Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet. It is loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D. Fish is also the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain.Here are 11 health benefits of eating fish that are supported by research.
1. Fish is high in important nutrients that most people don’t get enough of
Generally speaking, all types of fish are good for you. Fish is high in many important nutrients, including high-quality protein, iodine and various vitamins and minerals. Fatty types of fish are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
2. Fish may lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes
Eating at least one serving of fish per week has been linked to reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes, two of the world’s biggest killers. Heart attacks and strokes are the two most common causes of premature death in the world. Fish is generally considered to be among the best foods you can eat for a healthy heart.
3. Fish contains nutrients that are crucial during development
Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for growth and development. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential for development of the brain and eyes. It is recommended that expecting and nursing mothers make sure to eat enough omega-3s. Pregnant women should also avoid raw and uncooked fish (including sushi), because it may contain microorganisms that can harm the fetus.
4. Fish may increase grey matter in the brain and protect it from age-related deterioration
One of the consequences of aging is that brain function often deteriorates (referred to as age-related cognitive decline). Fish consumption is linked to reduced decline in brain function in old age. People who eat fish regularly also have more grey matter in the brain centers that control memory and emotion. Studies have shown that people who eat fish every week have more grey matter in the centers of the brain that regulate emotion and memory
5. Fish may help prevent and treat depression, making you a happier person
Depression is a serious and incredibly common mental disorder. Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial against depression, both on their own and when taken with antidepressant medications.Fish and omega-3 fatty acids may also help with other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder.
6. Fish is the only good dietary source of vitamin D
Fatty fish is an excellent source of vitamin D, an important nutrient that over 40 percent of people may be deficient in. Some fish oils, such as cod liver oil, are also very high in vitamin D, providing more than 200 percent of the recommended intake in a single tablespoon.
7. Fish consumption is linked to reduced risk of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes
Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissues. Eating fish has been linked to reduced risk of type 1 diabetes and several other autoimmune diseases. Some believe that fish consumption may also lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, but the current evidence is weak at best.
8. Fish may help prevent asthma in children
Asthma is a common disease that is characterized by chronic inflammation in the airways. Some studies show that children who eat more fish have a lower risk of developing asthma. Studies show that regular fish consumption is linked to a 24 percent lower risk of asthma in children, but no significant effect has been found in adults.
9. Fish may protect your vision in old age
A disease called macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness, and mostly affects older individuals. People who eat more fish have a much lower risk of developing macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness. Another study found that eating fatty fish once per week was linked to a 53 percent decreased risk of neovascular (“wet”) macular degeneration.
10. Fish may improve sleep quality
Sleep disorders have become incredibly common worldwide. There is preliminary evidence that eating fatty fish like salmon may lead to improved sleep. The researchers speculated that this was caused by the vitamin D in the salmon.
11. Fish is delicious and easy to prepare
This last one is not a health benefit, but still very important. It is the fact that fish is delicious and easy to prepare. For this reason, it should be relatively easy to incorporate it into the diet. Eating fish one to two times per week is considered sufficient to reap the benefits. If possible, choose wild-caught fish over farmed. Wild fish tends to have more omega-3s and is less likely to be contaminated with harmful pollutants. That being said, even if eating farmed fish, the benefits still far outweigh the risks. All types of fish are good for you.