Health Benefits of Fish and Fish Food Products
Fish is highly lauded by many experts as a food with significant health benefits. This applies quite specifically to wild-caught fish, as farm-raised fish, like many commercially farmed animals, are fed many undesirable substances in less-than-ideal living conditions.
Another point of concern is heavy metal contamination. Because fish do not have a mechanism for getting rid of heavy metals from their bodies, these substances tend to accumulate in their bodily tissues. With our waters becoming increasingly contaminated, fish are beginning to contain increasing amounts of mercury. Mercury, of course, is a deadly toxin.
Two Recent Studies on the Health Benefits of Fish and Fish Products
by Reuben Chow
Fish has long been regarded as a healthful food, in particular for its high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids. Two recent studies have affirmed its health benefits in two different ways. First, a study on over 2,000 elderly persons in Norway found that eating fish and fish products improved cognitive function, while an American study on over 20,000 men found that eating fish might improve prostate cancer survival.
Improved Cognitive Performance
The Norwegian study, part of the Hordaland Health Study, looked at the link between eating different amounts of fish and fish products and cognitive performance. 2,031 persons aged 70 to 74 were asked to complete a series of six cognitive tests. They also filled up questionnaires which collated information on the type and amount of fish which they consumed. The foods included fatty fish, lean fish, processed fish, fish sandwich, as well as fish or cod liver oil. The data were then analyzed to try to uncover any association between eating such foods and cognitive function.
The findings were quite straightforward – it was found that persons who ate fish scored markedly better on all of the cognitive tests. And this was after non-nutrition factors which had been proven to affect cognitive function, for example education levels, had been accounted for. On top of that, it was found that the more of such foods consumed, the better the test results.
Another significant finding was the difference in impact of the type of fish consumed. Generally, the beneficial effects were more significant for non-processed lean fish as well as fatty fish.
Improved Survival from Prostate Cancer
In another study, jointly conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women‘s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as well as Columbia University in New York, it was found that the consumption of fish might boost prostate cancer survival.
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