Fish is popular with good reason!
From a nutritional standpoint, fish is a popular choice right now. Canada’s Food Guide recommends at least two servings per week and any reputable diet that is part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle promotes this source of marine protein. As well it should!
Why is fish so healthy? To start with, fish is an excellent source of protein, so it satisfies your hunger. It’s also full of vitamins and minerals and low in saturated fats – the ones that are bad for the heart. What we love most about fish, however, is its omega-3 content.
What are Omega-3s?
Simply put, omega-3s are “good fats.” They are polyunsaturated and considered essential because our bodies don’t produce them; we can only get them from the foods we eat.
They come in three forms: one is plant based and the other two are animal based.
- Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, is found in various vegetable sources such as flax seed, nuts, and soy. Certain oils like canola oil also contain a lot of ALA.
- Eicosapentanoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, commonly called DHA, are manufactured from ALA and are also found in varying quantities in different fish and seafood.
To bear in mind: Marine sources of omega-3s seem to be the most effective, which, on top of delicious flavour, is another good reason to add fish to your menu!
Why are Omega-3s so good?
We know what omega-3s are and where to find them. Now we just need to understand their reputation as a super-nutrient.
- Several studies have demonstrated the role of omega-3s in protecting against heart disease.
Hypotheses about their fields of action are numerous. They may help control blood cholesterol
and triglyceride levels, reduce the risk of blood clot formation, and help lower blood pressure.
- They may positively affect your mood!
- They are essential to brain growth and development, so consuming omega-3s is important for children.
How much omega-3 do I need?
Average omega-3 requirements are 1.1 g/day for a woman and 1.6 g/day for a man — no problem if you’re fond of eating fish. As a general rule, the more fatty the fish, the more omega-3s it contains. The best choices are salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and arctic char. A 75 g serving of any one of these will fulfil your daily omega-3 requirements.
Fish is simple, delicious, and healthy – what more could you ask for?
The Rachelle-Béry Team of Nutritionists