Everyone knows………eating fish is good for you. Fish eaters are smarter and healthier, thanks to the boat load of goodies packed in fish flesh.
Well, maybe …………….
Just like the nutritional value of a modern day steak, is not quite the same as that hunk of meat eaten by Caveman Fred, fish flesh has undergone a little modernization too.
Fish of the sea
When you tuck into that fish – where do you think it comes from ?
I think most people imagine the fish has swum around wild and free, up until the moment it was plucked out of the water.
Ideally by a dedicated old fishermen in overalls, who cunningly enticed it to take a bite, of a carefully crafted lure in an intriguing game of man and fish. Or, maybe somewhat more realistically, it was swept up in a giant net, by seasoned fishermen and dumped on board a small boat, somewhere in the middle of the ocean.
At any rate, the fish was wild and free.
Fish are living on farms
The fish that are landing on dinner plates around the globe, are often not wild and free.
They’re actually old farm hands. Aquaculture is big business. Current estimates suggest around 50 % of fish we’re eating, grew up on a farm.
What are the fish eating ?
As far as mother nature is concerned – fish food is other “fish” and marine organisms.
But fish growing up on farms, don’t always have fishy options for their dinner, because it is too difficult and expensive for fish farmers to do.
So, fish growing up on farms have to eat food that is readily available and relatively cheap and that fish are happy to eat.
Vegetable oils turn out to be an all round fish friendly food. Fish seem to enjoy it and they grow up big and strong quickly, plus fish farmers can afford it too.
Vegetable oils transforms fish oil
But just like vegetable oils have consequences for the omega ratio in humans, they alter the omega ratio in fish too. Researchers from Norway documented these changes in Atlantic salmon.
The team fed different groups of farmed salmon different oils and then compared the levels of inflammation in these fish, with fish pulled out of the wild.
Farmed fish didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects on their modified diets. None of the fish showed any signs of clogged arteries , but the benefit to human arteries changed a little.
Cardiac arteries prefer wild fish
The Norweigen researchers prescribed platefuls of salmon to patients suffering from atherosclerosis.
The study was carried at Ullevål Hospital. Patients ate either
- No salmon
- Salmon which had been fattened up on vegetable oils, specifically rapeseed oil i.e. farmed fish
- Salmon which had been fattened up on marine oils i.e. wild fish
As expected eating fish was helpful, but the benefit was far bigger when the fish had eaten fish oils.
The fat composition of the fish impacted the fatty acid profile of the patient’s blood. Fishy fish lowered inflammatory markers, far more than the fish eating vegetable oil.
You are what you eat
The benefits of eating fish regularly are unequivocal, but the value of that fish dinner may be slipping, as more people eat those fishes.
There is not easy fix to this fishy dilemma. The world need more fish and mother nature can’t supply without a little intervention.
Obtaining your omega-3 quota
Getting and keeping your omega ratio balanced with diet alone is a challenge in the modern world, no matter what you do.
Fortunately, you can get a little pharmacological help getting your omega-3 quota. Supplementing with omega-3 is probably one supplement worth investing in.
NB. Just make sure you’re purchasing a product with omega-3 only.“The effect on fish and human health of replacing marine oils by vegetable oils in feeds of Atlantic salmon”, Sverre Ludvig Seierstad Dr. Med. Vet. thesis at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science
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