Seafood is still a catch. You’ll be hooked on these light summer recipes
In spite of all the conflicting news about seafood, we’re still hooked on fish. And for good reason: it’s high in protein, low in saturated fat, rich in omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, and loaded with other important nutrients, including zinc and other minerals. But bad news about toxins, even radiation, in fish have us wondering if it’s such a catch after all. Some species are contaminated with mercury, a heavy metal that’s toxic to the nervous system and has been linked to Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases. Other toxins in fish include polycholorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have been shown to cause cancer.
However, encouraging news: one recent study found that people who ate seafood had a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, and that the benefits of eating seafood outweighed potential risks from exposure to toxins. These and other studies suggest that, rather than scaling back, seafood lovers should choose wisely.
TIP: Visit the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector guide for up-to the-minute safe seafood choices (www.oceansalive.org).
Photos by: Pornchai Mittongtare
Purified supplements ensure a toxin-free source of omegas
By Vera Tweed
More than 8,000 human studies have been carried out on fish and omega-3s, showing reduced chronic internal inflammation that underlies heart disease, reduced risk of stroke, improvements in diabetes, and a host of other ills—from PMS to rheumatoid arthritis. To maintain good health, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings per week of fatty fish, but according to a study of 21,675 people published in Neurology, fewer than one in four Americans over the age of 45 eats that much. This is where supplements can help fill in the gaps.
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil supplements should provide the two key omega-3s: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Both are essential nutrients, meaning we must get them from our diet.
On the label, look for the amount of EPA and DHA per serving, as some products are formulated to contain higher percentages of these omega-3s, and choose toxin-free products. According to a Scientific Statement by the AHA, 0.5 to 1.8 grams daily of an EPA/DHA combination (approximately 1.6 to 6 g of most fish oils) significantly reduces risk of death from heart disease and all other causes.
Krill Oil Supplements
Krill are tiny shrimplike creatures eaten by whales and small fish that contain omega-3s. The EPA/DHA content in krill is only about 14 percent, compared to approximately 30 percent in fish oil. However, the structure of krill fat makes it more absorbable, so a smaller amount may be required, according to a review of human studies in Alternative Medicine Review.
The EPA/DHA in krill is bound to phospholipids, fat-like substances that make up cell membranes in both krill and humans, and this enhances delivery of the omega-3s to our cells. And, krill oil naturally contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant.
Therapeutic doses of krill oil, to improve health states, range from 1 to 3 g of the oil daily, and a maintenance dose is 500 mg daily, according to a review of available research in Alternative Medicine Review.