The Fats of Life: Omega3 Fatty
How can anything with fat in it
Although all fat may seem bad, fat
in seafood is wonderful! Seafood fats can help prevent heart disease and some studies indicate these fats may offer some hope
for people with diabetes, cancer and even arthritis. All this is due to the omega-3 fatty acid in fish a revolutionary health
Whats so special about fish fat?
What makes it so important in our bodys battle between good and bad fats?
Fats differ according to the kinds
and amounts of fatty acids they contain. Eating too much of certain kinds of fatty acids, especially the saturated sort, raises
blood cholesterol levels and encourages heart disease. Unsaturates from fish, however, can actually lower blood cholesterol
Omega-3s work in special ways, many
of which scientists have only recently begun to understand. They discourage clogged arteries by changing the pattern of fats
in the blood. Omega-3s make the platelets in the blood less likely to stick together and cause a heart attack. Omega-3s also
have positive effects directly on the heart itself, making its rhythmic beat more stable. All these effects lower an individuals
heart disease risk.
Last year, a study from England
reported that men who had survived a heart attack and who then began eating rich fish, lived longer than similar heart patients
who did not eat fish regularly. In other research, people who had their arteries surgically unclogged had less re-clogging
of their blood vessels afterward when they consumed oils found in fish.
While most of the initial excitement
about the positive benefits of omega-3s centered on their role in preventing heart disease, scientists have found many other
exciting potential benefits. Omega-3s influence events going on in blood cells, ateries and veins, liver, skin and other tissues.
They also subdue some of our immune responses, offering potential benefits in arthritis, psoriasis and asthma. Scientists
even speculate that omega-3s were shown to be important in the development of nervous tissue in the brain and eye. Omega-3s
are concentrated in these tissues, be we do not understand fully how they function. Babies fed breast milk have omega-3s in
their tissues whereas those fed formula without omega-3s have almost none. Work with premature infants suggests that it is
important for pregnant women to eat fish regularly to ensure their babies obtain omega-3 fatty acids for optimum brain and
The evidence makes it clear that
we will benefit from having omega-3s on duty at all times. They key is to equip ourselves by eating fish, especially rich
fish, routinely at least twice a week.
A new study reaffirms what most of
us already knew: eating fish keeps you healthy in body and mind.
A study by researchers at the University of Guelph in the Toronto area discovered that the fatty acids found in high concentration in many fish species
may help to ward off Alzheimers.
The researchers found that Alzheimers
patients (as well as other elderly sufferers with other cognitive impairments) had lower levels of DHA (a type of fatty acid)
in their blood. DHA and other Omega-3 fatty acids are found abundantly in tuna, trout and salmon, as well as most other seafoods.
The fatty acids have already been found to reduce ailments such as depression, heart disease and ADD (attention deficit disorder).
Julie Conquer, director of the research
unit, suggested that we not only try to increase fish consumption in our elderly population, but also the population at large.
She noted that nursing homes should tailor their meal plans to reflect the findings on fish and the apparent necessity for
DHA and other fatty acids.
Conquer said, Given that our research
indicates that decreased levels of DHA also appear to accompany cognitive impairment with aging, we think this is a sign we
should all be eating more fish. We agree.
More Good Health News for Women & Fish
The associated press reported recently
that a study of about 80,000 American woman has shown that eating fish in modest amounts may significantly reduce the risk
of the most common type of stroke. . .
The star of the show, of course, are
Omega-3 fatty acids. These beneficial acids are thought to lower levels of blood fat linked to heart disease and to keep blood
from clotting. Fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines are especially rich in Omega-3s.
In the most recent study which took
place at the Womens Health Hospital in Boston, researchers from Harvard University found that eating fish regularly was linked
with reductions in the risk for ischemic strokes, which are clot-related and account for about 83 percent of all strokes in
Women who ate about 4 ounces (110 grams)
of fish two to four times weekly cut their risk of ischemic stroke by 48 percent. Though slightly higher risk reductions were
found in women who ate fish five or more times weekly, there were relatively few women in that group. Risk reductions, though
not statistically significant, were also found even in those who ate fish once a week or less.
Mounting evidence about fish-linked
cardiovascular benefits led the American Heart Association to include eating two servings of fish a week in its updated dietary
recommendations last fall.