Tag Archives: fish

Fish is great food

FoodFacts.com has been keeping up with the latest research regarding Omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits to our overall health and well being. Today we found some interesting research from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Jena University Hospital that helps us to better understand how Omega-3 fatty acids positively affect our bodies.

We’ve known for a long time that eating fish is a healthy choice. Fish is an easily digestible source of lean protein. And the Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish bring added benefits for us all. Omega-3 fatty acids are found mostly in fatty fish like herring, salmon, and whitefish. They are linked with lowering blood pressure, strengthening our immune systems and being beneficial to our nervous systems and cardiovascular systems.

While we have evidence of all of these positive effects of Omega-3 fatty acids, we’ve never had a true picture of how they work for our benefit on a molecular level. This new study does just that. In articles published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA,” the scientists involved in the research describe how they analyzed the impact of Omega-3 fatty acids on a systemic level.

They were able to show that the “SLO1” potassium channel is an important component in the effectiveness of Omega-3s. These channels act like receptors for DHA (the most complex form of Omega-3) and are opened by the binding of Omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers explored the effects on the SLO1 channels on the cardiovascular systems of mice. Lab experiments found that administering DHA to the mice expanded their blood vessels and resulted in a drop in blood pressure. The same effect did not occur in genetically modified mice who lacked the ability to produce the SLO1 channel. So the findings confirmed that DHA has an impact on blood pressure that is mediated through SLO1 channels.

In addition, the researchers were surprised to find that a variant of DHA, often found in nutritional supplements, doesn’t seem to have the same effect on blood pressure. In fact, it appeared to suppress the effect of the natural DHA. So that consumption of non-natural Omega-3 fatty acids might actually counter the positive effects of the natural substance. This will be important for the supplementation patients and may alter clinical requirements in the future.

FoodFacts.com has always been a proponent of the inclusion of fish on our menus.  Fish offers great taste and variety to meals and important nutritional benefits.  We’re happy to see the confirmation of those benefits on a very meaningful level.  You can read more about this fascinating study here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305080655.htm

Health is wealth, and for women oily fish is really rich

FoodFacts.com understands that there aren’t a lot of studies that have focused on the benefits of Omega 3s for women’s health. Little research has been done that has shown that women can reap the same benefits as men.

However, a groundbreaking new study has shown that a diet rich in oily fish can cut the risk of heart attack and stroke in women of childbearing age by 90%. That’s a pretty amazing number. And all you have to do to enjoy this statistic is increase your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Those are the ones found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Fish oil has long been recognized as important for heart health, however it is now believed because of gender differences, fish oil may be even more beneficial for women of child-bearig age helping with blood pressure and heart and blood vessel function.

The study out of the Statens Serum Institute in Compenhagen researched 49,000 women between the ages of 15 and 49 all in the stages of early pregnancy. They were questioned about the amount and type of food they ate, how often they included fish in their diet, as well as their lifestyle and family history. The most common fish women ate according to the study were cod, salmon, herring and mackerel.

These women were monitored for an eight year period. Over the course of that time 577 cardiovascular events (things like heart attacks and strokes) were noted. Five of these events resulted in death.

The research revealed that the women in the study who rarely or never ate fish had 90% more cardiovascular problems then the women who ate oily fish every week.

This is one of the largest studies of its kind undertaken that has focused exclusively on women of child-bearing age. It was noted that the cardiovascular benefits of a diet that regularly includes oily fish were evident in this study at fairly modest dietary levels. There are questions regarding how increasing those levels may increase the benefits even further.

We want to make sure the women in our community stay educated and healthy. Here is a list of some other oily fish that will help you reap the benefits of a diet that’s rich in Omega 3s:

Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, Herring, Sardines, Pilchards, Kipper, Eel, Whitebait, Tuna (fresh, not canned), Anchovies, Swordfish, Bloater, Cacha, Carp, Hilsa, Jack fish, Katla, Orange Roughy, Pangras, Sprats

FoodFacts.com will continue to keep our eye out for news like this that can help our community pursue health through the latest research.

Fish oil may not help to prevent depression afterall

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Many health articles have reported in recent months that fish oils, primarily omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, help to prevent depression in women. Before you go purchase a lifetime supply of fish oils, know that these research studies are constantly evolving. Though some may claim new dietary benefits one month, chances are those recommendations could change the next. Currently, researchers are still looking into the link between these fatty acids and depression. Also, they are continuing to look into fish oil consumption and diabetes in women. Make sure you conduct your own research or consult with a physician before initiating any supplementation.

Eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids doesn’t appear to stave off the blues in women, U.S. researchers have found.

Their study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adds to the conflicting evidence on the benefits of fish oil, which some research has hinted might help certain people with depression.

“We know that omega-3s are important in brain function,” study researcher Dr. Alberto Ascherio, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, told Reuters Health.

“We approached this work thinking that when it comes to preventing depression, it’s conceivable that you are what you eat,” he said.

But the researchers’ findings didn’t bear out that prediction.

The team followed nearly 55,000 nurses over 10 years. All the women, between 50 and 77 years old, were free of depression when the study began in 1996.

Over the next decade, five percent of them eventually developed clinical depression. But the risk was the same regardless of how much DHA and EPA — two omega-3 fatty acids — women got from eating fish.
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Fish rich in omega-3s include salmon, trout, sardines and herring.

The researchers did find preliminary signs that a plant-based omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid could play a role in mood.

For every increase of half a gram in daily intake of the substance –common in walnuts and canola oil, for instance — there was an 18-percent reduction in the risk of depression.

A study like the current one can’t prove cause-and-effect, and Ascherio said the area needs further research before any recommendations can be made.

His team also examined omega-6 fatty acids, but was unable to come up with conclusive findings on its impact on depression. Omega-6s are found in refined vegetable oils and are ubiquitous in snack foods, sweets and fast foods.

Depression strikes twice as many women as men, with one in five U.S. women experiencing the problem at some point.

Dr. Teodore Postolache, who directs the mood and anxiety program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, told Reuters Health he is not yet ready to give up on fish oil.

“There are inherent limitations on studies about depression, including determining with certainty what exactly depression is for patients,” Postolache said.

Using data from nurses, for example, can skew results because nurses are more educated in matters of health and diet than the general population.

“If groups who may have underlying deficits in fish oil were studied, like lower socioeconomic groups, we might have seen a more powerful effect of the omega-3s in preventing depression,” he said.

He also noted that the study excluded women who had previous episodes of depression, although this group is one of “the most important targets for intervention because they are at high risk for a repeat episode.”

He called for more research on animals and in broader swaths of the population.

(Yahoo Health)

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/kmB4rn American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2011.

Sick fish suggest oil spill still affecting gulf!

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A year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida beaches are relatively clean, the surf seems clear and the tourists are returning. But there are signs that the disaster is continuing to affect marine life in the gulf far from where humans can observe it.

Over the winter, anglers who had been working the gulf for decades began hauling in red snapper that didn’t look like anything they had seen before.

The fish had dark lesions on their skin, some the size of a 50-cent piece. On some of them, the lesions had eaten a hole straight through to the muscle tissue. Many had fins that were rotting away and discolored or even striped skin. Inside, they had enlarged livers, gallbladders, and bile ducts.

“The fish have a bacterial infection and a parasite infection that’s consistent with a compromised immune system,” said Jim Cowan, an oceanographer at Louisiana State University, who has been examining them. “There’s no doubt it’s associated with a chronic exposure to a toxin.”

He believes the toxin in question is oil, given where and when the fish were caught, their symptoms, and the similarity to other incidents involving oil spills. But he is awaiting toxicology tests to be certain.

Cowan said he hasn’t seen anything like these fish in 25 years of studying the gulf, which persuades him that “it would be a pretty big coincidence if it wasn’t associated with the oil spill.”

If he were a detective, he’d be ready to make an arrest.

“It’s a circumstantial case,” he said, “but at the same time I think we can get a conviction.”

Red snapper are reef fish that feed on mantis shrimp, swimming crabs and other small creatures found in the sediment on the gulf floor. Anglers catch them at anywhere from 60 to 200 feet deep. In addition to the snapper, some sheepshead have turned up with similar symptoms, Cowan said.

The fish with lesions and other woes have been caught anywhere from 10 to 80 miles offshore between Pensacola and the mouth of the Mississippi River, an area hit hard by last year’s oil spill, Cowan said.

“They’re finding them out near the shelf edge, near the spill site,” said Will Patterson, a marine biology professor at the University of West Florida.

Patterson, who has been studying reef fish in the gulf for past two years, has sent some of the strange catches to a laboratory for toxicology tests. He suspects Cowan is correct about the oil being the culprit but is withholding judgment.

Red snapper are a popular seafood, with a delicate sweet flavor whether served broiled, baked, steamed, poached, fried or grilled. Asked whether the sick fish might pose a hazard to humans who ate them, Cowan said nobody would want to touch these, much less cook them.

“It’s pretty nasty,” Cowan said. “If you saw this, you wouldn’t eat it.”

Most of the fishermen who caught the weird snappers tossed them back, weighed anchor and moved to another spot, he said. But a few dropped their suspect catch into a box separate from the healthy fish and brought them to shore to show to scientists.

Several of those scientists discussed the disquieting discovery at a conference at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg recently.

“We’re seeing fish anomalies, strange-looking fish,” said Richard Snyder, director of the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation at the University of West Florida, who has accompanied fishermen going out to collect samples for study. “Wound-healing is becoming an issue.”

The key is what happened to the livers and bile, said Ernst Peebles of the University of South Florida, who is far more cautious about attributing the lesions and discoloration to the spill because they could be caused by something else.

The liver, gallbladder and bile system filter out hydrocarbons — oil components — that the fish might consume while eating their prey. If those systems are enlarged, that means they have become stressed out. That, Peebles said, “is very consistent with the impacts of oil.”

If those systems quit working, that would compromise the immune system, Cowan said.

Does that mean the crustaceans and other prey that the red snapper have been eating are contaminated with oil? “I don’t think anybody’s looked,” said Cowan.

However, University of South Florida scientists have found some microscopic organisms called “foraminifera” — forams, for short — that are also showing signs that something troubling is going on in the gulf. Forams live on the gulf bottom and are eaten by worms, crustaceans and fish.

Ben Flower of USF said they have found forams in the gulf “with deformed shells. . . . It was striking.” There is evidence of hydrocarbons from oil in the sediment, but test results that could show if that’s the cause of the deformity are still in the works, he said.

The symptoms displayed by the red snapper are similar to something that happened four years after the 1989 Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska. In 1993 the herring fishery in Prince William Sound crashed. The herring succumbed to fungus and a virus — their immune systems had been compromised.

However, a 1999 report noted that “the extent to which the exposure to oil contributed to the 1993 disease outbreak is uncertain.”

Gil McRae, director of the state’s marine science laboratory in St. Petersburg, said he thought it was “irresponsible” for scientists to be attributing the red snapper’s symptoms to the spill without further testing and analysis.

All of the scientists involved said they were nervous about what impact this might have on the gulf’s seafood industry, which still has not recovered from the shutdowns and bad publicity during last year’s crisis. Peebles pointed out that any premature release of information could also scare fishermen away from helping the scientists investigate what was going on.

“Now we’re hiding information because political and economic interests don’t want you to say anything because it would affect economic interests,” said William “Bill” Hogarth, a former federal fisheries official who now oversees the Florida Institute of Oceanography. “But fishermen, they’re seeing fish that are deformed.”

Article provided by Craig Pittman

Fresh Fish Is Always Good For You

Fresh Fish | Foodfacts.com

Fresh Fish | Foodfacts.com

There’s a saying that “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” It applies to many things, including our health. It seems nowadays that most people want the abbreviated quick version of the story. Most people rely on the advice of their friends and family about diets and simply don’t want to read the book. Continue reading

All Hail The Lowly Sardine! Really?

Sardines

Sardines

Here at Food Facts, we have always enjoyed the special reporting style and ambience of National Public Radio broadcast news reports. They prominently include the location sounds that allow the listener to sense and visualize what is happening on the scene. This article from My Foodservice News orginated with this type of broadcast report, replete with the sounds of a bustling waterfront and seafood catch activity all around. MFN published this recently and we feel it is an entertaining and informative read. Continue reading