Halal Consumer - Issue 32 - page 15

Not only does enjoying fish for dinner reduce a person’s risk of heart disease
and provide outstanding nutrition, but it also improves neurological health and
performance. The
Journal of Gerontology
published a study in 2013 that found
“consumption of tuna and dark-meat fish once weekly or higher was associated
with lower decline in verbal memory for a period of 4 years” in women with a
mean age of 72 years old. Researchers also concluded in a 2014 article
published in the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
, “Dietary consumption
of baked or broiled fish is related to larger gray matter volumes […].” Gray
matter is often used as a synonym for intelligence.
Some people prefer to avoid seafood for fear of the negative
effects of mercury or other contaminants, but Mayo Clinic says
the positive health benefits of consuming fish outweigh the
negative. Additionally, selecting the right kind of fish can both
maximize the benefits and reduce exposure to these contaminants.
First, choose wild caught fish over farm-raised; wild caught fish
have less contaminants and have not been exposed to the
antibiotics, pesticides, and chemicals farm-raised fish have come
in contact with. Mayo Clinic also suggests selecting fatty fish
like salmon, tuna, trout, herring, and sardines because they
have the most beneficial polyunsaturated fats compared to
other fish.
One of the few natural sources of
vitamin D and iodine.
One role overlooked by many individuals is the crucial one fish consumption plays in regard to fetal
health and development. For healthy babies it is important their mothers consume seafood before
pregnancy and during all stages. Research shows women who eat fish before and during the first
trimester show better fetal growth and lower risk of early delivery. Additionally, eating fish during the
final trimester is associated with better brain development, and mothers who eat fish during pregnancy
and while nursing have babies who perform better on infant cognition tests according to Grazyna
Daczkowska-Kozon and Bonnie Sun Pan, editors of the book
Environmental Effects on Seafood Availabili-
ty, Safety, and Quality.
But it is important to note Daczkowska-Kozon and Sun Pan recommend pregnant
and nursing mothers consume fish no more than three times a week for maximum benefit.
Superior Nutrition
In addition to being packed with healthy polyunsaturated fats, fish are
optimal sources of lean protein, complete amino acids, vital vitamins, and
other nutrients. It is also important to mention fatty fish are one of the
few natural sources of vitamin D and iodine according to the
International
Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research
(2012).
Fetal Health and
Development
Neurological
Health
Consumption of tuna and dark-meat fish once weekly or
higher was associated with lower decline in verbal memory.
Better fetal growth, lower risk of early delivery,
and better brain development.
Selecting Fish for Better Health
SARENE ALSHARIF
is a nutritionist and an active member of the
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She earned her master’s in
public health in addition to certifications in sports nutrition and
gluten-free diets.
If you are concerned about mercury and other contaminants, the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers resources via their
website that will link you to fish advisories by location, fish
species, pollutant, and more.
When it comes to amounts, the American Heart Association
recommends having one serving of fish (three and a half ounces
or about the size of an iPhone) at least twice a week to promote
heart health, while pregnant women and children should not
consume fish more than three times a week.
Ready to incorporate seafood into your diet? Why not try pan-seared salmon
filets for dinner one evening? They only take 15 minutes to prepare. Or take
crackers and no-mayo tuna salad (recipe on page 20) to the office for a delicious
and healthy lunch. Be creative; there are oceans full of fish and numerous ways
to enjoy them.
Spring 2015
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