Health Benefits of Eating Fatty Fish like Salmon and Tuna

To live a healthy life, taking a balanced diet is essential. One of the best food to add daily is fatty fish. These fish are rich in proteins and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids.

Oily fish refers to fish with high omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered beneficial for your health. Examples of oily fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies. These fish typically have a higher fat content than other types of fish.

Let’s take a closer look at each so you can make an informed choice about what you eat daily.

Why is fatty fish good for health?

Oily fish, also known as fatty fish, is considered good for health because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fat known to have several health benefits.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

ALA is found in plant-based foods such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, while EPA and DHA are found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines.

The body can convert a small amount of ALA into EPA and DHA. However, the conversion is not very efficient, so it is recommended to consume EPA and DHA directly from fish or fish oil supplements.

These fatty acids have been shown to have several health benefits, including reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of heart disease, improving brain function, and may benefit mental health and some other conditions. Additionally, oily fish is a good source of protein and other essential nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and minerals like iodine. These health benefits are further explored, and details are given below.

Fatty fish lower your risk for heart disease

Consuming fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it helps to lower LDL and triglycerides, both considered bad cholesterol. LDL and TG increase the risk of developing heart diseases.

Eating fatty fish has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and lower the risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids may help to lower blood pressure and improve the health of blood vessels.

Eating fatty fish at least twice a week or taking a fish oil supplement (with an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids) lowers the heart disease risk.

Oily fish prevent macular degeneration

Eating oily fish may help to lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a condition that affects the retina of the eye. It can lead to vision loss, particularly in older adults.

Studies have shown that people who consume more omega-3 fatty acids from fish have a lower risk of developing AMD. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, particularly DHA, are essential for the health of the retina and may help to reduce inflammation and slow the progression of the disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Inflammation is a normal response of the immune system to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation has been linked to several health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation by modulating the activity of certain inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and eicosanoids. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in various conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Lower blood pressure

Oliy fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower blood pressure in some studies.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Consuming fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of these conditions.

Omega-3 fatty acids may lower blood pressure by reducing inflammation and improving the health of the blood vessels. They may also help to decrease the production of certain hormones that constrict blood vessels, such as angiotensin II.

Omega-3s may lower blood pressure, but it’s not a substitute for hypertension medications prescribed by doctors.

Improves the lipid profile

Fatty fish with high omega-3 fatty acids may help to lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL in the blood.

Omega-3 fatty acids also improve the lipid profile by decreasing the production of certain hormones that promote the production of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. These also increase the activity of enzymes that help remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.

It is important to note that while omega-3 fatty acids may improve the lipid profile, it is not a guaranteed solution and not a replacement for medication.

Omega-3s affect brain development

Omega-3s are essential for brain development and function.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil, is a major structural component of the brain and retina. Studies have shown that a sufficient intake of DHA during pregnancy and lactation may enhance cognitive and visual development in infants.

Omega-3s are beneficial for brain health throughout life. Studies suggest that consuming enough omega-3s may help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. Omega-3s may support brain health by reducing inflammation, improving the function of nerve cells, and increasing the production of certain chemicals in the brain that is involved in learning and memory.

It is important to note that more research is needed to confirm these findings and to understand the exact mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids affect brain development and function. However, including fatty fish in your diet or taking fish oil supplements may benefit brain health.

Types of fatty fish you can add to your diet?

There are several types of fatty fish that you can add to your diet to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Some examples include:

  • Salmon: A popular and versatile fish high in omega-3s and a good source of protein and vitamin D.
  • Tuna: A lean fish that is high in omega-3s and protein.
  • Sardines: Small fish high in omega-3s, calcium, and other essential nutrients.
  • Mackerel: A flavorful fish high in omega-3s and a good source of vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients.
  • Anchovies: Small, oily fish high in omega-3s and a good source of calcium and other essential nutrients.
  • Herring: A small oily fish high in omega-3s, vitamin D and B12, and a good source of protein.
  • Trout: a freshwater fish high in omega-3s and a good source of protein, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients.

It is important to note that many other types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s always good to vary the type of fish you eat and not stick to one kind only.

The Bottom Line

Over the past few years, increased awareness of omega-3 fatty acids was noted. These fatty acids have been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  In addition, there are many other health benefits highlighted in the article.

While this is excellent news, getting enough from your diet is the ideal thing to do, but on the other, it can be challenging and expensive.

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