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> Eat More Fish!, Miavita Heath News Article
post Sep 25 2004, 11:26 AM
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How Eating Fish Keeps You Healthy - All Miavita Features

Seafood is a nutritious protein source with little artery-clogging saturated fat. And the fat that's in seafood is the kind you want to eat - even in a low-fat diet.

A "fatty" fish still has less fat than the "leanest" red meat. Better yet, the fat in fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart attacks - and sometimes reduce the risk dramatically. As little as one weekly serving of fish can cut a middle-aged adult's chances of a fatal heart attack by as much as 50 percent.

But seafood's not just good for your heart. Eating fish rich in omega-3 helps:
Improve brain and eye development in infants and children.

Reduce diabetes risk, in part by lowering blood triglycerides levels. Diets low in omega-3 fatty acids may also contribute to insulin resistance, a risk factor for developing diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids also help make cell membranes more fluid so they're better able to respond to insulin receptors.

Inhibit hormone-like processes that can increase cancer risk.

Bolster your body's ability to process serotonin, which can help relieve a tendency toward depression. When the brain lacks sufficient concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, the cells can't properly process serotonin. Perhaps a fish dinner is the real "happy meal."

Addition by Subtraction

Seafood reduces the risk of heart disease in several interrelated ways. The first is by substitution: Selecting fish or shellfish (instead of red meat or cheese) as your protein source cuts your saturated fat intake. This helps depress blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, and thus, your risk of heart disease.

Resist the urge to cook your seafood in butter. Doing so adds saturated fat. Avoid introducing trans fats by having it fried - almost all "vegetable oils" used for commercial deep-fat frying are partially hydrogenated and contain artery-clogging trans fats. Cook seafood at home with small amounts of canola or olive oil - or no added fat. (my George Foreman is wonderful for grilling fish)

The Omega-3 Effect

Why is seafood good for your heart? The answer is closely tied to its omega-3 fatty acids. These unique polyunsaturated fatty acids:
Raise levels of beneficial HDL, which protects against heart disease.

Reduce blood levels of triglycerides, the blood fats that raise the risk of both heart disease and diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids instruct our genes to produce less of an enzyme that's essential for making fat, resulting in reduced levels of blood triglycerides.

Reduce the tendency of blood to form artery-clogging clots. Omega-3 fatty acids act as natural anticoagulants, altering the ability of blood platelets to clump together. With fewer "sticky" platelets, clots are less likely to form.

Help prevent heart arrhythmias that can lead to sudden cardiac death. The U.S. Physicians' Health Study, for example, found that during the course of 11 years, men who ate fish once a week were at least 40% less likely to die from sudden cardiac death.

Slow the progression of existing coronary heart disease. In one 24-month study of people who have had a heart attack, those who ate fish at least twice a week were 29 percent less likely to have another.
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