You can add life – to the years ahead of you by taking up fish eating, especially if you suffer from heart disease. Fish eaters round the world (the Japanese, the Eskimoes) enjoy better health and longer lives. The secret lies in the peculiar type of fat called omega-3 fatty acids (LNA-alpha linotenic acid) in fish. This marine oil has untold health benefits. It protects the arteries by thinning the blood. It keeps unwanted clots from forming in two ways. (a) It makes your blood platelets less sticky & (b) it decreases the production of fibrinogen (a protein in your blood responsible for clot formation) The net result is a greatly reduced risk of a heart attack.
Arthritic: Further more Omega-3 fats are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that when Omega-3 fats and GLA (found in evening primrose oil) are taken together, it helps reduce arthritic pain. Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties similar to aspirin. This is probably one reason that fish is considered a heart-friendly food.
Allergies: More and more people sum to be suffering from allergies. This could be due to a breakdown of their immune system due to wrong food habits, consumption of wrong fats, and toxins in our air, food and water. Increasing intake of Omega-3 fats along with gamma linolenic acid may possibly normalize allergy conditions.
Diabetes: Type II diabetes can be prevented by correcting eating pattern, exercising regularly and eating fish at least thrice a week. It helps prevent glucose intolerance and reduces insulin resistance.
Breast Cancer: A Belgian study of breast cancer showed that fish eating populations had lower rates of breast cancer than non-fish eaters. The reason could be that Omega-3 fats found in fish discourages formation of protaglandins that encourage cancer cells to proliferate. Excess amount of Omega-6 (found in sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, corn oils) are implcated in cancer and other degenerative diseases. Omega-3 fats replace Omega-6 and prevent cell destruction and proliferation of cancer cells. Fish oils are known to decrease the size and number of tumors in animals.
Lowers Triglycerides: Omega-3 fats help lower triglycerides and increase HDL-the good cholesterol thus reducing heart risk. They also help in lowering the blood-pressure, improve psoraisis, bronchitis regulate heart beats and improves health in general.
Sources of Omega-3 fats:- So how does your body get Omega-3 fat if you are a vegetarian. Take heart! There are plenty of vegetarian sources that provide the beneficial Omega-3 fats or LNA (alpha linolenic acid). Flaxseed oil is the richest source of LNA or Omega-3 fats. Just one tablespoon contains seven grams of LNA. Flaxseed oil is unsaturated & therefore very unstable and get oxidised easily. Therefore it should not be overheated. Preferably it should be refrigerated & used as a salad dressing. You can buy flaxseeds (also called ‘Alsi’ in Hindi) and grind then into a fine meal called flaxmeal. One tablespoon of flaxseeds provides 3 gms of LNA and 3 gms of fiber additionally. You can consume one or two tablespoons daily to get your quota of Omega-3 fats. You can store flaxmeal in the refrigerator to preserve its freshness. Walnuts, green leafy vegetables, soyabeans, whole pulses are other vegetarian sources of Omega-3 fats. Fish oil supplements are also available in the market like cod liver oil. And if you are a fishetarian you should be eating fatty fish like Bangada, Rahu, Surmai, Bhetki, Tuna at least three times a week. Seafood is also rich in antioxidants like Selenium & Coenzyme Q-10, that help fight disease and promote health and longevity.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 8918131/+91 86575 61727
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