Food & Home - - Conscious Eating -

Fish con­sump­tion forms a vi­tal part of many di­etary pat­terns that have been linked to health, like the Mediter­ranean diet, but con­cerns over en­vi­ron­men­tal con­tam­i­nants and the safety of farmed ver­sus wild species may leave one con­fused as to whether it is ad­vis­able to eat fish. Two com­pre­hen­sive re­ports con­cluded that the ben­e­fits of mod­est fish con­sump­tion, es­pe­cially species high in omega-3 fatty acids – specif­i­cally eicos­apen­taenoic acid (EPA) and do­cosa­hex­aenoic acid (DHA) – out­weigh the po­ten­tial risks.

An anal­y­sis of stud­ies on fish and health pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (JAMA) showed that con­sum­ing one to two serv­ings of omega 3rich fish low­ered the risk of coro­nary (heart-re­lated) death by 36% and to­tal mor­tal­ity by 17%, while also pos­si­bly af­fect­ing other clin­i­cal out­comes favourably. When it comes to salmon, this fish is not only high in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in protein, it also con­tains very low lev­els of methylmer­cury, es­pe­cially if one chooses wild-caught species. Methylmer­cury is an en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tant that bioac­cu­mu­lates in fish and, more specif­i­cally, in larger longer-lived preda­tors like sword­fish and sharks. These species should be avoided, es­pe­cially when preg­nant. The amino acid tryp­to­phan – also found in salmon – is a pre­cur­sor of sero­tonin, which can help man­age de­pres­sion. Salmon is also a good source of vi­ta­min D, an es­sen­tial nutri­ent for bone health.

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