Health Benefits Of Eating Seafood

Health benefits of eating seafood: it has been suggested that no other food has a greater influence on health and attacking disease than seafood.

There is one piece of nutritional advice that most experts, worldwide, seem to agree upon - "seafood is good for you".

Cold water, deep-sea fish are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids that help protect against many diseases such as cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease.

Seafood contains a specific type of oil that is made up of long chains of molecules called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help suppress the activity of prostaglandins and leukotrienes which can activate various diseases, including blood clots and joint inflammation. Omega-3s also help protect the immune system. Not only is fish oil an anti-inflammatory agent, it also helps to protect the heart against arrhythmias (irregular heart beats). Arrhythmias are recognised as one of the most common triggers of heart attacks.

What are the major advantages of eating seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3s protect against heart disease:

Studies have shown that people who eat a diet high in fish have reduced rates of heart disease. One British survey studied over two thousand men, all under the age of seventy. All had also suffered one or more heart attacks. The men were divided into four groups. The first group ate a portion of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines at least twice a week, or ate the equivalent amount of fish oil in capsule form. The second group cut down on their consumption of saturated fats including, butter, cheese, cream. They substituted polyunsaturated fats such as margarine. The third group increased their fibre intake, but did not adjust their normal fat intake. The fourth group did not alter their diet at all. After two years, the group eating the fatty fish diet had 29% fewer deaths from heart attack. By eating no more than 300g of oily fish per week, the men in the first group had reduced their chances of dying from a heart attack by approximately one third.

Omega-3s can help prevent the spread of some cancers:

Tests have shown that eating more oily fish and/or taking fish oil capsules may help prevent the spread of some cancers, in particular, breast cancer. This is partly explained by the fact that fish oil boosts the immune system. This, in turn, helps destroy cancer cells that may not have been removed by surgery. Omega-3s also help curb metastasis.

Omega-3s help relieve inflammatory diseases:

Studies of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have shown that eating a daily portion of 200g of salmon can dramatically reduce symptoms of inflammation, tenderness and swollen joints.

Omega-3s can improve the skin condition of psoriasis sufferers:

Psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease which causes redness and itching of the skin, can be significantly reduced in patients taking as little as 1.8g of fish oil per day.

Omega-3s, alone, will not suppress the progress of disease. A delicate balance is required between different types of fatty acids in the diet. Omega-3s need to battle for control with another type of fatty acid called omega-6. Omega-6 type fat is found in foods such as corn, sunflower oil, safflower and meats where the animals have been fed on plant foods. Most Western diets consist of an unhealthy imbalance in favour of omega-6s. An excess of omega-6 leads to the overproduction of prostaglandins and leukotrienes that activate many common diseases. Eating more omega-3s redresses the imbalance. Two servings of fish a week have been recommended as a minimum requirement to restore a healthy balance.

Despite its capacity to halt the progress of certain diseases, most experts claim that the main benefits of eating seafood lie in prevention rather than cure. A regular diet rich in oily fish is likely to protect against the onset of many serious diseases.

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