Fish important all year round

By Meeghan, 1 April, 2010

The following article has been written by Hayley Dicker.

The role of fish can often be underestimated in our diet. Throughout the lifespan, fish provides us with essential nutritional requirements important for our development, health and well being and reduces our risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The benefits of fish have been attributed to its rich source of omega 3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA). These are part of a group of fats affectionately labeled ‘the good fats’ and are essential in every diet. There is sufficient evidence to support the cardio-protective effects of omega 3 LCPUFA.

Some studies show consuming 114g of fresh fish four times per week can reduce the incidence of CVD by 14%. However, eating as little as 20-30g of fresh fish three times per week still has significant benefits and can improve your lipoprotein profile by increasing your good cholesterol as well as reducing your bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. An improved lipoprotein profile will help reduce your CVD risk by reducing the likelihood of blood clots.

There is also evidence that omega 3 LCPUFA act to stabilize the contractions of the heart, therefore contributing to enhanced heart health. And if you’re still not convinced fish is an important part of your diet, it also plays a role in brain development, especially in children. And can help with joint aches and pains in older adults, helping to increase mobility and reduce stiffness especially in the knees and shoulders.

To make sure you are benefitting from all that fish has to offer, try to incorporate an 80-120g serving of fish twice every week. Remember that fresh fish is always best. While canned tuna and fish oil tablets may be convenient no-fuss options, fresh fish will provide your body with the best nutritional value and highest absorption of omega 3 LCPUFA.

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