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5 Health benefits of eating fish

You'll want fish for dinner tonight!

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Fish delivers an impressive range of health benefits that affect everything from your brain to your heart. To reap the benefits of fish, the USDA recommends that we eat eight ounces of fish each week. An easy way to achieve the recommended portion size and to get all the benefits of eating fish is to simply replace two servings of meat each week with fish.

woman eating a fish dinner

Weight control

Fish is a great alternative to high-fat meat because it’s a low-fat, high-quality protein source. A dinnertime serving of fish will help you feel full without the fat. The trick is to prepare fish in a way that preserves its health benefits -- so no frying! Instead, try poaching, baking or broiling fish.

Heart health

In a 2006 study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that, among adults who ate fish twice a week, the death rate from heart disease was 36 percent lower than those who ate little or no fish. We’ve all heard how important omega-3 fatty acids are. Because our bodies don’t naturally produce omega-3s, we need to get our fill through the food we eat. Fish is an important source of two omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. These omega-3s help lower blood pressure, which will help you maintain a healthy heart.

Better brain function

Those same omega-3s that keep your heart healthy may also keep your brain in tip-top shape. The omega-3s found in fatty fish may decrease the risk of ADHD, depression and dementia. In addition, a study presented in 2011 at the Radiological Society of North America indicated that patients who ate two servings of fish each week staved off Alzheimer’s disease.

Lower cholesterol and triglycerides

Cold-water fish can help lower triglycerides, or blood fats. There’s an additional factor at work here: By replacing two servings of meat with fish, you’re replacing a source high in saturated fats with a lean protein. To get maximum cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering benefits, choose cold-water fish like salmon, trout, sardines or oysters.

Disease prevention

In that same Harvard study, the researchers discovered that overall mortality was 17 percent lower among the adults who ate fish twice a week than the adults who ate little to no fish. The reason? Eating fish may prevent a number of other diseases. For example, fish may prevent inflammation, certain cancers and arthritis.

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