Research shows that if you eat more fish, you may be able to improve your well-being and prevent certain diseases. The benefits of eating fish may include better sleep and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
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What if there was a food packed with nutrients that can help you ward off disease and thrive in a competitive world?
Fish has the goods to deliver these results, and it can provide the fuel you need to function at your best. The health benefits of eating fish may include reduced risk of heart attacks and more restful sleep.
In this article, we’ll examine a few ways in which fish consumption can improve your well-being. We’ll also offer recommendations on which types of fish offer the most nutritional bang for the buck. Keep reading to learn how this high-quality protein can assist you in leading a healthier and happier life.
Benefit #1: Eating fish may promote heart health
The numbers suggest that cardiovascular disease will likely strike you or someone you know. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this affliction is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
Studies show that regular fish consumption may lower blood pressure and make you less likely to experience heart attacks. One study looked at a sample of 40,000 men in the United States. Researchers concluded that those who ate one or more servings of fish per week were 15% less likely to develop heart disease.
Lower your risk of heart attacks by adding fish to your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week.
Benefit #2: Eating fish may help preserve your eyesight as you age
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of impaired vision in those older than 50. This eye disease blurs the central portion of your range of vision, making it harder for you to see faces. It can also hamper your ability to engage in activities that require sharp eyesight, such as driving. Smokers and those with a family history of this condition are most at risk.
Oily fish is high in two healthy omega-3 fatty acids: docasahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Studies show that consumption of EPA and DHA can significantly reduce your chances of developing AMD.
Keep your vision sharp by consuming a serving of oily fish (such as salmon) at least once a week.
Benefit #3: Eating fish may help you sleep more restfully
We need adequate sleep to perform at our very best. Unfortunately, a good night’s sleep is hard to come by for many Americans.
An estimated 50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. wrestle with a chronic sleep disorder; this includes everything from insomnia to sleep apnea. These disorders can impair daily functioning, and they’ve been shown to increase your risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Some studies link certain sleep disorders with vitamin D deficiency. Certain types of fish are rich in vitamin D, and this may help improve the quality of your sleep.
Salmon contains high levels of vitamin D. In one study, 95 men were placed in two groups; one group was given salmon three times a week, and the other was given other meats. The group that consumed salmon reported better sleep quality and improved daily functioning.
According to the CDC, adults need seven or more hours of sleep each night for optimum health. Consider adding salmon or another fish that’s rich in vitamin D to your diet if you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep.
Benefit #4: Eating fish may reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
The CDC reports that a whopping 23% of American adults have arthritis. Roughly 60% of those who experience this disease are of working age (between 18 and 64 years old). Arthritis can limit their mobility and restrict their ability to work.
Arthritis is caused by inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish work powerfully to tamp down the body’s inflammatory response.
Research shows those who regularly eat fish high in omega-3s are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. For those who already suffer from this condition, marine omega-3 fatty acids may help mitigate joint swelling and pain.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating a 3- to 6-ounce serving of fish two to four times a week to lower inflammation.
Which fish are healthiest to eat?
The best fish to eat are those with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, larger fish that fall within this category – such as swordfish and shark – are also high in mercury.
Mercury accumulates in the body over time, and it can eventually damage the brain and nervous system. It can compromise the health of a developing fetus. For this reason, the Mayo Clinic says pregnant women and those planning to conceive should avoid consuming large, predatory fish.
There are smaller fish with high levels of omega-3s and low levels of mercury, and these are the best ones to regularly include in your diet. The list includes salmon, cod, sardines, freshwater trout and Atlantic mackerel.
Eat more fish to reap the health benefits of omega-3s. Consider supplementing with fish oils if you have difficulty consuming enough of these good fats from dietary sources. Fish oils are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.