Is Fish Good for Your Health?
You’re probably heard that fish is good for you. That it’s part of a “healthy” diet. “You should eat healthy foods,” “the key to healthier habits,” “top five healthiest diets”… Healthy: we throw around the term plenty but what does it really mean? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary tells us “healthy” means “beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state.” Also: “conducive to or associated with good health or reduced risk of disease.” Now, what does food have to do with any of this? And what does fish have to do in particular?
Let’s start with being beneficial to one’s physical state. Animal proteins contain all of the 20 amino acids that humans need in their diet to survive. Amino acids are really the basis of keeping our body going. They’re at the base of our cellular metabolism. They do all sorts of things for us: they break down food, build muscle, they provide an energy source, they make hormones and brain chemicals, they grow and repair body tissue… They do it all so making sure we’re getting more of them should be a priority. And since we can get them through animal proteins, Food Crowd’s meat and seafood delivery makes the “getting” them part easy.
Fish, it turns out, is not just a protein, but it’s a very high quality protein. The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid score, which judges how well humans can digest the amino acids in a protein, is pretty darn high for most fish. One is the best score you can get and shrimp comes in at 0.83, tuna at a whopping 0.97. Depending on the type of fish, you get different amino acids, so it’s a good idea to vary the fish you eat (unfortunately it can’t all be salmon all day every day). Fish is also a low fat protein source. Red meat, admittedly a good protein source, is also unfortunately linked to higher risks of some types of cancer and should be eaten less frequently.
Fish as a source of Omega 3
Fish are also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which our body can’t produce on its own. The biggest benefit of the omega-3 fats is the work they do to prevent heart disease. There’s that “reduced risk of disease” part of healthy coming into play. Omega-3 fatty acids are so important experts recommend we should be eating fish or seafood at least once, if not twice, a week. Cod has 284 mg per serving (6.3 oz). Sardines have 556 mg per serving (2.0 oz). The n-3 fats are also essential to brain functions, which is where “beneficial to one’s mental state” comes in.
So that leaves us with “beneficial to one’s emotional state.” Many people report feeling good after eating fish. That’s also connected to the fabulous omega-3 fatty acids. They have documented mood-stabilizing and anti-depression effects. Fish also provides vitamin D, the one your body can make if exposed to sunlight and whose lack is associated with depression. In winter, when sunlight is in shorter supply, fish can be a good substitute and get you back on track.
It looks like fish are healthy, beneficial to your physical, your mental, and your emotional state. Eat up!