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When was the last time you ate fish? Can’t remember?
Well, after reading this article that may change.
Fish is one of the healthiest foods in the world.
It contains many nutrients that are crucial for improving your overall health.
Here are some of the benefits of adding fish to your weekly meal plan.
Source of Vitamin D
Fish is rich in vitamin D, which plays one of the key roles in your body.
It regulates the absorption of calcium and phosporus, and facilitates normal immune system function.
It is also very important for normal growth of yout teeth and bones.
Getting a sufficient amount of this vitamin is very important, and you can get it from different kinds of fish, like salmon or herring, which contain the highest amount of this vitamin.
According to research by Forrest and Stuhldreher , nearly 40% of US population is lacking vitamin D.
Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to various chronic diseases, for example, cardiovascular disease or even cancer.
Balanced intake of vitamin D is therefore crucial.
In comparison, just 100 grams of salmon contains 100% of the recommended intake of this vitamin.
There are also some fish oils that are rich in vitamin D.
That is, for example, cod liver oil.
Just a single tablespoon of this oil provides even more than recommended intake of vitamin D.
This oil has many benefits, such as alleviating symptoms of arthritis, preventing coronary artery disease, healing wounds, and promoting cognitive performance.
Getting vitamin D from eating fish and fish oils is way better than taking it through supplements.
Natural way of providing necessary vitamins is always a better and healthier option.
That’s just one of the reasons why fish should be on your menu, and there are many more.
Lowers Your Risk of Heart Diseases
In contemporary world, we are at risk of heart attacks and strokes more than ever.
Stress and unhealthy eating habits are making it worse.
But did you know that you can do a lot for your health if you eat proper foods?
Fish is one of the foods that can help you lower your risk of heart diseases.
Some studies, like the one by Djousse and team, and Chowdhury and team have shown that people who eat fish on a weekly basis have lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and, of course, death from heart diseases.
Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish are the crucial ingredient in this case.
But that is not the only benefit of omega-3.
Research by Morris have found that they are also good in fighting depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders today and it can get worse as you age.
However, their study showed that people who eat fish on a weekly basis have lower risk of becoming depressed and they are literally happier than those who don’t eat fish that often.
It also showed that higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the improvement of your overall mental performance.
Omega-3 fatty acids also help in cholesterol regulation.
That’s why if you have high level of cholesterol, it is recommendable that you eat fish and fish oils as much as you can.
You should see the improvement after 3 weeks.
Fish that contain the biggest amount of omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, tuna, sardines, and halibut.
If you don’t prefer eating any of these fish, here are some good news.
Eating fish only once a week will be just enough to get the best from it.
In other words, your health may improve just because you added fish to your weekly meals.
Rich in Iron
Iron is one of the crucial elements we need in our body.
It is very important for the proper development of human body.
Its’ key role is to metabolize proteins and to produce hemoglobin and red blood cells.
Iron also plays an important role in improving your immune system and making it strong.
It also treats insomnia and regulates your body temperature.
For all these reasons, it’s not hard to understand why we need it in our body.
However, according to the World Health Organisation , nearly 30% of world population today suffers from anemia.
That means they don’t have enough iron in their body.
Besides anemia, deficiency of iron may cause cough and pre-dialysis anemia.
The good news is we can improve our health and the amount of iron by eating foods that are rich in it, such as fish.
Seafood is one of the most iron rich foods.
Try oysters, mussels, or tuna, salmon, sardines…the choice is yours.
You can mix it up with other foods that are rich in iron, such as beans, tofu or lentils, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, cereals or turnip.
Fish is also a great option if you’re on a diet, because it’s low-calorie food.
On the other side, it contains high amount of protein, which is good in building your muscles naturally.
Besides that, even so-called “fatty” fish contains low amount of fat.
That is why you can keep your weight in control or even lose some weight by adding it to your diet plan.
It’s also important to mention that the fat from “fatty” fish is actually a healthy kind of fat and it’s good for your body.
It helps you absorb vitamins, it can improve your brain health, as well as health of your hair, skin and nails.
Although the term “fatty fish” might sound bad, it’s not like that at all.
It’s the healthiest and most delicious fish you can eat.
Salmon, tuna, sardines, or mackerel are rich in omega-3s, which are, as you already know, “good fat”, completely different from the bad saturated fat.
Lacking these fats may cause problems with your overall health.
Your body can’t live without it, so try to change your habits and eat more fish, because it’s the best source of these crucial elements.
Rich in Vitamin B12
The main role of vitamin B12 is to produce our DNA and red blood cells.
It also does wonders for normal functioning of our nerve cells.
That’s why we need it in our body. There are also many other benefits of this vitamin.
For example, it converts carbohydrates into glucose in the body, which means the production of energy.
It also helps in nervous system regulation, as well as depression and stress reduction.
Vitamin B12 also helps in regulating your digestive system.
Similar to omega-3 fatty acids and iron, it protects you from heart diseases and it regulates your cholesterol level.
It is also helpful in reducing the risk of cancer and it improves health of your skin, hair and nails.
If you don’t get enough of this vitamin, you can suffer from some serious health problems.
Deficiency of this vitamin is often reported with symptoms of fatigue.
Lack of this vitamin also leads to, for example, depression, loss of memory, nerve problems, or even vision loss.
Of course, there are natural ways to avoid these problems.
One of the richest natural sources of vitamin B12 is fish and shellfish.
This vitamin is found in oysters, tuna, mussels, sardines, herring and salmon.
By eating some of these once a week, you can do a lot for your health.
Combination of fish and fish oils can also help you in reducing cholesterol.
It’s important to mention that pregnant and breast-feeding women, elderly people and vegetarians need more of this vitamin.
That’s why it’s recommendable they eat more fish and other seafood.
Although fish is the best and the richest source of this vitamin, there are also other sources.
You can find it in meat, eggs, tofu, or you can take it through various supplements.
Reduces Risk of Autoimmune Diseases
According to some studies, like the one by Stene and team, omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish and fish oils, like code liver oil, can reduce risk of type 1 diabetes in children.
It can also reduce risk of autoimmune disease in adults.
But what is autoimmune disease?
It occurs if your immune systems attacks and destroys healthy body tissues.
For example, in type 1 diabetes, the person’s own immune system is attacking insulin-producing cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Once those cells are destroyed, they won’t ever make insulin again.
Once a person has type 1 diabetes, it does not go away and requires lifelong treatment.
People with type 1 diabetes depend on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to control their blood glucose levels.
Consuming fish and fish oils in larger amounts is highly recommended for people with autoimmune diseases.
Although the results that show benefits of fish in reducing risk of autoimmune diseases are preliminary, there are some serious evidence that link omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D with these results.
How to Prepare Fish?
Now that you’ve read all these benefits of eating fish, you may consider adding it to your weekly meals.
But the question is, what’s the best way to prepare it?
Here are some ideas that may help you in preparing this delicious food.
First of all, it’s better to choose wild fish over farmed, because it contains higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
There are also several ways to prepare it.
Baked or broiled fish are the most popular ways of preparation, and it’s easy too.
Baking or broiling your fish may lower the risk of heart attack, while frying it may increase that risk.
Also, all healthy benefits of fish will vanish if you deep-fry them in a vat of vegetable oil.
That’s why it’s better to avoid frying it, although you can try in now and then.
When preparing your fish, be creative!
Pouring some lemon juice on baked fish is one of the most delicious tricks and that way you will add real Mediterranean “touch” to it.
You can add some baked potatoes, too.
Another easy and tasty recipe is a tuna sandwich.
Add low-fat mayo and/or pickles and eat it with whole grain bread.
Tuna salad with the same ingredients is also a good choice.
If you don’t have much time for preparing food, here’s a tip for you.
You can microwave salmon and other fish, which will take you only a few minutes. You don’t have to dry out the fish, which is also a plus.
For cooked fish, add a tomato sauce or simply cook it in salted water and add parsley, celery and some pepper.
You can use the water for delicious fish soup as well.
Add some rice and you will get a real, full and healthy meal.
There are so many recipes that are quick and easy, and after reading all these benefits, what are you waiting for?
Start improving your health now!