Oily fish: Types, benefits, how much should we eat

Oily fish has been linked to many health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, improved mental ability, and protection from cancer, alcohol-related dementia, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Fish oil contains the two fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are believed to benefit the cardiovascular system.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests consuming at least two servings of fish, and especially oily fish, each week. A serving is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish, or about three-quarters of a cup of flaked fish.

Fast facts on oily fish:

Oily fish has been linked to many health benefits and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

From a nutritional point of view, oily fish is a good source of protein and omega-3s.

Large fish should not be consumed often, as trace elements of mercury in fish can cause illness over time.

Benefits have been suggested including a lower risk of dementia and cancer.

Types of oily fish

a piece of salmon
Oily fish like salmon can have a range of health benefits when part of a balanced diet.

Oily fish contain significant amounts of oil throughout their body tissues and in their belly cavity. Examples of oily fish include:

trout

salmon

sardines

pilchards

kippers

eels

whitebait

mackerel

herring

tuna

All these fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whether canned, fresh, or frozen.

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Health benefits of oily fish

Oily fish is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Both white and oily fish are good sources of lean protein. White fish contains fatty acids, but only in the liver, and in smaller quantities.

Cardiovascular disease

Consuming oily fish can help protect against cardiovascular disease, according to the AHA. A study published by the American Physiological Society suggests that fatty fish oils can also protect the heart during times of mental stress.

Rheumatoid arthritis

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