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Myths and facts: “fish is high in cholesterol”

06/08/2015

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Is all cholesterol bad? Is all seafood high in cholesterol? Where to find info on the nutritional benefits of different seafood?

The perception of seafood is that it raises the blood cholesterol in the body has always been present in the minds of many individuals, because it is said to contain high levels of fat and cholesterol. However, there are many facts about seafood that you should know before you give them up altogether.

Simply put there are two kinds of cholesterol in the body: the bad cholesterol (LDL) and the good cholesterol (HDL). The LDL can build up in the artery walls, which causes the arteries to block. Blockages of the arteries can lead to heart related problems such as heart attacks and strokes. The good cholesterol helps in the prevention of arteries getting clogged.

Seafood in general contains a high level of cholesterol (HDL), however it is low in saturated fats. Cholesterol found in seafood and other meats has little effect on blood cholesterol in most people. Saturated fats and trans fatty acids are the most important factors that raise blood cholesterol, not dietary cholesterol. Saturated fats are usually found in meat products and packaged foods. Trans fats, on the other hand, are also found in packaged snack foods, deep-fried foods or firm margarine containing hydrogenated oil. Seafoods total and saturated fat contents are low and can therefore fit into a heart healthy diet.

Fish is one of the richest sources of omega-3. It is essential to have foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet because they cannot be produced by the body. Omega-3 fatty acid helps in the reduction of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acid promotes the overall cardiovascular health. The omega-3 contents of seafood have also been known to help with other conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and multiple sclerosis. Fish like mackerel, tuna and sardines are very good sources of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

The best way to get information on specific nutritional benefits on variable seafood is using research materials that are free to view on the internet that have been made available by governments and health organizations. Documents such as this:

http://seafoodhealthfacts.org/pdf/seafood-nutrition-hp-nutrient-chart.pdf

There are also a great number of informational books such as “Seafood Handbook: The Comprehensive Guide to Sourcing, Buying and Preparation” (2009). .

Whatever the source it is important to always check the credibility of it. Additional information can always be provided by physicians and nutrition specialist as they can give you the best information on what works for you. We here at Crabit recommend keeping seafood in your menu and consuming regularly to ensure that all the good that seafood has to offer is found on your plate.

Citations:

http://seafoodhealthfacts.org/pdf/seafood-nutrition-hp-nutrient-chart.pdf
“Seafood Handbook: The Comprehensive Guide to Sourcing, Buying and Preparation” (2009).
http://www.healthcastle.com/seafood-fish-myths.shtml
http://www.healthcastle.com/cholesterol.shtml
http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/myth-or-fact-avoiding-seafood-will-help-you-to-lower-your-blood-cholesterol.html#b

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