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The health benefits of eating fish

Daily Staff Report

Health Benefits: Eating fish is certainly healthy. Fish meat is high in protein and low in fat, except for omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly beneficial to humans. Medical studies over the years have found that regular fish intake has benefits including:

* Lowers cholesterol, helps weight loss and improves overall health, according to researchers and dieticians.

* Reduces the risk of heart disease. A 1998 study found that men who ate fish at least once a week reduced their risk of sudden cardiac death by 52 percent, compared to men who ate fish less than once a month. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish per week.

* Reduces the risk of strokes. A study by the American Medical Association found that men who ate fish one to three times a month had 43 percent fewer strokes than those who ate no fish at all. That’s because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish prevent blood clots from forming and thus reduce the incidence of ischemic strokes.

* Lowers blood pressure in people with untreated high blood pressure. Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of dietary fish intake combined with weight loss to lower blood pressure.

* May help reduce the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that cold-water fish are particularly helpful in this regard.

* May protect against breast cancer. Researchers have also found that fish oil seems to inhibit other cancers including those of the colon, skin, pancreas, prostate, lung and larynx.

* Reduces hypertension and lowers the risk of depression. Several studies have confirmed the link between fish intake and a happier outlook on life. Some experts believe that fish oil blocks the abnormal signaling in the brain that is present in mania and depression.

* Protects against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States. AMD usually affects the central vision of people over 60. Most victims do not go completely blind but must curtail daily activities such as reading and driving.

-courtesy of the Colorado Dept. of Wildlife


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