You may have heard multiple times already about how healthy it is to eat fish, but, at the same time, you may have also heard the stories about contaminated fish and how dangerous it is for your health. Currently, the dietary guidelines offered by the American Heart Association refer to two servings per week.
However, there are debates on whether this is enough to enjoy the health benefits provided by the lean fish meat, or you should go for more.
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids
The most important benefits for your health that come from the consumption of fish derive from the content of omega-3 fatty acids. These are great for your heart and your brain, and they can help you live a longer, healthier life.
How do these fatty acids work, and what do they do exactly? To get deeper into this aspect, here are some of the things for which they were discovered to work wonders. For instance, they improve cardiovascular health as they regulate blood clotting, as well as the constriction of your blood vessels.
When consumed by pregnant women, these fatty acids also help with the neurological development of the embryo and later of the newborn. Also, they can reduce tissue inflammation and decrease the manifestations of arthritis.
Some studies even show that the regular consumption of fish can have a positive impact on irregular heartbeat, but also on depression symptoms. Seniors can postpone the effects of aging on their brains by eating fish every week, as recommended by the dietary guidelines mentioned earlier.
Can you eat fish more often?
Now that you know what the dietary guidelines are, you must be wondering whether you should limit yourself to two servings every week, or eat more so that you can enjoy the benefits more, as well. Some people are perfectly fine with eating fish every day of the week, as the populations living in fishing villages can easily demonstrate.
However, what you should bear in mind is that while it’s not forbidden to eat fish daily, you cannot know if you will be healthier than someone who eats only two servings per week. For now, all that is known is that people who follow such guidelines have a decreased chance of suffering a fatal heart attack compared to those who don’t eat fish at all.
But are all fish safe to eat?
The number one reason why some people are against eating fish is related to the fact that such meat can be contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals. Just as eating clean fish can have essential health benefits, eating contaminated fish can make you severely ill.
Such fish can increase the chance of developing cancer and diseases that are related to brain degeneration. Fish that live in polluted waters are not healthy for human consumption, so if you want to make sure you stay clear of such problems, you should avoid having fish with a longer lifespan as they are the most likely to absorb the harmful chemicals from the water.
Even if today, scientists use only the top models of any lab equipment for testing water quality as well as the foods that are sent to grocery store shelves for human consumption, you can never be too careful.
For that reason, the recommendation to have fish only twice weekly makes even more sense. If by accident, your body is exposed to contaminated fish meat, it will be in small quantities, and you won’t suffer the same effects as someone that consumes fish every day.
Always be aware of fish you shouldn’t eat
Luckily for us all, scientists have identified the species that are most likely to be unsuitable for human consumption. For instance, eating raw eel in sushi is a bad idea, because this fish is known for the high levels of mercury its meat contains.
Another example that you might find shocking is the sturgeon beluga caviar. While it is pricey luxury food, it is also dangerous for your health since the fish making it live in polluted waters. Opting for caviar obtained from aquacultures that keep the fish away from toxic waters is the right solution to this issue.
As a general rule, opt for fish such as Alaskan salmon, herring, and mackerel. The list is much longer than this, so the good news is that you can have plenty of healthy fish to choose from.