Health Benefits of Eating Fatty Fish

Have you read recent nutrition recommendations to include more fatty fish in your diet? It’s true: there are numerous benefits of eating fish which contain omega-3 fatty acids.  Not only do they taste good, but they’re also good for us!


Despite all of the bad press that fat has received over the years, some types of fat are good for our health. One type is called omega-3. Two subcategories of this unsaturated fat are called EPA and DHA, and are found in a variety of fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna.


While both EPA and DHA are required for optimal health, they provide slightly different benefits, based on our current understanding. EPA is largely involved in reducing inflammation throughout the body, which helps prevent many chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease. DHA appears to play a role in brain development in children, as well as adult brain function, and it may help protect against cardiovascular disease as well.


There is an additional subcategory of omega-3, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is also an unsaturated fat, and its sources include chia seeds, flax, and walnuts. The body will convert ALA into EPA and DHA, but the conversion process is not very efficient. Thus, it’s best to get your EPA and DHA from fish-based sources, if possible.


The best way to incorporate EPA and DHA into your diet is through the consumption of fatty fish at least twice a week. Your best bet is to grill the fish or pan-saute in a small amount of fat, so as not to negate the health benefits of the fish that you’re eating. It may also be present in algae or seaweed.


You can also take fish oil supplements if you are not able to eat fish often enough. However, it’s generally believed that our body absorbs nutrients better from whole foods than supplements, so try to eat fish sometimes rather than fully relying on dietary supplements.


Overall, regular fatty fish consumption is a simple, and tasty, way to reduce your body’s overall inflammation. Try switching up your protein sources a few times a week!