Is fish good for heart health?

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Is fish consumption the reason why the rate of heart disease is so low among the Japanese? In his book The Starch Solution, Dr. John McDougall suggests that it is not fish that is the secret to the longevity and slender bodies of Japanese people eating a traditional Japanese diet, but rather the rice that is the mainstay of their meals. In Japan, McDougall says, “only small amounts of fish are eaten as a condiment atop a bowl of rice.”

Fish are known to be a source of mercury, which is a potentially toxic contamination. And yet, plenty of health organizations, such as the American Heart Association and the British Dietetic Association recommend eating fish for heart health. So is it important to eat fish or better to avoid it for maximum heart health?

Benefits of eating fish

Is fish good for heart health? This question has gained a significant amount of attention in recent times. While there is no doubt that there are some profound benefits, there may also be a handful of potential drawbacks. Let us take an objective look at both sides of the equation to learn more.

Contains Omega 3

It is a well-known fact that fish contains appreciable amounts of Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. These are thought to lower blood serum levels of cholesterol; important for those who wish to control their blood pressure. These very same fatty acids will help to control appetite. This is why search terms such as “tuna fish good for you” and “sardines benefits” have become commonplace. Still, we need to dig a bit deeper to appreciate the big picture.

Omega 3 heart health has been one of the most widely discussed topics in recent times. These types of “good” fatty acids are thought to have a positive effect upon triglyceride levels within the bloodstream. High triglycerides may increase the chances of heart attack, stroke and arterial stenosis (a hardening and narrowing of the arteries).

Benefits of eating fish

Fish Oil And Heart Disease

Is fish oil good for heart health? Both fish and fish oil, which is often recommended as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, are high in protein, fat and cholesterol. They also contain zero carbohydrates or dietary fiber. In these ways, fish is similar to red meat, pork and chicken. And yet, doctors often recommend fish as a better alternative to meat and chicken.

Despite this, opinions are divided. Some say it is good and others say it is not. In 2006, the British Medical Journal reviewed over 15,000 scientific articles on the health claims of fish and found that “Long chain and shorter chain omega-3 fats do not have a clear effect on total mortality, combined cardiovascular events, or cancer.” That means that after researchers worked with almost 37,000 patients eating fish for greater health, no scientifically valid improvements in longevity, heart health or cancer could be identified.

How much fish is too much?

Still, eating too much fish might lead to undesirable results. Some types of fish contain appreciable amounts of mercury. These include:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Gemfish
  • Orange roughy
  • Southern bluefin tuna


Over time, mercury can cause issues including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, memory issues, numbness, and tremors in the limbs. We should still note that a great deal would need to be consumed over a relatively long period of time before such conditions develop.

Eating too much fish

Disadvantages Of Eating A Lot Of Fish

Like beef and pork, fish raises cholesterol levels. Additionally, there are studies that show that people taking fish oil supplements or eating enough fish to raise the mercury levels in their bodies, were actually at greater risk for heart disease, due to the mercury levels.

Another downside of fish is what they are fed before they feed you. In order to cut expenses, farmed fish are often fed cheap oils like palm oil or linseed oil. When you eat the fish that were raised on cheap oils, you could be eating fats that are the worst in terms of heart health.

Bottom line? The advice to switch from meat and chicken to fish in order to prevent heart disease is not scientifically sound. To learn more, read the chapter called “Confessions of a Fish Killer” in McDougall’s The Starch Solution.

Best fish for heart health

What cannot be denied are the benefits of fish over other foods. With this in mind, it is important to appreciate the different types of fish that can be eaten if you want to have a positive impact on your cardiovascular system.

Tuna

Is tuna fish good for you? The simple answer is yes, and for some logical reasons. Tuna is extremely low in fat (particularly when immersed within water). It can help to improve blood pressure, boost circulation and augment your immune system.

Salmon

Salmon contains high amounts of omega fatty acids. Also, salmon is good for weight loss due to its appealing taste as well as the variety of ways in which it can be prepared.

Salmon good for weight loss

Sardines

Sardines’ benefits once again involve their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. There are still some additional advantages to mention. Sardines are extremely high in calcium and they are rich sources of vitamin B12 (a nutrient with potent antioxidant properties). Furthermore, sardines are a viable source of calcium. This is important for women as well as anyone who may be at a relatively high risk of developing osteoporosis.

Whitefish

Whitefish can help to fight inflammation due to high levels of vitamin B6. It is also relatively low in LDL cholesterol (the type of cholesterol that can have a negative impact upon heart health). The healthiest white fish is normally steamed or cooked within an air fryer, as these methods will help to reduce any levels of excess fat that might otherwise accumulate.

Include fish for weight loss with your Spatz

Is fish good for weight loss? When eaten in moderation, the answer seems to be yes. Having said this, the potential cardiovascular benefits are just as impressive. Fish is also high in protein, light on the stomach and very tasty. It can be prepared in a number of ways and it should therefore represent a portion of any well-balanced diet.

Many individuals who have been fitted with the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon have already incorporated fish into their daily regimens. Not only is fish good for heart health, but it could very well help you to attain your fitness goals. Simply stated, there is nothing “fishy” about fish.

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