Saturday, October 24, 2009

Go Ahead Eat Your (Salmon) Catch….It’s good for you!

To release or not release, is always question.  Over the years, as I share with people my passion for fly fishing, the conversation always seems to come back to the question, "do you eat your catch?"  Now, I have no problem eating fish.

Salmon is an excellent protein source which contains high levels of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, low levels of saturated fats and low levels of mercury. By knowing which types of fish are lower in mercury, the health benefits of fish can be obtained while minimizing the amount of mercury.


Salmon; (farmed, wild, canned, fresh and frozen), shrimp, prawns, rainbow trout, Atlantic mackerel and sole are all considered safe. Eat from this list without limiting servings per week. People absorb the mercury when the fish is eaten. And this can be particularly harmful to pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies and children as mercury can damage a growing brain.

Diets Rich in Saturated Fat vs. Omega-3s
Eating foods rich in saturated fats has been associated with the development of degenerative diseases, including heart disease and even cancer. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, however, are actually good for you.

Eating fish is part of a healthy diet, although advises consumers to ensure they choose fish low in mercury, especially if it is a regular part of their diet.

Omega-3s (found primarily in cold-water fish) fall into this category, along with omega-6s, another type of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in grains, most plant-based oils, poultry and eggs.

Fish absorb mercury found in the environment. Mercury cannot be removed or reduced by cleaning, preparing or cooking fish. 

Other Omega-3’s

Key omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), both found primarily in oily cold-water fish such
as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Aside from fresh seaweed, a staple of many cultures, plant foods rarely contain EPA or DHA.

However, a third omega-3, called alpha-linolenic acid (
ALA), is found primarily in dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oils, and certain vegetable oils. Although ALA has different effects on the body than EPA and DHA do, the body has enzymes that can convert ALA to EPA. All three are important to human health.

Improve heart health
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to play a part in keeping cholesterol levels low, stabilizing irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), and reducing blood pressure. Researchers now believe that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the omega-3s, is particularly beneficial for protecting against heart and vessel disease and for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are also natural blood thinners, reducing the "stickiness" of blood cells (called platelet aggregation), which can lead to such complications as blood clots and stroke.

While it IS still important to practice good catch and release tactics, it’s OK to keep your catch and enjoy it as a heart healthy meal.


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