Fish comes in different shapes and sizes but still stays true to its proteinaceous nature, and is one of the healthiest foods out there. However, eating too much can increase your chances of developing mercury poisoning. Hence, doctors encourage us to eat at about 12 ounces of seafood; that is 3 servings in a week to reduce whatever adverse effects that may develop.
Mercury poisoning is one of the major concerns associated with eating fish daily, and sadly, it has no cure. Mercury is a liquid compound at room temperature, but when vaporized, makes its way into plants, animals and even humans. Exposure, as well as the build-up of mercury, is highly dangerous and its symptoms include physical tremors, memory loss, muscle weakness, difficulty in breathing and walking, neurological damage, cardiovascular risks, reproductive difficulties, and even death. It can also transfer from mother to child during pregnancy and breastfeeding, causing all sorts of damage to the fetus and newborn; damages which may be permanent but are temporary in adults.
There are 2 major classifications of fish based on the risk it confers:
• High mercury risk fish- Tilefish, swordfish, ahi, king mackerel, shark.
• Low mercury risk fish- Herrings, sardines, salmon, anchovies, mussels, shad, trout.
Caution in the consumption of high mercury risk fish should be observed, or better still, substituted for those with low risk of mercury contamination. Aside from being at risk for mercury poisoning, the benefits of fish really outweigh its risks and a number of them include:
1. Lowers the risk of heart diseases and stroke
They are one of the most common causes of death in the developed world. Fish contains healthy fats (unsaturated fats) which are beneficial to the heart, and help lower the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and stroke.
Fish is arguably one of the healthiest foods you can eat and this benefit only goes to show all the more why this is so.
2. Helps in neurodevelopment
The Omega-3 fatty acids which are abundant in fish help in promoting brain, nerve, and eye development especially in fetuses and newborns. Hence, nursing and expecting mothers are encouraged to consume optimal quantities of this food to provide the best nutrition for their growing child.
It also protects against the development of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline.
3. Lifts your mood
Consumption of adequate amount of fish has been linked to combat depression, which is a serious issue in our world today.
This effect has been linked yet again to its generous amount of omega-3 fatty acids which help fight against mental disorders.
4. Good source of vitamin D
Studies so far have shown that fish and fish products are the best dietary sources of vitamin D out there. Vitamin D is important for strong teeth and bones, prevention of infections, lowering the risk of certain cancers, and many more.
I know you’ve heard that sunlight helps the body with vitamin D production, but not everyone is looking to get sweaty. Fish is a very good alternative for you if you are one of such.
5. Linked to reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases
Diseases like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can be debilitating because it is the body’s immune system that attacks the body.
Consumption of fish reduces the risk of coming down with these diseases, and this effect is also credited to the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D it contains.
6. Improve sleep
Sleep disorders are slowly creeping into the sphere and getting difficult to deal with.
Consuming fish may help improve sleep quality and have you waking up at the right side of the bed this time.
7. Protect against old age onset visual impairment
Senile onset visual impairment and macular degeneration can be thwarted to some extent by eating fish, thereby preventing the risk of the development of blindness in old age.
Generally, as adults become older, it is advisable to cut down on beef intake and eat more fish.
8. Highly nutritious
It contains high-quality nutrients, proteins, and healthy fats which are responsible for all the great things eating fish has to offer and more.
Eat some fish today, and see the benefits for yourself!