Omega-3 and Oily Fish – Despite more and more exciting discoveries about the nutritional value of fish in our diets over the last century, we’ve been slowly reducing our consumption of fish. Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, is found in abundance in oily fish, a source of the biggest health benefits known to mankind. Essential fatty acids, commonly referred to as EFAs, were first recognized by Professor Hugh Sinclair.
The researcher was curious as to why the Inuit, who ate whale blubber and fish (a diet that, according to conventional wisdom, contained high levels of saturated fats and therefore was very heart-friendly) had such low levels of cardiovascular disease. One clue could be found in the Inuits’ tendency to bleed easily. In the end, Sinclair bled easily after eating whale blubber for 100 days and his platelets and cholesterol levels had decreased, as well.
His blood was being thinned by an ingredient. Eventually, he figured out that the secret ingredients were EFAs, specifically omega-3. As our diet has evolved to contain more vegetable oils and refined grains, and less oily fish, our diet has not contained equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
It is believed that deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids are partly responsible for depression, heart disease, and behavioral problems in the young, as well as a range of health problems. Remember to eat fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids! In addition to this, there are two other problems that complicate the issue.
Some species are in danger of extinction, and certain fish should be eaten only rarely due to contamination. Fish that are in good health are less likely to be endangered. Fish such as herring, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, sprats, trout (not farmed), whitebait, anchovies, and carp (farmed) are all safe to eat. In addition to sustainably caught non-oily fish, white bass, Alaskan and Pacific halibut, and Dover sole, they also provide good sources of protein.