Tips For Buying the Safest Fish to Eat

Eating healthy fish on a regular basis can have a wonderful benefits to your overall health. Many types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for brain development and dramatically lowering the risk of heart disease. But where you get your fish from can make a big difference on your health, as not all fish are created equal. Those that are farm-raised tend to have a much higher level of contaminants and toxins, which can have adverse effects on your health. Making an informed decision on the type of fish you buy is very important. The following are some tips to buying and eating safer seafood:

1 – Find Out Where the Fish Comes From

Whether you are purchasing your fish from a supermarket counter or from a specialty seafood shop down the street, asking some key questions can help you find out where exactly the fish came from, which will inevitably have an impact on your decision to buy it or leave it. Questions to ask include who caught the fish, where it was imported from, and how far it traveled to get to the store. Considering the fact that there really are no standards in place to help you make these decisions, you need to do a little investigating yourself by being inquisitive.

2 – Choose Wild-Caught Fish Over Farm-Raised

Wild fish are by far a better choice for healthier fish. Those that were caught in the wild have much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, lower levels of antibiotics, and are lower in fat. Depending on the exact body of water where the fish resided, these wild fish may even have lower levels of toxins and contaminants. Researchers in the past have found that many farm-raised fish have much higher levels of PCBs than wild fish. The only way to know for sure if it’s wild-caught is to ask.

3 – Buy Fish That’s Low in Mercury and Other Contaminants

No amount of mercury is safe for consumption, so your best bet is to try to avoid it altogether. Mercury infests fish from industrial pollution, which inevitably runs off into the water, and over time, builds up in fish. Fish that generally have much lower levels of mercury include those that are smaller, younger, are low in fat, and are not bottom feeders. These include breeds like salmon, herring, mackerel, clams and sardines. Fish that have been found to have high levels of mercury include breeds like swordfish, shark, tuna and orange roughy. These types of fish have also shown to have higher levels of dioxins and PCBs, which are also dangerous, especially when consumed in high doses. If you are buying canned fish, keep an eye out for “light” versus “white” fish. Light fish tends to have lower levels of mercury than white.

4 – Limit Your Shrimp Intake

Shrimp are one of those ‘bottom feeders’ mentioned above. Shrimp, above all other types of seafood, have shown to have the highest levels of chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, PCBs and even cockroaches. These filthy little critters are actually the most popular type of seafood in the American diet, making it even more important to get the message out there that limiting or avoiding these bottom-feeding fish altogether is essential for good health.

5 – Pay Attention to Canned Fish Packaging

If you’re buying canned tuna or salmon, pay attention to the cans very carefully. BPA – or Bisphenol-A – is a dangerous chemical that is often used in the linings of aluminum food cans, such as those used for canned seafood. This chemical has been linked to precancerous lesions, abnormal cell development, and even obesity. Many brands have been making the switch to BPA-free cans, so it’s important to check the label for this feature. In addition, some brands sell wild Alaskan salmon and light tuna in BPA-free pouches, though these are sometimes harder to find.

6 – Prepare Your Fish the Healthy Way

How you prepare and cook your fish will also make a world of difference in how healthy and safe it is to eat. When prepping the fish before cooking it, make sure to trim off all the fat, skin and dark meat that tends to accumulate along the top of the fish fillet. Avoid fish dishes that come with the whole fish, with all its organs still intact. And furthermore, make sure that you are broiling or baking your fish, instead of frying it, to reduce any trans fats.

Like anything else, it’s important to be as informed as possible with the foods you buy. Reading labels, asking questions and using healthy cooking methods can go a long way to improving your health and minimizing consuming any hazardous contaminants, particularly with fish.

 

It’s Not Just the Type of Fish You Eat: How You Cook it Matters Too

We all got the memo – including fish in your diet regimen has a number of health benefits. It’s a well-known fact that the omega-3 fatty acids found in healthy fish like salmon and mackerel have plenty of benefits to your overall well-being, such as reducing heart disease and decreasing inflammation. But there is mounting evidence to suggest that not only is the type of fish that you eat important, but the way the fish is prepared is equally as significant.

Researchers have been conducting studies over the past few years showing the influence of the preparation and cooking method used to prepare fish dishes on one’s health. Scientists and doctors have suggested that broiling or baking the fish is the best way to prepare fish for heart health. On the other hand, frying fish actually has the opposite effect on a person’s health. Studies have linked fried seafood to heart failure and other adverse health conditions.

Over the decades, studies that have been conducted have continuously linked the fatty acids, EPA, DHA and ALA found in fish to decreased levels of heart disease, high blood pressure, and oxidative stress. According to experts, not all fish are created equal. Darker fish breeds – also referred to as “oily” or “blue” fish – had far greater health benefits than white fish with like cod, snapper and sole. Consuming a diet rich in dark fish, such as salmon, mackerel and bluefish, can improves one’s overall health and longevity.

How the fish is prepared is also extremely important. Frying fish not only kills many of the nutrients that are closely related to reducing health issues like heart disease and high blood pressure, but it also adds certain things to the cooking process that are potentially harmful. The trans fatty acid content of the fish is dramatically increased when it is fried, which has been linked to a higher risk of developing heart disease.

In a recent study, about 85,000 premenopausal women were tracked for about 10 years.The differences in longevity and heart disease between those who consumed regular servings of baked or broiled fish, versus those who ate manly fried fish, were looked closely at. After about a decade, the women who ate baked or broiled fish about 5 times per week had a 30% lower risk of developing heart disease, as compared to those who only ate one. In addition, participants of the study who fried their fish had a 48% higher chance of heart failure, even if only consuming one serving per week.

Scientists have concluded that preparing fish by baking or broiling, and eating it frequently throughout the week, can be highly beneficial in a number of areas of one’s health. In the case of the premenopausal women, regular consumption of baked or broiled fish had a significant effect on reducing heart disease. The suggestion here is that many types of fish are fantastic sources of lean protein that contribute to overall health. Everyone should be increasing proportions of these types of protein, and limiting other more harmful sources that contain higher levels of saturated and trans fats.

These studies are fairly consistent with others done in other parts of the world. Yet this newer study adds some interesting facts on consuming darker breeds of fish as opposed to just white fish. This study was able to find that baked or broiled fish preparation is associated with lower risk of heart failure through other mechanisms aside from lowering the risk of a heart attack, which is generally the precursor to people who suffer from heart failure.

Considering the enormity of the issue of heart disease, it’s essential that the findings of such studies are relayed to the general public through continued education and information from health care physicians. In the U.S., approximately 5.7 million people are affected in some way by heart failure. Even if the patient has a functioning heart, it may not necessarily be able to pump blood to the rest of the body properly.

Making significant lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, being physically active, taking certain medications, maintaining a healthy body weight and eating healthy sources of foods like dark fish, can have positive effects on a person’s health and longevity.

Remember – the way you prepare your food has just as much of an influence on your health as the food itself.

7 Surprising Ways Fish Oil Improves Your Health

Some of the health benefits of fish oil are no secret – it’s well-known that is helps to reduce inflammation and aid in digestion. But there are plenty of other health benefits that are much less known, and may even be surprising. The following are 7 other amazing ways that fish oil improves your overall health and well-being:

1 – Decrease Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Studies have been done in the recent past showing the significant reduction in the symptoms experienced for those with osteoarthritis. The University of Bristol researched the effects that feeding omega-3-rich diets to guinea pigs has. Although guinea pigs are naturally prone to developing osteoarthritis, after consuming this omega-3-rich diet, the guinea pigs were half as likely to develop the disease or any symptoms of it, compared to those that consumed a regular diet. If you’ve got any sort of joint pain or discomfort, taking fish oil every day can significantly reduce your symptoms.

2 – Protect Yourself From Pollution

We all know the negative health issues that being exposed to harmful pollution can have. But who knew that simply taking fish oil every day could actually protect you from these environmental pollutants? Studies have shown that those who take fish oil on a daily basis showed significantly less negative effects on the heart and overall wellness than those who didn’t, despite both groups being exposed to the same unclean air. Particularly if you are a city dweller, taking fish oil daily can protect you from negative cardiac and lipid effects of pollution.

3 – Maintain Lean Muscle Tissue

Preserving muscle mass is important for overall health and longevity. Muscle is metabolically active, which means it is constantly burning fat and calories, even while at rest. Studies have found that preserving muscle tissue is much more effective when people take a fish oil supplement on a daily basis. For example, a study conducted on cancer patients – who generally lose a lot of muscle issue when going through sessions of chemotherapy – showed that those who consumed fish oil were able to maintain their weight, while those who didn’t take this supplement lost an average of 2.3 kilograms.

4 – Strengthen Brain Power

Fish oil has been found to be extremely helpful in maintaining and boosting brain power and memory. There appears to be a distinct association between fish oil consumption and memory power. Those who
consume more fish oil experience less brain shrinkage and better cognitive functioning. Without fish oil in your diet, your brain can age quicker, and the risk of losing thinking abilities is higher.

5 – Increase Fat Burning

Fish oil supplements combined with exercise has been shown to be a powerful combination for efficient fat burning. Studies conducted at the University of South Australia put two overweight groups on an exercise regimen. One group was also given fish oil supplements, while the other was not. The group who consumed fish oil coupled with exercise experienced a significantly higher amount of fat loss, especially in the abdominal area. Taking fish oil supplements that contain both DHA and EPA – which are important for reducing insulin sensitivity and inflammation – can help reduce the chances of obesity.

6 – Improve Bone Strength

As a person ages, their bone density tends to decrease. Fish oil has been shown to offset this effect by keeping the bone mineral content high. Studies conducted in the past have shown that those who consume fish oil on a regular basis for bone health – in addition to calcium, vitamin D and magnesium – showed higher levels of this bone mineral content. It’s clear that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are
essential to maintaining healthy bone density and strength.

7 – Reduce Signs of Aging

Telomere shortening causes aging due to its effect on inhibiting stem cell function and cellular regeneration. Researchers have found that an increase of fish oil in the diet can actually slow down this telomere shortening, which essentially slows down the aging process.

Boosting your omega-3 intake through fish oil supplements clearly has a plethora of health benefits. Simply adding this rich supplement to your daily diet regimen can have incredible effects on your overall health and wellbeing.

6 of the Healthiest Fish to Eat and Why

People are becoming more health-conscious these days, and it’s no wonder – unless you’ve been taking a vow of silence in the hills of Tibet for the last couple of decades, you’ll no doubt have been bombarded with all the news about what you should and shouldn’t eat, and how important exercise is for your overall health and well-being. Out of all the myriads of foods you should be including in your diet for good health, fish is most definitely one of them.

One of the greatest benefits that fish can provide for you and your body is the abundance of omega-3 fatty acids that many of them contain, like salmon, tuna and sardines. This fatty acid is also crucial for brain health and development, particularly for young children who are still going through their developmental phase. Fish is genially considered one of those foods that is necessary for sustainability. Read on to discover 6 of the most important types of fish that you should incorporate into your diet.

1 – Albacore Tuna

The key to healthy albacore tuna – which is commonly the type you’ll find canned – is that it’s classified as
either “troll-or-pole”. What this means is that when they these fish are much younger and smaller when caught, they’ve had a lot less time to accumulate mercury, which has been associated with a myriad of health issues. These fish have a lower mercury and toxin level than others captured in colder northern waters, and also have a higher omega-3 level. Make sure you know how your fish is caught, and where it was captured from.

2 – Salmon

This type of fish is the best breed for an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. However, not all salmon is created equal. By far, the best type of salmon you can eat is the wild-caught breed from Alaska. Rather than consuming fish-farm salmon, wild-caught salmon has not been exposed to antibiotics and other drugs that can compromise the health of the fish, and those who consume it. Alaska’s salmon fishery is so well-maintained and governed that biologists are required to post how many wild salmon have returned to sea. This means that the fish are caught when they are much healthier and are at their omega-3 peak. These salmon from Alaska fisheries are just about the most sustainable type of fish in the world.

3 – Oysters

These little critters are not just considered a delicacy in many parts of the world and at a variety of restaurants, but they are also very high in omega-3′s and iron. Better yet, oysters are actually good for the environment – they feed off of the nutrients and algae in the water in which they spawn, improving the water quality. Not only that, but they behave like natural reefs, which provide food for other fish. Just be careful of the raw shellfish that are caught from warm waters, which tend to be high in bacteria.

4 – Sardines from the Pacific

Sardines are not just highly-salted creatures that are used to spice up a number of dishes. They are actually packed with omega-3 fatty acids and have been making it onto a number of superfood lists. In fact, about 1,950 mg of omega-3′s are contained within a serving – that’s more than a 3-ounce serving of salmon! Not only that, but you’ll get a big dose of natural vitamin D from this little fish.

5 – Rainbow Trout

Thankfully, almost all the trout that you will find at your supermarket is farmed rainbow trout, which means it has been exposed to far less contaminants and toxins than lake trout. These type of trout are farmed mainly in freshwater ponds in the U.S., which feeds them a healthy fishmeal diet and protects them from contaminants.

6 – Freshwater Coho SalmonĀ 

This type of salmon is actually the first – and only – type of farmed salmon that is approved in certain states and gets a ‘Super Green’ rating. Other farmed salmon still gets the thumbs down due to the high level of mercury and other contaminants, and are actually on the “avoid” list. No antibiotics are used to treat these farmed freshwater coho salmon, making these one of the fish you can safely consume while reaping the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

When shopping for fish to load up on their health benefits, make sure to pay close attention to where the fish were caught, and if they have been overly exposed to mercury and other contaminants that can compromise your health.

Keep Your Heart Healthy By Eating Fish Regularly

Our world is being increasingly filled with health issues and threats that are affecting our quality of life. Of these significant medical concerns is heart disease – about 600,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, which are staggering figures. On a positive note, there are plenty of lifestyle changes that can be made to lessen the degree of heart disease, including increasing your intake of healthy fish on a regular basis.

In fact, eating two servings of healthy fish per week can cut your risk of heart disease by at least a third.

Although not a new finding, doctors and other health care practitioners continue to get the word out there of the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in the fight against heart disease and other health-related issues. The American Heart Association has known for decades of the incredible benefits that omega-3′s have on one’s health, which are found in abundance in many types of fish.

Why Fish Rich in Omega-3′s Are Good For the Heart

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that has been shown to lower inflammation in the body. Since inflammation damages blood vessels which can lead to heart disease, decreasing such inflammation can have a positive affect on one’s health.

Omega-3′s found in many types of fish can lower blood pressure, decrease triglycerides, minimize blood clotting and boost immunity, which can all lead to a much lower chance of heart disease and other conditions. In particular, sudden cardiac death appears to be a heart disease-related occurrence that is influenced the most.

Types of Fish to Focus On For the Greatest Heart Benefits

Not all fish contain the same level of omega-3 fatty acids. The fish in highest abundance of this heart-healthy fatty acid includes salmon, herring and tuna. Although these types of fish provide the greatest levels of this ingredient, many other types of seafood also contain it to some extent. Fatty saltwater fish tends to have higher levels, while most freshwater fish contains less.

But not all fish is as heart healthy as salmon and herring. Certain fish simply contain high levels of unhealthy fatty acids, and are best avoided. Such fish includes tilapia and catfish. Other fish that are produced on farms are also considered to be unhealthy as well due to the higher incidence of pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals added to the fish, which can have harmful effects on one’s health. Wild-caught fish is definitely the healthiest type of fish to eat.

In addition to the type of fish being consumed, the way the fish is prepared and cooked also makes a huge difference on their health. For example, though salmon has among the highest amounts of omega-3′s, if it is fried, it can actually have the reverse effect on one’s health simply because frying in oil is considered a heart health risk. Instead, broil or bake the fish so that all the nutrients within the fish are kept intact without adding carcinogenic fried oils into the mix.

In order to reap the greatest benefits of omega-3′s contained in fish, it is recommended that at least one or two servings of fish be consumed every week. One serving size is approximately 3 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards.

What About Mercury Content in Fish?

Some people may be hesitant to fill their diet with omega-3-rich fish due to concerns over mercury content. However, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on the body far outweigh any risks that small traces of mercury can have. In addition to mercury, people may also be concerned about other toxins, including dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These toxins really depend on where the fish was caught, as well as the type of fish being consumed.

Larger fish breeds tend to have more mercury in their bodies than smaller fish. Basically, the higher up the fish is on the food chain, the higher the tendency for them to contain more mercury and other toxins. In addition, the longer the fish lives, the more mercury they potentially can accumulate.

To counter this, pay special attention to the kind of fish you buy, how much of it you consume, and state advisories regarding the toxin levels in certain types of fish.

At the end of the day, omega-3 fatty acids have a tremendous effect on heart health. Consuming them in recommended amounts on a weekly basis – from healthy and safe fish sources – can make a significant difference in your heart health and overall wellness.