If you care about your health, it is undeniably a fantastic idea to stay away from anything oily. But wait — there is always an exemption to the rule. Oily fish is something that should be a part of your everyday diet because there is no questioning that they’re good for you. Want some proof? Experts say that Eskimos had less-than-average heart attack and stroke cases because they mostly eat oily fish.
Compared to white fish, oily types of fish have darker-colored flesh and stronger flavors. Also, just like what the name suggests, the flesh of oily fish is indeed oily — oils in white fish are concentrated in the liver, and that is why the flesh is dry. Some of the most popular examples of oily fish are salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, mackerel and herring. With so many choices, incorporating oily fish in your diet should be trouble-free.
So What Makes Oily Fish Oily?
Oily fish is called that way because of oils present in their flesh rather than in their livers only. The said oils are beneficial ones, and they are referred to as omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t be intimidated just because there’s “fatty” in the name. The truth is omega-3 fatty acids are healthy. Numerous studies have linked them to a host of benefits, from memory enhancement, prevention of certain cancer types to the reduction in heart disease risk.
Thanks to the loads of omega-3 fatty acids present, the regular consumption of oily fish helps you stay in the pink of health, and even reverse some problems that can endanger your life. The following are some of the most notable health benefits that oily fish is known to offer:
- Reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the joints as they keep the cartilage in between bones from being damaged. Also, those healthy fats help ward off inflammation. It’s because of such reasons why the consumption of oily fish is good for preventing rheumatoid arthritis. It is also something that should be eaten regularly by rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
- Prevention of birth defects. Doctors recommend pregnant women to consume good amounts of oily fish and others that contain omega-3 fatty acids in order to ward off birth problems. Omega-3 fatty acids are also vital for the growing fetus’ proper brain and nerve development.
- Maintenance of sharp vision. Numerous studies revealed that elderly people whose diets are rich in omega-3 fatty acids had lower risk of vision loss. If you want your vision to remain sharp several years from now, it is a good idea for you to go for a diet that regularly contains servings of oily fish.
- Lowered risk of certain types of cancer. Experts say that omega-3 fatty acids are capable of inhibiting the growth of malignant cells without any effect on normal and healthy cells. That’s why a diet rich in oily fish may help lower your risk of suffering from certain cancer types, such as those of the skin, oral cavity and prostate.
- Reduced dementia risk. Dementia is a decline in mental functioning, and it’s something that alcoholics are at high risk of. Based on studies, omega-3 fatty acids helped reduce death of alcohol-exposed brain cells by as much as 95 percent. However, experts say that further research has to be done if omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish are just as beneficial for the elderly in keeping dementia at bay.
- Prevention of cardiovascular problems. Perhaps one of the most popular health benefits of oily fish consumption is the reduction of risk of various cardiovascular issues. Numerous studies have proven that omega-3 fatty acids are very good at preventing the arteries from being clogged as well as the blood pressure from soaring. They also shield the heart from the unfavorable effects of chronic stress.
How Much Oily Fish Should I Consume?
Experts say that you should consume no more than 4 portions of oily fish per week. Pregnant women, on the other hand, should stick to 2 portions only. The reason why it’s not a good idea to consume more oily fish than the recommended number of servings? The Food Standards Agency say that oily fish contain dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, both of which can have negative effects on the immune and reproductive systems in large amounts.