HEALTH BENEFITS

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HEALTHY BENEFITS OF A SEAFOOD DIET

National Seafood Educators are committed to informing the public about the health benefits of a seafood diet. There are so many ways seafood benefits our body and National Seafood Educators has provided us with the following information:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are made up of:
• EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)-primary value is strong anti-inflammatory effect, immune enhancement, and cardiovascular health.
• DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)-essential for brain function, visual acuity, and signal transmissions.
• ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)-similar functions of EPA and DHA.

ALA is found in vegetable sources such as algae, flaxseed, kale, and nuts (as well as seafood) but is not as beneficial as EPA and DHA (found in seafood) since it takes 10 grams of ALA to make one gram of EPA/DHA. EPA and DHA, found in seafood, are “essential” nutrients that are not naturally manufactured in the body, and have just been given the heart health nutrient claim by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States.


Heart Health
Over 30 years ago, researchers were astounded when they discovered that populations that ate large amounts of seafood had significantly low, or almost nonexistent, levels of heart disease. There is almost no heart disease among native Inuit peoples of Greenland who have long consumed large amounts of seafood that are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids. Similarly, the Japanese, Scandinavians, Dutch, Sardinians and those Americans who regularly eat seafood have low rates of heart attacks.

Worldwide research has indicated the EPA and DHA omega-3s from seafood may help hearts to:
• maintain normal heart rhythms
• reduce inflammation
• reduce chance of stroke
• lubricate red blood cells to slide through closing arteries
• reduce the formation of blood cells
• relax the walls of blood vessels.

The American Heart Association recommends adopting healthy food habits that include at least two-3 ounce servings of seafood per week which reduces the major risk factors for heart attack-high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excessive weight.

Alzheimer’s
Alzheimers is, in part, an inflammatory disease. Researchers have found that since omega-3s have anti-inflammatory characteristics, it was natural that elderly people who ate more fish high in omega-3s had better mental function.

A seven year study reported in the Archives of Neurology concluded, “Participants who consumed fish once per week or more had 60% less risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who rarely or never ate fish.”

Weight Loss
Rachael Batterhorn, British scientist at University College in London reports that eating more seafood increases the level of a hunger fighting hormone called peptide YY. Many studies show eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, mackerel, and herring) are more filling and aid weight loss.

Diabetes

Studies suggest that overweight people that follow a weight loss program including exercise tend to achieve better control over their blood sugar and cholesterol levels when fish rich in omega -3s is a staple in their diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids in polyunsaturated fats found in fish and shellfish may help ward off Type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, eating fatty fish may protect you from a heart attack.

Cancer
Continuing research shows the benefits that eating seafood rich in omega-3s may provide in the prevention of cancer:
• helping healthy cells resist damage from tumor–producing cells
• interfering with tumor growth
• inhibiting the spread of the tumor throughout the body.

Ongoing studies of prostate, colon, and breast cancer promise emerging information about the benefits of a seafood diet.

Infant Health

A pregnant woman needs extra omega-3 fatty acids because the rapidly growing brain of her fetus uses omega-3s from her body. This crucial fat, necessary 3-4 weeks after conception, is used by the fetus for building brain tissue, for nerve growth, and development of the eye’s retina. Mothers eating generous amounts of seafood give their babies lots of DHA that reduces incidence of premature birth and increases birth weight, according to scientists at a recent Seafood and Health Alliance Conference in Washington D.C.

The brain continues to grow two years after birth, so DHA from breast milk is important as well as seafood consumption by children.

Pre-natal omega-3s intake studies suggest that more omega-3s make children smarter.

Depression
Omega-3 researcher Andrew L Stoll, M.D., Director of the Psychopharmocology Research Laboratory at Harvard’s McLean Hospital relates that emerging studies show omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic value in the treatment of:
• depression
• post-partum depression
• stress
• schizophrenia
• attention deficit hyperactive disorder
• manic depressive (bipolor disorder)

An abstract of Psychiatric Clinic of North America publication states that geographic areas with high consumption of DHA omega-3s have decreased rates of depression.

For even more information please visit NationalSeafoodEducators.com