10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Eating Fish (Written by Okeowo Olubunmi on March 23, 2020).
Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet.
It’s loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D.
Fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain.
Here are 10 health benefits of eating fish that are supported by research.
- High in important nutrients
Fish is packed with many nutrients that most people are lacking.
This includes high-quality protein, iodine, and various vitamins and minerals.
Fatty species are sometimes considered the healthiest. That’s because fatty fish, including salmon, CATFISH, sardines, tuna, and mackerel, are higher in fat-based nutrients.
This includes vitamin D, a fat-soluble nutrient that many people are lacking.
Fatty fish also boast omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for optimal body and brain function and strongly linked to a reduced risk of many diseases (1).
To meet your omega-3 requirements, eating fatty fish at least once or twice a week is recommended.
Fish is high in many important nutrients, including high-quality protein, iodine, and various vitamins and minerals. Fatty varieties also pack omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
2. May lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes
Heart attacks and strokes are the two most common causes of premature death in the world (2Trusted Source).
Fish is considered one of the most heart-healthy foods you can eat.
Unsurprisingly, many large observational studies show that people who eat fish regularly have a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source)
3. Contain nutrients that are crucial during development
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for growth and development.
The omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is especially important for brain and eye development (8Trusted Source).
For this reason, it’s often recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat enough omega-3 fatty acids (9Trusted Source).
However, some fish are high in mercury, which is linked to brain developmental problems.
Thus, pregnant women should only eat low-mercury fish, such as salmon, sardines, and catfish and no more than 12 ounces (340 grams) per week.
They should also avoid raw and uncooked fish because it may contain microorganisms that can harm the fetus.
4. May boost brain health
Your brain function often declines with aging.
While mild mental decline is normal, serious neurodegenerative ailments like Alzheimer’s disease also exist.
Studies also reveal that people who eat fish every week have more gray matter — your brain’s major functional tissue — in the parts of the brain that regulate emotion and memory (11Trusted Source).
Fish intake is linked to reduced mental decline in older adults. People who eat fish regularly also have more gray matter in the brain centers that control memory and emotion
5. May help prevent and treat depression
Depression is a common mental condition.
It’s characterized by low mood, sadness, decreased energy, and loss of interest in life and activities.
Although it isn’t discussed nearly as much as heart disease or obesity, depression is currently one of the world’s biggest health problems.
Studies have found that people who eat fish regularly are much less likely to become depressed (12Trusted Source)
Fish and omega-3 fatty acids may also aid other mental conditions, such as bipolar disorder (16Trusted Source).
Omega-3 fatty acids may combat depression both on their own and when taken with antidepressant medications.
6. A good dietary sources of vitamin D
Vitamin D functions like a steroid hormone in your body
Fish and fish products are among the best dietary sources of vitamin D. Fatty fish like salmon and catfish contain the highest amounts (18Trusted Source).
Some fish oils, such as cod liver oil, are also very high in vitamin D, providing more than 200% of the Daily Value (DV) in a single tablespoon
7. May reduce your risk of autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissues.
Several studies link omega-3 or fish oil intake to a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes in children, as well as a form of autoimmune diabetes in adults (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
The omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fish and fish oils may be responsible.
Some experts believe that fish intake may also lower your risk of rheumatoid
8. May help prevent asthma in children
Asthma is a common disease characterized by chronic inflammation of your airways.
Rates of this condition have increased dramatically over the past few decades (24Trusted Source).
Studies show that regular fish consumption is linked to a 24% lower risk of asthma in children, but no significant effect has been found in adults (25Trusted Source).
Some studies show that children who eat more fish have a lower risk of asthma.
9. May protect your vision in old age
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness that mostly affects older adults (26Trusted Source).
Some evidence suggests that fish and omega-3 fatty acids may protect against this disease.
10. Delicious and easy to prepare
Fish is delicious and easy to prepare.
For this reason, it should be relatively easy to incorporate it into your diet. Eating catfish one or two times per week is considered sufficient to reap its benefits.
Catfish can be prepared baked, fried, seared or boiled.