Around the world, people have been consuming fish for centuries as part of a healthy diet. From your skin to your heart, fish and within fish, can provide incredible benefits. Take a look below at some of the ways fish can improve our bodies.
Let’s begin with the eyes. Vitamin A can improve eye health and is also necessary for other cellular functions in the body. There is a compound called Retinol which is a precursor for Vitamin A. Retinol is absorbed very readily in our guts and is particularly abundant in fish. Cod oil alone has about 100000 Retinol equivalents per 100 grams. While vegetables like carrots, which we might immediately think of when we think of eye health, only tally up to around 2000 Retinol equivalents per 100 grams (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2016). This means that fish is actually a fantastic source of Vitamin A. In fact, way back in the 1800s British doctors were prescribing fish oil to the sailors in their navy who suffered from night blindness. The treatment had great success and became a key component of nautical nutrition.
Essential Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA are important for our bodies and come exclusively from our diets. Omega-3s are necessary for cell membrane function and can decrease your “bad” cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins, or LDLs). Fish is especially high in these Omega-3s and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. The Inuit population offers a great example. The Inuit, or Eskimo, diet includes a lot of fatty fish and as a result, the occurrence of cardiovascular disease among the Inuit people is significantly less than many other populations across the globe (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2016). Though there are inevitably other factors that play into this reduction, scholars find that consumption of fatty fish is the key variable.
Dermatologists have been advocating for more fish in our diets for years. Fish oil and vitamins in fish have been clinically shown to reduce the depth of wrinkles in human skin. The skin of fish specifically is super rich in collagen which promotes skin elasticity. The Vitamin E in fish is also a natural anti-inflammatory that reduces puffiness and redness of your skin.
How to Incorporate Fish Sustainability
Now we know that eating fish can help us see, make our hearts beat a little easier, and make our skin glow, why aren’t we eating more fish? We SHOULD be eating more fish! Fish is one of the healthiest options but the tricky part is making sure that we incorporate it into our diets sustainably. What does that mean? Ask your local fishmonger “where does this fish come from? Is this fish in season? How do you know this fish is sustainably caught?” You’d be surprised how much fishmongers know. If you’re interested in learning more about sustainable options, the SeafoodWatch program offers guides and resources to help inform your seafood choices. Before you know it, you’ll notice your health, and the health of the planet, taking a turn for the better.