There’s a saying that “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” It applies to many things, including our health. It seems nowadays that most people want the abbreviated quick version of the story. Most people rely on the advice of their friends and family about diets and simply don’t want to read the book.

This way of thinking also holds true when it comes to fish consumption. Ordering fried fish or fish sandwich is not a healthy thing to do. How a fish is prepared is just as important as whether you eat it in the first place.

Recent studies have shown that eating fried fish or fish sandwiches one to four times a week increases the risk of stroke by 37 percent. On the other hand, eating baked or broiled fish one to four times a week lowers the risk of stroke by 28 percent and improves other cardiovascular risk profiles.

Studies have shown that eating at least two ounces of fish a week could cut the risk of heart disease in half and that fish oil has been shown to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It decreases the stickiness of blood cells and helps prevent the formation of abnormal clots. It has even been shown to reduce angina pain and reduce the tissue damage associated with strokes and heart attacks.

If you want more evidence of the benefits of fish, consider the Japanese. Japan has one of the highest rates of fish consumption in the world and some of the lowest rates of depression, homicide and suicide. Don’t know if there is a correlation there, but it is some interesting information nonetheless. For years, their health statistics have been used to support the benefits of eating fish.

Historically, the Japanese have also experienced less prostrate and breast cancer, less heart disease and greater longevity. No doubt, these benefits can be attributed to their high fish and seafood consumption.

Abnormal weight loss is a major problem in many types of cancer especially cancer of the pancreas. research has shown that supplementing the diet with fish oils, about 2.2 grams of EPA and 1.4 grams of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily, will stabilize weight in patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer.

Pregnant women and children younger than 12 may especially benefit from eating seafood, especially seafood with higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. A good rule of thumb for this group is that they may eat six to 12 ounces of seafood a week which can include up to six ounces of albacore tuna, and avoiding big predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish or king mackerel, which have higher mercury levels.

Shellfish and crustaceans are low in saturated fat but can have moderate amounts of cholesterol and present the greatest risk of microbial infection if eaten raw.

There are a number of illnesses and situations in which intake of fish oil has proven to be significantly beneficial. The heart is inarguably one of the most important parts of our body and having an unhealthy heart means having to suffer a rather limited lifespan. Naturally, it’s in our best interests to keep our hearts happy and healthy and one way of doing that is eating food that contains fish oil.

Fish consumption can be used against hypertension and obesity. A weight-loss diet which includes a regular amount of fish consumption can be quite effective in reducing blood pressure and improving glucose tolerance.

Certain studies have also revealed the benefits of fish oil for asthma-burdened-individuals. Studies conducted by subjecting a number of children who suffered from asthma to a high-fish diet while others continued with their regular diet resulted that the participants who ate more fish were less prone to asthma attacks and were able to breathe more easily as well.

Considering all of this, seems like a good idea to make it a point to eat fresh fish a few times a week. The best sources of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) are the higher fat dishes like salmon and tuna. Just make sure your fish is broiled, baked, or grilled – not fried or smothered in tarter sauce.

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