Scientifically proven ‘fishy’ facts!

fish-for-health.jpgIt is just amazing to note the immense health benefits derived on regular consumption of fish. The fact that fish has high medicinal value is now being proven through numerous studies.

Fish for healthy heart: A study published in the Aug.5th issue of Journal of American College of Cardiology, confirms that a lifetime of eating Sardines, Tuna, and Salmon helped Japanese men in protecting themselves from clogged arteries, despite other cardiovascular risk factors. The Omega-3 fatty acid, the polyunsaturated fat, found in abundance in oily fish, is responsible for this protection factor. The research, which involved third and fourth generation Japanese Americans, with similar or high levels of atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries, believed to be a major cause for heart disease), compared the serum levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and atherosclerosis among Japanese, white American and Japanese American men. On comparing the data from 868 men in the age group 40-49, it was noticed that Japanese men had lowest levels of atherosclerosis, and twice as high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids when compared to white Americans or Japanese Americans. The two most potent Omega-3 fatty acids, known as docosahexoaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are commonly found in Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel and such other oily fishes.

Fish for Asthma prevention: A new study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Havard Medical School has revealed the fact that a molecule present in Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish supplements, help in preventing asthma. The molecule, namely Resolvin E1 (RvE1) extracted from Omega-3 fatty acid, which was produced by the body in response to inflammation, plays a vital role in dampening the development of airway inflammation and promoting resolution in mice, and hence reduces the natural immune signals responsible for inflammation. The researchers are hoping that this new finding may provide an opportunity to focus on the role of RvE1 as a potential therapeutic agent.

Fish for relief from Arthritis: According to a new study, called Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA), carried out in Sweden, it has been shown that regular consumption of oily fish is associated with reduced risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), whereas psychosocial work, stress and smoking is associated with elevated risk of the condition. For the first time it has been noted that intake of oily fish has a protective effect against development of RA, reducing the risk by 20 to 30 percent.

Fish for healthy eyes: A meta-analysis of nine previously published studies have revealed that eating fish and foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids significantly cuts risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), an eye disease. AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss among elderly people. The latest treatments for AMD are potentially risky and treat only certain forms of the disease. Hence primary prevention of AMD through lifestyle modification is vital. A study conducted at Melbourne University, Australia, by Elaine W-T. Chong and his colleagues, which involved 88,974 participants (out of which, 3203 individuals suffered AMD), combined high dietary intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. On comparison of results from all nine studies, it was found that a high dietary intake of Omega-3 fatty acids was associated with 38 percent reduction in risk of developing late AMD, while intake of fish twice a week helped reduce risk of both early and late AMD.

“Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly, docosahesaenoic acid, forms a vital part of neural retina. The outer cells of retina usually shed and get regenerate on a continuous basis, and any deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids may initiate AMD. Therefore a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and fish, as an alternate for long-chain Omega-3 fatty acid intake, is recommended as a means to prevent AMD,” the researchers concluded.