I eat a lot of fish – mostly salmon, but lots of other fish as well. However, I avoid swordfish and tuna, especially tuna steaks and albacore because of high levels of mercury, and tilapia because of high levels of omega-6. I eat fish because its healthy and I like it, and when I’m eating fish I’m not eating meat. I supplement my fish consumption with fish oil or flaxseed oil on days that I do eat meat.
My daughter, who is a pediatrician and vegetarian, also uses flaxseed oil and gives her 3 children fish oil supplements.
Fish reduces asthma and allergies
Giving children a diet rich in fish and “fruity vegetables” can reduce asthma and allergies, according to a seven-year study of 460 Spanish children, published in the September issue of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.
The findings also reinforce the researchers’ earlier findings that a fish-rich diet in pregnancy can help to protect children from asthma and allergies.
Eating fish may explain very low levels of heart disease in Japan
Consuming large quantities of fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids may explain low levels of heart disease in Japan, according to a study led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health slated for the Aug. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and available online. The study also found that third- and fourth-generation Japanese Americans had similar or even higher levels of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries – a major risk factor for heart disease, compared to white Americans.
The very low rate of heart disease in Japan among developed countries has been puzzling. Death rates from coronary heart disease in Japan have been less than half of that in the U.S. This holds true even among Japanese men born after World War II who adopted a Western lifestyle since childhood, and despite the fact that among these same men, risk factors for coronary heart disease (serum levels of total cholesterol, blood pressure and rates of type 2 diabetes) are very similar among men in the U.S. Additionally, the rate of cigarette smoking, another major risk factor, has been infamously high in Japan.
"Our study suggests that very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have strong properties that may help prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries," said Akira Sekikawa, M.D., Ph.D., study lead author and assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "Increasing fish intake to two times a week for healthy people is currently recommended in the U.S. Our study shows much higher intake of fish observed in the Japanese may have strong anti-atherogenic effect."
Fish consumption among the Japanese is one of the highest in the world. Japanese men consume an average of 100 grams, equivalent to about 3.75 ounces, of fish every day from early in life. Meanwhile, Americans typically eat fish less than two times a week.
"The Japanese eat a very high level of fish compared to other developed countries," said Dr. Sekikawa. "While we don't recommend Americans change their diets to eat fish at these quantities because of concerns about mercury levels in some fish, increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids in the U.S. could have a very substantial impact on heart disease. Given the similar levels of atherosclerosis in Japanese Americans and white Americans, it also tells us that lower levels of heart disease among Japanese men are much more likely lifestyle related than a result of genetic differences," said Dr. Sekikawa.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found primarily in fish. The two most potent omega-3 fatty acids are known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and are usually found in oily fishes, such as mackerel, salmon and tuna.
Eating Fish May Prevent Memory Loss and Stroke
The study found that people who ate fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (called DHA and EPA) three times or more per week had a nearly 26 percent lower risk of having the silent brain lesions that can cause dementia and stroke compared to people who did not eat fish regularly. Eating just one serving of this type of fish per week led to a 13 percent lower risk. The study also found people who regularly ate these types of fish had fewer changes in the white matter in their brains.
“While eating fish seems to help protect against memory loss and stroke, these results were not found in people who regularly ate fried fish,” said Jyrki Virtanen, PhD, RD, with the University of Kuopio in Finland. “More research is needed as to why these types of fish may have protective effects, but the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA would seem to have a major role.”
Types of fish that contain high levels of DHA and EPA nutrients include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies.
“Previous findings have shown that fish and fish oil can help prevent stroke, but this is one of the only studies that looks at fish’s effect on silent brain infarcts in healthy, older people,” said Virtanen. Research shows that silent brain infarcts, which are only detected by brain scans, are found in about 20 percent of otherwise healthy elderly people.
Fish Better than Olive Oil, Nuts vs. Heart Disease
Researchers have found that a diet rich in fish, seafood, and grains – also called polyunsaturated fats – is better at preventing heart disease than a diet containing olive oil, nuts, and avocados – called monounsaturated fats. Although both types of fats are healthy, people should probably include more of the first than the second in their diet to keep a healthy heart, the scientists say.
Too much cholesterol has long been linked to increasing risks of developing heart disease, but it has been less clear how the various dietary fats – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – make people susceptible to the disease.__
These results suggest that polyunsaturated fat is a more suitable replacement than monounsaturated fat for dietary saturated fat, the scientists concluded.
Eating fish, omega-3 oils, lowers risk of memory problems
A diet rich in fish and omega-3 oils, may lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s diseas, according to a study published in the November 13, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
For the study, researchers examined the diets of 8,085 men and women over the age of 65 who did not have dementia at the beginning of the study. Over four years of follow-up, 183 of the participants developed Alzheimer’s disease and 98 developed another type of dementia.
The study found people who regularly consumed omega-3 rich oils, such as canola oil, flaxseed oil and walnut oil, reduced their risk of dementia by 60 percent compared to people who did not regularly consume such oils.
The study also found people who ate fish at least once a week had a 35-percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and 40-percent lower risk of dementia.
Oily fish can protect against rheumatoid arthritis
Paris, France, Friday 13 June 2008: New data presented today at EULAR 2008, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Paris, France, show that intake of oily fish is associated with a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
For the first time, the intake of oily fish has been demonstrated to have a protective effect against the development of RA, reducing an individual's risk by 20-30%. Studying 1,899 subjects investigators concluded that the odds ratio (OR) for developing RA was 0.8 (0.7-1.0) for those who consumed oily fish 1-7 times per week or 1-3 times per month, compared with those who never, or seldom consumed oily fish. Interestingly, no significant association with RA risk was observed for consumption of fish oil supplements.
Eating fish and foods with omega-3 fatty acids linked to lower risk of age-related eye disease
Eating fish and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced risk of the eye disease age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a meta-analysis of nine previously published studies in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Elaine W-T. Chong, M.B.B.S., of the University of Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of studies published before May 2007 evaluating the fish consumption and overall omega-3 fatty acid intake for the prevention of AMD. A total of nine studies were identified with 88,974 participants, including 3,203 individuals with AMD.
When results from all nine studies were combined, a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a 38 percent reduction in the risk of late (more advanced) AMD, while eating fish twice a week was associated with a reduced risk of both early and late AMD.
Eat fish -- especially if you drink high levels of alcohol
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a necessary part of an individual's healthy diet.
New findings indicate that binge-drinking men have lower intakes of n-3 fats, one type of EFA.
This low intake exacerbates the already very low EFA levels.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are just that; an "essential" part of the total fat intake necessary for a healthy human diet. Most EFAs come from plants, but some are animal-sourced. A new study has found that men who binge drink have substandard intake of n-3 fats, one of two types of EFAs, indicating poor dietary choices with negative long-term health consequences.
"Essential fatty acids are important building blocks of living cells, making up a substantial part of cell walls," explained Norman Salem, Jr., chief of the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry & Biophysics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism "EFAs also have many biological functions, and a lack of them leads to loss of growth and development, infertility, and a host of physiological and biochemical abnormalities." Salem is also the study's corresponding author.
The most important EFAs are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), said J. Thomas Brenna, professor of human nutrition and of chemistry & chemical biology at Cornell University. Particularly two types, Brenna noted: the omega-6 PUFA linoleic acid (LA), also called n-6 fats, and the omega-3 PUFA linolenic acid (ALA), also called n-3 fats. "Most Americans consume adequate amounts of LA in their diets through the use of vegetable oils, but tend to have low intakes of ALA," said Brenna.
"In summary," said Salem, "for those who drink, especially binge drinkers or those who drink more than one drink per day on average: make sure that you obtain your sources of n-3 fatty acids in the diet, that is, eat more fish."