While I have been a strict vegetarian, and even a vegan at times, I am currently a pescetarian and can’t deny that I love seafood. Fortunately, I’ve been reading about numerous studies lately that have shown fish can be very beneficial to one’s diet.
Fish tends to be full of omega 3‘s, healthy fats that are good for the heart. While you might associate fat as being bad, a little of the good kind is in fact essential for life. Omega 3’s are said to decrease the risk of heart attacks and heart disease, as well as promote healthy brain function. Along with my regular exercise regiment, it looks like my heart should be set and my brain should be sharp to help keep me working my way through school (knock on wood)!
If you happen to be a vegetarian, there are other ways to obtain omega 3’s, such as consuming certain nuts (walnuts and flax seeds are good sources). However, omega 3’s aren’t something the human body can produce on its own, making fish a good source of these essential fatty acids.
According to webMD omega 3’s help to boost immune function as well as decrease the risk of ADHD, a disorder that too many kids are being prescribed drugs for these days. The omega 3’s in fish have also been shown to help protect vision and decrease risk of dementia.
Aside from the omega 3’s, fish is also loaded with protein, helping to build and secure strong muscles. Taking a look at my favorite fish, salmon, an 8 oz portion has approximately 45 grams of protein. Thats about 90% of your daily needs! Salmon is also loaded with vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, and magnesium.
However, when buying salmon or any other fish, opt for wild. Not only do wild fish tend to be higher in omega 3’s, but there are also a whole slew of ethical reasons on why to go wild. Farm raised fish are also typically fed antibiotics, which along with other toxins such as PCBs and pesticides, are then transferred to the consumer. Colored dye is also used in farm raised salmon to make it appear more appealing, so go natural and choose wild.
Many researchers currently recommend consuming fish 2-3 times per week. However, make sure to limit consumption of fish that contain high amounts of mercury, such as tuna. Mercury can cause long term damage to the kidneys, nervous system, digestive system, and various other parts of the body. Check out this site to learn about which varieties of fish contain high amounts and which contain low amounts of mercury. Luckily, salmon’s on the low-level list!
Also, check out this site, which provides a list of fish that aren’t over-fished and are believed to be within sustainable and acceptable fishing levels.
If you’re looking for an easy protein, omega-3 boosted meal, pick up a piece of fish, turn on the oven, and bake away. Fish can be so easy to make, by simply lightly coating it with olive oil, S&P, and baking until tender. Squeeze on a little lemon, and there you go- Simple, delicious, and healthy!