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Omega 3: The Good Fat - Eating Fish is Good for You!

Almost all US and Canadian nutritional experts recommend that people include at least two servings of fish a week in their diets. For example, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation’s spokesperson and nutritionist Rosie Schwartz says. “Every meal you eat that features fish rather than meat, is one more meal with less saturated fat." Although many people may be tempted to supplement their diets with fish oils, experts advise: if you want to increase the amount of omega-3 fat in your diet, the best way is to eat more fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel. Eating broiled, baked or steamed fish two to three times a week is a good way of increasing the omega-3 fat in your diet. Gold Seal Seafoods® can help you do this the easy way by offering you premium quality wild salmon products, canned and fresh, and a delicious array of recipes that are quick and easy to make.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and seafood have been linked to the following health benefits:

  1. Lower Incidence of Heart Disease and Stroke
  2. Reduced Risk Of Sudden Death
  3. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack for People with Diabetes
  4. Anti-inflammatory Effect
  5. Help for Bones
  6. Lower risk of dementia (including Alzheimer's Disease)
  7. Healthy Brain Function
  8. Anti-depression
  9. Reduced Incidence of Premature Delivery

Lower Incidence of Heart Disease and Stroke

The American Heart Association recommends that people include at least two servings of fish per week, particularly fatty fish (such as salmon), in their diets.

This advice was based on scientific evidence suggesting that people who consume at least one, preferably two, servings of fish a week have a lower incidence of heart disease and stroke.

The ways that omega-3 fatty acids reduce cardio-vascular disease risk are still being studied. However, research has shown that they:

  • decrease risk of arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac death
  • decrease thrombosis (blood clot formation), which can lead to heart attack and stroke
  • decrease triglyceride levels
  • decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque
  • improve the health of arteries
  • lower blood pressure

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Reduced Risk Of Sudden Death

A recent study revealed that eating fish could significantly reduce a man's risk of sudden death from a heart attack. The study, supported by the US National Institute of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, found that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease. (New England Journal of Medicine, April 11, 2002)

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Reduced Risk of Heart Attack for People with Diabetes

There is solid research that fish is good for people with diabetes by helping to reduce their risk of a heart attack. In April 2003, Harvard School of Public Health declared that women with diabetes who ate fish 1 to 3 times a month reduced their risk of coronary heart disease by 30%. Those who ate fish 5 or more times per week reduced their risk by over 60%. While the research isn’t clear that eating fish prevents diabetes from developing in the first place, we do know is that populations that eat a lot of fish like the Greenland Inuit Eskimos and the Japanese generally do have lower rates of diabetes.

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Anti-inflammatory Effect

According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition Dec, 2002 (“Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases”, Simopoulos AP), there have been a number of preliminary clinical trials assessing the benefits of dietary supplementation with fish oils in several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans including rheumatoid arthritis. Some patients taking omega-3 supplements (often at about 2 to 3 grams per day) report less joint pain and morning stiffness.

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Help for Bones

A study conducted at the Purdue University, Indiana and published in the Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2001 (“Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Skeletal Health”), presents information that omega-3 fatty acids reduced the symptoms of certain bone/joint diseases in humans.

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Lower risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s Disease)

A study published in the British Medical Journal (“Fish, meat, and risk of dementia: cohort study”, 2002) examined associations between eating meat, fish or seafood, and the risk of developing dementia. The researchers followed a cohort of people aged 68 years or older living in southwest France. After seven years, they found that those who ate fish at least once a week were at lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The 'protective' effect of weekly fish or seafood consumption was partly explained by higher education of regular consumers.

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Healthy Brain Function

It has been reported that omega-3 fatty acids are needed for normal brain development in babies. Also, a study at Purdue University (Journal of Physiology & Behavior, April/May, 2003) showed that boys with attention deficit disorder who had lower levels of omega-3 fats in their brains had more behavioral problems. Studies are underway to see if omega-3 supplements can improve the boys' behavior. The researchers advise adding more fish into children's diets until more is known about the long-term safety of supplements.

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Anti-depression

In a study involving 20 people with recurrent depression, researchers studied the effects of a specific omega-3 fatty acid, known as E-EPA. After four weeks, six of 10 patients receiving E-EPA - but only one of 10 receiving placebo - had significantly reduced symptoms of depression, according to lead author Boris Nemets, MD, a researcher at Ben Gurian University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. His study appeared in the March 2002 issue of American Journal of Psychiatry. Another study supporting anti-depression benefits of omega-3 fats can be found in the Archives of General Psychiatry (“A Dose-Ranging Study of the Effects of E-EPA in Patients With Ongoing Depression Despite Apparently Adequate Treatment With Standard Drugs”, Peet, M., Oct 2002) Both studies used fish oil supplements.

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Reduced Incidence of Premature Delivery

Medical scientists agree that premature birth is the most common cause of harmful outcomes for newborn babies, is being born premature, medical scientists say. Studies reveal that the mother's intake of the proper fats during pregnancy may be critical. A Colorado University study published in the Experimental Biology & Medicine 2001, (“The role of omega-3 fatty acids in gestation and parturition”, Allen KG) notes that: "Several human pregnancy supplementation trials with omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) have shown a significant reduction in the incidence of premature delivery...." Another, more recent article in the British Medical Journal, Feb 23, 2002 (“Low consumption of seafood in early pregnancy as a risk factor for preterm delivery: prospective cohort study.” Olsen SF) concludes: low consumption of fish was a strong risk factor for preterm delivery and low birth weight. In women with zero or low intake of fish, small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids - provided as fish or fish oil - may confer protection against preterm delivery and low birth weight.

 

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