There are numerous health benefits of eating fish. That’s why a massive amount of the world’s population eats fish. As per The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2018, about 88 percent of the 179 million tonnes of total fish production was utilized for direct human consumption. In 2018, live, fresh or chilled fish still represented the largest share of fish used for direct human consumption (44 percent). It is important for a healthy diet in many areas across the globe.
Fish and fish products are recognized as one of the healthiest foods on the planet and the least impactful on the natural environment. Fish provided about 3.3 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein. In 2017, fish accounted for about 17 percent of total animal protein and 7 percent of all proteins consumed globally.
Top Fish producers
Top fish producer countries are China, Indonesia, Peru, India, The Russian Federation, The United States of America, and Vietnam. These countries alone account for about 50 percent of total global fish production.
Nutrients in fish – Benefits of Eating Fish
Fish is one of the healthiest foods readily available to us. It has many essential nutrients, like protein, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium etc. It is also a huge source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are important for our body and brain.
A healthy, balanced diet must include at least 2 portions of fish a week, and 1 portion should be oily fish. Fish and shellfish are crucial sources of vitamins and minerals. Oily fish like salmon and sardines are exceptionally high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for cardiovascular health. Therefore, we should have more fish (especially oily) in our diet. Steamed, baked, or grilled fish is healthier than fried fish. Fried fish have a higher content of fat. It provides us with a glimpse of the benefits of eating fish.
Types of Fish
There are different types of fish and shellfish. They provide different nutrients for our bodies and mind.
Oily Fish – benefits of eating fish
There are many options available for our diet if we look for Oily fish.
- Herring (Hilsa is a type of herring)
Neither fresh nor canned tuna can be considered oily fish.
Oily fish are generally high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for our heart and coronary functions. Fish provides a good amount of vitamin D. Examples of oily fish are whitebait, canned sardines, pilchards and tinned salmon. These fish can help our bones be strong as they are excellent sources of calcium and phosphorus.
Whitefish – benefits of eating fish
White fish is low in fat. It makes them one of the healthier, low-fat alternatives to red or processed meat (high in saturated fat). Cod, haddock, plaice, pollock, coley, dab, flounder, red mullet, gurnard and tilapia are all examples of white fish. Some species of white fish could be a source of omega-3 fatty acids, e.g., sea bass, sea bream, turbot, and halibut. But they contain fewer omega-3 fatty acids than oily fish.
Shellfish – benefits of eating fish
Shellfish are low in fat but are a good source of selenium, zinc, iodine and copper. Examples of shellfish would be prawns, mussels, scallops, squid and langoustine. Some shellfish like mussels, oysters, squid and crab are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids but again, like white fish. They do not contain omega-3 fatty acids as much as oily fish.
Top 15 health benefits of eating fish every day
1. Benefits of eating fish: High in essential nutrients
Fish includes many nutrients such as high-quality protein, iodine, calcium, zinc and various vitamins and minerals.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the healthiest nutrients present in fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and mackerel and are higher in fat-based nutrients.
Many people lack vitamin D. Fish is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamin D.
For optimal body and brain function, fatty fish boast omega-3 fatty acids, which are also strongly linked to reducing the risk of many diseases. Experts suggest eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least once or twice a week. Vegan people can get the omega-3 fatty acid supplement from microalgae.
2. Eating fish lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes-benefits of eating fish.
Fish is one of the most heart-healthy foods one can consume. Fish which has Omega-3 fatty acids helps to reduce triglyceride levels. It also increases HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol. Eating fish helps platelet aggregation, preventing the coronary arteries from occluding. Therefore, increasing blood flow to the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease the abnormal rhythm of the heart.
Many surveys suggest that regularly eating fish decreases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease. Keeping your heart healthy is one of the top benefits of eating fish.
3. Eating fish is crucial during development.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in growth and development. Omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is very important for brain and eye development. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Eating fish boosts brain health-benefits of eating fish.
Many studies suggest eating fish slows down the mental decline rate. Brain function declines with age, and it is natural. But eating fish reduces the chance and slows down neurodegenerative ailments like Alzheimer’s. People who eat fish every week have more grey matter which regulates emotion and memory.
5. Eating fish helps to prevent and treat depression- Benefits of Eating Fish
A common mental health condition is depression. Depression causes sadness, less energy, and loss of interest in life and activities. People who eat fish regularly are likely to become more depressed. Omega-3 fatty acids help fight depression and increase the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. As per the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, fish oil helps to improve symptoms of depression when taken with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) (a type of antidepressant). It also helps in bipolar disorder.
6. Fish is a good source of vitamin D – Benefits of Eating Fish
Vitamin D deficiency leads to loss of bone density. As a result, osteoporosis and fractures may develop. In children, Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets. 42% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient. In India, Vitamin D deficiency ranges from 40% to 90%. Fish and fish products are one of the top dietary sources of vitamin D. Fishes like salmon and herring contain the highest amounts of Vitamin D.
A 113-gram serving of cooked salmon provides about 100% of the recommended intake of vitamin D. Fish oils like cod liver oil are very high in vitamin D. A 100-gram serving of canned salmon contains approximately 466 international units of vitamin D, which is more than two-thirds of recommended daily amount. A serving of sardines weighing about 149 grams contains approximately 405 international units of vitamin D.
7. Eating fish benefits by reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases – Benefits of Eating Fish
When our immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissues, it is called Autoimmune disease (type 1 diabetes). Omega-3 fatty acid or fish oil intake reduces the risk of type 1 diabetes in children and autoimmune diabetes in adults.
8. Eating fish benefits in preventing asthma in children – Benefits of Eating Fish
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways. Asthma rates have increased a lot in the past couple of years. Studies suggest that regular fish intake can reduce the risk of asthma in children by 24%. Therefore, eating fish benefits in preventing asthma.
9. Protect vision in old age by eating fish – Benefits of Eating Fish
Along with age comes macular degeneration (AMD) and neovascular AMD. It is a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness that affects older adults. Regularly eating fish lowers these risks by almost 42% to 53%. Omega 3 fatty acids and fish helps in protecting against this disease.
10. Eating Fish may improve sleep quality – Benefits of Eating Fish
Nowadays, sleep disorders are prevalent. Continuous usage of laptops, handheld electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets etc., plays a vital role. Though some believe it is due to the blue light exposure of these devices but accordingly to some, it is due to vitamin D deficiency. Fatty fish containing omega-3-fatty as a result, sleep quality is improved.
11. Eating fish helps to Fight Acne – Benefits of Eating Fish
Acne occurs when facial hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It could be hormonal or adult acne. Eating fish can help to fight against acne. Fish oil is truly beneficial in clearing skin with moderate to severe acne.
12. Regularly eating fish helps in Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis – Benefits of Eating Fish
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation of joints. Eating fish benefits in alleviating the swelling and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
13. Benefits of Eating Fish: Lower Risk of Cancer
Eating fish lowers the risk of cancer. People who consume a high amount of fish have a reduced risk of digestive cancers, such as oral cavity, pharynx, colon, and pancreas.
14. Benefits of eating fish: It Alleviates PMS Symptoms
Eating fish also help with premenstrual symptoms in women. Women who consume fish show less interference of premenstrual symptoms. With increased fish consumption, especially the fatty fish, which contains more omega-3 fatty acid, PMS symptoms reduce heavily.
15. Daily eating fish helps Treat Liver Disease.
Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which treat liver disease. Omega-3 fatty acids break down triglycerides and fatty acids in the liver. Therefore, the risk of fatty liver diseases goes down.
As discussed earlier, fish is an excellent source of high-quality protein and provides heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. It keeps the body lean and muscles strong and maintains organs and blood vessels. Protein also helps in cell division, hair growth, and hormone signalling. Fish also provide iodine, a vital mineral our body can not produce. It is very important for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which significantly impacts our appetite and immune system.
In general, fish is also a good source of nutrients like:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B12
How to Prepare Fish?
Recipes of fish are easy to prepare and are delicious. Hence it is easy to keep fish in your diet plan regularly. Wild-caught fish tends to contain more omega-3 fatty acid than farmed fish. Fishes can be baked, fried, seared, or boiled, and it goes along well with plenty of vegetables and other grains. Always cook fish properly before consuming eat. Like other animals, it can have bacteria or fungus when kept under the wrong conditions. Therefore, make sure the fish is fresh or otherwise correctly frozen.
WHY IS EATING FISH HEALTHY?
Fish is one of the healthiest foods easily available to us. It has many essential nutrients, like protein, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium etc. It is also a huge source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are important for our body and brain.
WHY ARE OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH?
- Omega-3 fatty acid provides several health benefits.
- It helps to maintain cardiovascular health.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for prenatal and postnatal neurological development.
- Omega-3 fatty acid reduces tissue inflammation and reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- It plays a crucial role in cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
- Omega-3 fatty acid reduces depression.
- Omega-3 fatty acid reduces mental decline in older people.
WHICH FISHES ARE HIGH IN Omega-3 fatty acids?
- Wild salmon from Alaska
- Rainbow trout
- Albacore tuna
WHAT ABOUT FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS?
If one cannot eat fish for any reason, they take store-bought supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure to buy capsules made from purified fish oil to avoid contamination.
WHAT ARE OTHER SOURCES OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS?
For the vegetarian population, alternative sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed, walnuts, etc. But remember that these do not provide health benefits like the Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, shellfish, and marine algae.
Fish vs chicken: What should we eat?
Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. This omega-3 fatty acid has numerous health benefits. But fish are low in protein when compared with chicken. Hence, the good idea is to consume both foods in moderation.
- Advice about eating fish. (n.d.). U.S. Food and Drug Administration; FDA. Retrieved August 2, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish
- The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2022. FAO.(2022).