Know Your Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Much has been said about omega-3 fatty acids (or omega-3 FA), which foods are rich in them, and their health benefits. Most people think you get them only from fish and that any fish will do. Not quite. Let’s clear up first what omega-3 fatty acids really are. They are essential fatty acids, necessary for body health. But our bodies don’t make them, so we get them from other sources.
Omega-3 is naturally abundant in cold water fish and shellfish, plant and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed, and algae oils. But there are 2 types of omega-3 fatty acids – the long-chain ones and the short-chain. Fish and shellfish contain long-chain FA which are EPA and DHA. Algae however provides only DHA. Plants, like flaxseed, contain ALA, the short-chain omega-3 FA with less potent health benefits.
While fish is the richest source of omega-3 FAs, they are also high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and low in saturated fat. The omega-3s have been proved anti-inflammatory and consuming large amounts can reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions, like cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.
What about Omega-6?
On the other hand, you must have heard about omega-6 FAs as well; they are pro-inflammatory. The American diet, composed of crackers, cookies, cereals, poultry, eggs, mayonnaise, whole grain bread, corn-fed beef and most vegetable oils – are rich sources of omega-6 FAs. Consuming large amounts is a key step in many chronic diseases.
Eating two 8-ounce servings of fish each week may be all that is necessary to stay healthy, or better, supplemental daily dosages of between 2 and 5 grams of EPA and DHA. And DHA is considered as brain food, with studies showing decreased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. A study also showed how tuna and other non-fried fish lowered the incidence of silent brain damage which are linked to higher rates of stroke and cognitive decline. Salmon, herring or mackerel proved to lower the risk of developing prostate cancer in men and promotes healthier arteries in postmenopausal women.
Since mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are common toxins found in seafood, safer sources with less amounts of mercury can be found in canned light tuna, catfish, pollock, salmon (especially wild salmon), and shrimp. Predatory fish, like shark, swordfish and king mackerel may have higher mercury levels. Remember to be safe while staying healthy.
Fish at FLO: Omega-3 Rich and Healthy
At FLO, find only the freshest and safe-sourced fish and seafood that we serve our diners. Enjoy our traditional and modern take on omega-3 rich fish and seafood, prepared in true Japanese manner in Bellevue, WA.