If you are even a little health conscious, you probably know that the essential fatty acids (EFA) are an integral part of good health. In addition, EFA’s promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. The most notable among the EFA’s are the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. The American Heart Association strongly recommends Omega 3 fatty acids to maintain good heart health. The AHA recommends you consume at least two servings of fish each week to ensure your body receives enough Omega 3 fatty acids to benefit you.
The AHA has spoken and you the public have heeded the recommendation. Researchers have found an upward trend in the consumption of fish. However, the upward trend of fish consumption is for the wrong kind of fish and may actually result in more harm than good. The two types of EFA’s noted above require a specific balance of consumption, only four omega 6 fatty acids should be consumed for every one omega-3 fatty acid. But many people consume up to 30 times more of the omega-6 fatty acids than the omega-3. So what is the problem and what does the type of fish have to do with it?
The imbalance of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to heart disease, cancer, asthma, and arthritis. Too much Omega-6 without the proper amount of Omega-3 to balance the amount can promote inflammation. And inflammation contributes to and promotes the incidence of chronic conditions. Evidence indicates higher levels of Omega-3 has successfully reduced inflammation and can therefore prevent the chronic diseases associated with inflammation.
Certain fish have high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Since our diets tend to be very high in Omega-6 fatty acids, eating the fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids is important to achieve a healthy balance of the EFA’s and to prevent disease. Both salmon and trout are touted as having high levels of the omega-3 fatty acid. But these are not the fish that consumers are choosing. Instead they are eating tilapia. Tilapia contains extremely low levels of omega-3 fatty acids therefore provides no assistance in balancing the two EFA’s.
Experts fear that people actively trying to control inflammatory diseases by consuming Tilapia to get the AHA’s recommended 1 gram per day each of the two most important omega-3’s (EPA and DHA) won’t get these essential nutrients. Since the omega-3’s are considered critical in controlling the inflammatory conditions, people diagnosed with one of the inflammatory conditions may not receive potentially life saving nutrients if their only using the tilapia fish as their source of Omega-3. It is important to eat the right fish, so make sure you choose a fish that is high in Omega-3’s. Eat trout and salmon and limit your consumption of tilapia.