If you’re already working on your health regime and stocking up on lean chicken and turkey for protein, you might want to reconsider and pick up some oily fish as well. According to the American Heart Association, you should be consuming at least two servings of oily fish each week (which equates to 7 ounces of cooked fish per week). Why? Well, not only is it a good source of protein, but the omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes, arthritis, dementia, and even certain cancers (via Medical News Today). It’s also crucial for brain and eye development, making it an important food for pregnant and breastfeeding women (via Healthline).
Not only that, but oily fish (think salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and mackerel) are full of essential nutrients that you may be lacking, like vitamin D, and might even help prevent and treat depression, reduce the risk of asthma in children, and decrease your chances of developing an auto-immune disorder. However, even with all these potential benefits, you shouldn’t eat oily fish at every meal.
The potential downsides of too much oily fish
Before you rush out to your grocery store to stock up on seafood, it’s worth knowing some of the risks associated with eating too much oily fish. For one thing, oily fish can contain pollutants that can build up in your body over time and impact the development of a child in the womb, which is why women are recommended not to exceed those recommended two portions of oily fish per week (via The NHS).
Not only that, but some fish (in particular shark, swordfish, and marlin) contain high levels of mercury, which can cause issues with brain development in high doses. To avoid high levels of mercury, the FDA recommends eating more canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish, which have lower mercury levels, and checking advisories about the safety of fish caught locally. Or, if you’re looking for some non-fish sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, try flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and green leafy vegetables (via The Mayo Clinic).
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