 to 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3s when they really should be eating only about two to four more times more. The Mediterranean diet that is growing in popularity is based on eating less meat and more fish, grains, olive oils and vegetables.

According to the Better Health Channel Web site of Victoria, Australia,the following are approximate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids per 60g serving of varieties of fish:

The following are approximate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids per 60g serving of other foods:

How much fish should you eat?

Try for two servings of fatty fish a week, according to the November issue of the Nutrition Action Healthletter. Examples of fatty fish are salmon, sardines and herring.

Don't go overboard

The FDA recommends up to 12 ounces a week, which is about two averge meals, of fish like catfish, canned light tuna, shrimp, salmon and pollock because they are low in mercury. Only have one meal of albacore ("white") tuna because it has more mercury.

More on the risks associated with fish.

"But I don't like fish"

If you don't like fish but want to make sure you're keeping a balanced diet, GatorWell nutritionist Janis Mena suggests eating almonds or drinking orange juice fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.Mena does not recommend fish oil pills or supplements because they are not regulated.

Walnuts, pecans, olive oil, soybeans and purslane (a leafy green vegetable) are also righ in omega-3 fatty acids, according to Discovering Nutrition by R. Elaine Turner.

Three goldfish (from stck.xcng then edited)