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< Introduction          WHYLLness 002 >

001 Eat fish 3x a week

              Including fish in your diet every day, or at least three times a week, protects you from deadly diseases such as heart diseases[1] and cancers. This may also help you live a longer healthier life.


Fish in diet and longevity

              The countries with the lowest rate of heart diseases like Japan have also the highest rate of fish consumption. In addition, Japan has the most number of people aged more than 100 years (centenarians). In the world, Japanese have the highest Healthy Life Expectancy of 74.5 years, while Filipinos have 58.9 years according to the World Health Organization (WHO(geographic.org; retrieved March 15, 2010).


Nutritional benefits from fish

              The fish is a quality source of protein, minerals, and vitamins. Fish is a good source of collagen that can make you look younger. Fish meat (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources of vitamin A and D.


Table 1. Nutrients and health benefits from eating fish

Nutrients from fish

Main health benefits



Omega-3 fatty acids; Q10


Vitamin D and Calcium

Vitamin A

Other vitamins & minerals

General nutrition

  Healthy skin

Healthy heart and brain

Cancer prevention

Healthy bones

Healthy eyes & skin

General health


Omega-3 fatty acids in fish

              Eating a variety of fish combined with a healthy diet reduces your risk of stroke and heart attack. Inuit people or Eskimos eat large quantities of fish rich in fats, making them relatively fat, yet they have the lowest incidence of heart diseases. This could be due to the good fats in fish including the essential omega-3 fatty acids.

              The nutritionally essential omega-3 fatty acids are: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), all of which are polyunsaturated [021] and are abundant in most types of fishes.

              The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, along with other nutrients, protect blood vessels from plaque, reduce inflammation, and prevent high blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood triglyceride levels[2] contributing to their remarkable cardioprotective effects.[3] Eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids also cuts the risk of developing cancers, particularly breast[4], prostate[5[ and colorectal cancers.[6] Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and can break the stress-inflammation cycle preventing cognitive decline as you grow old.[7]

              Even mackerel scad considered the "poor man's" fish in the Philippines and locally called "galunggong" is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Other than fish, walnuts and flaxseeds are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.


Risk of allergy and mercury from fish

              Some people are allergic to some types of fish, and sometimes to almost all types of fishes. If you have an allergy to a particular fish, consult an allergist or your personal doctor for advice on eating other types of fishes.

              Some sea fishes have traces of mercury (Hg), but only a small portion of these have mercury levels exceeding what is safe for people eating average amount of fish. Whenever it exists, the levels of DHA + EPA and other nutrients in fish likely offset the risk of ingesting Hg from fish.[8]

              Dishes served with a variety of fishes like the Japanese sushi and sashimi provide you with a wide spectrum of a healthy fish diet and fish fats, with less risk than eating a single fish that may have high mercury content.



1               K. Yamagishi, H. Iso, C. Date, M. Fukui, K. Wakai, S. Kikuchi, Y. Inaba, N. Tanabe, A. Tamakoshi, and Group Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk Study,  Journal of the American College of Cardiology 52 (12), 988 (2008).

2               M. Mattar and O. Obeid,  Nutrition & Health 20 (1), 41 (2009).

3               T. L. Psota, S. K. Gebauer, and P. Kris-Etherton,  American Journal of Cardiology 98 (4A), 3i (2006).

4               J. Kim, S. Y. Lim, A. Shin, M. K. Sung, J. Ro, H. S. Kang, K. S. Lee, S. W. Kim, and E. S. Lee,  BMC Cancer 9, 216 (2009).

5               K. Augustsson, D. S. Michaud, E. B. Rimm, M. F. Leitzmann, M. J. Stampfer, W. C. Willett, and E. Giovannucci,  Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 12 (1), 64 (2003)                 

6               N. L. M. Record Owner.

7               M. C. Morris, D. A. Evans, C. C. Tangney, J. L. Bienias, and R. S. Wilson,  Archives of Neurology 62 (12), 1849 (2005).

8               K. M. Smith, L. M. Barraj, M. Kantor, and N. R. Sahyoun,  Public Health Nutrition 12 (8), 1261 (2009).


         < Introduction          WHYLLness 002 >

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