There’s no denying the fact that fish is thought to be one of the healthiest foods out there, as noted by Healthline. For many people, fish may not be the most appetizing option, but the merits of eating a diet with a good amount of fish in it tend to outweigh any negatives. Additionally, eating fish is actually better for the environment than eating meat is, so many people have adopted pescatarian diets in order to reduce their carbon footprints, according to Oceana.org. And it turns out that there are some fish most people aren’t eating that they definitely should be.
That said, is fish really that good for you? Are the positive effects of eating fish really worth it? Moreover, what happens to your body when you eat fish every day? Well, the truth is a little more complicated than you might think. While fish is certainly a healthy source of protein and does have a lot of perks, that doesn’t necessarily mean that eating it every day will change your entire life. On the other hand, there could be a lot of changes to your body if you were to incorporate fish into your daily diet.
You may boost your brain’s health if you eat fish every day
There are so many health benefits to eating fish that it can be hard to keep track of them all. But if you eat fish every day, you’re likely going to have a healthy brain. Because fish is high in omega-3, your brain may benefit from the increase in fish to your diet. “Omega-3 intake is positively linked to a healthy brain,” according to the Global Organization of EPA and DHA Omega-3s, as reported by BuzzFeed News.
Additionally, a study published in JAMA Neurology (via National Institutes of Health) found that eating fish regularly can actually help manage the cognitive decline that tends to happen with age. “Fish intake was associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in mixed models adjusted for age, sex, race, education, cognitive activity, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and total energy intake,” per the study. That isn’t to say that eating fish every day will magically raise your IQ or help you pass a big test, but it has been proven to help with cognitive ability, which is pretty cool. So why not consider learning recipes to help you eat more fish?
You could help your eye health if you eat fish every day
Much as your brain and cognitive abilities tend to decline as you get older, so does your vision. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in adults (usually older adults), and it’s definitely something people want to prevent if they can. That said, one way to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration is to add fish to your daily diet.
In fact, according to one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (via National Institutes of Health), “fish intake, the major source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.” Specifically, “eating oily fish at least once per week compared with less than once per week was associated with a halving of the odds of [neovascular age-related macular degeneration],” the study noted. Now, this doesn’t mean that eating fish every day will give you X-ray vision or mean that you don’t need glasses anymore, but all the omega-3s and healthy fats in fish can assist in preventing age-related macular degeneration, according to Healthline, which is a pretty big deal.
If you’re pregnant, eating fish every day could help your baby’s health
If you’re pregnant or have ever been pregnant, then chances are, you’ve heard all about the kinds of foods you can’t eat while growing a human. Not too much caffeine, no deli meat, no alcohol, and so on. However, eating fish while pregnant is great. Well, within reason. Because fish is high in mercury, “pregnant women should only eat low-mercury fish, such as salmon, sardines, and trout, and no more than 12 ounces (340 grams) per week,” according to Healthline. And pregnant women should also only eat cooked fish, per the site.
That said, the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) found in fish are great for growing a healthy baby. According to a study published in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine (via National Institutes of Health), “the fetus and neonate should receive LC-PUFA in amounts sufficient to support optimal visual and cognitive development.” But that’s not all. The study also found that “the consumption of oils rich in n-3 LC-PUFA during pregnancy reduces the risk for early premature birth,” noting, “Pregnant and lactating women should aim to achieve an average daily intake of at least 200 mg DHA.”
Fish is awesome when you’re pregnant — just don’t eat more than 12 ounces each week.
You may be less likely to suffer a heart attack if you eat fish every day
Just about everyone wants to have a healthy heart. According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is a leading cause of premature death across the globe. Naturally, you would want to do everything you can to prevent that from happening to you. Because of all the omega-3s in fish, it’s one of the healthiest foods for your heart, according to Healthline.
Additionally, numerous studies have linked an increase in eating fish with a healthier heart and a decreased risk of heart disease or failure. According to one study published in Public Health Nutrition (via National Institutes of Health), “either low (1 serving/week) or moderate fish consumption (2-4 servings/week) has a significantly beneficial effect on the prevention of [coronary heart disease] mortality.” Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (via NIH) found that “modest fish consumption was associated with a lower risk of total cardiovascular disease, consistent with cardiac mortality.” And finally, yet another study published in Medical Science Monitor (via NIH) discovered that “long-term fish intake is associated with reduced levels of the most common cardiovascular disease risk markers in a cohort of elderly people.”
In short, eating fish every day might just make you less susceptible to heart attacks, and that’s a pretty good reason to eat up.
If you eat fish every day, you may be less likely to suffer a stroke
Having a stroke is definitely a traumatic event, and not one anyone wants to experience. But unfortunately, strokes are fairly common. For instance, carotid atherosclerosis, when there is a blockage halting blood from going to your brain, oftentimes leads to stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, cerebrovascular diseases can lead to a risk of stroke and is the fifth-most common cause of death in the United States, according to Medical News Today. Fortunately, eating a diet rich in fish has been shown to decrease those risks.
According to one study published in Nutrition Journal (via National Institutes of Health) “high habitual fish consumption seems to be associated with less carotid atherosclerosis.” And that’s not all. Another study shared in The BMJ (via NIH) found that “the beneficial effect of fish intake on cerebrovascular risk is likely to be mediated through the interplay of a wide range of nutrients abundant in fish.” Strokes may be common, but eating fish every day might just decrease your risk of experiencing one.
Eating fish every day could help manage depression
While eating fish can certainly have a lot of impact on one’s physical health, the source of protein can also help with one’s mental health. Depression is a serious health condition and can impact a person’s entire life. “It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Additionally, “an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode” in 2017, per the site, so clearly many likely know depression symptoms people should know about and understand what happens to the body when you’re depressed.
As hard as depression can be to manage, a diet rich in fish could actually help. According to a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (via National Institutes of Health) for someone diagnosed with depression, “dietary recommendations suggesting proper intake of omega-3 PUFA and dietary interventions including omega-3 PUFA supplement can result in substantial benefits for the general population.” As fish are rich in omega-3s, if you eat fish every day, symptoms of depression and depressive episodes might actually decrease.
You may become happier if you eat fish every day
Everyone wants to be happy — that’s no secret. But unfortunately, one of the key factors of happiness, vitamin D, tends to be lacking in most people. Specifically, according to a study from Nutrition Research (via National Institutes of Health), “vitamin D deficiency was common in the US population, especially among blacks and Hispanics.” Additionally, “vitamin D deficiency is linked to some of the important risk factors of leading causes of death in the United States,” which means that a lack of vitamin D can literally be deadly.
That said, “increasing fish consumption or changing consumption patterns could be beneficial and result in noticeable improvements in vitamin D status,” another study found. As vitamin D can play a huge role in making people happier, eating fish every day could actually make you happier, as well as prevent risk factors for death. Again, eating fish every day doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always be happy, but it can definitely help boost your mood.
You might not have as many asthma-related issues if you eat fish every day
One of the most common diseases in America is asthma, which is marked by the swelling of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, “more than 25 million Americans have asthma,” noting, “This is 7.7 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children.” That said, just because asthma is common, doesn’t mean it can’t be helped. In fact, if you eat fish every day, your body might actually be able to help with symptoms of asthma.
“Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties,” researcher Maria Papamichael told Science Daily. “Our study shows eating fish just twice a week can significantly decrease lung inflammation in children with asthma.” Additionally, a study from the PLOS One (via National Institutes of Health) found that “intake of fish or [long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids] in expectant mothers or infants is inversely associated with asthma development, particularly, in childhood.” Fish have a lot of great health benefits, but, if you or your children suffer from asthma, that might just be reason enough to eat it every day.
In kids, eating fish every day might reduce the risk of diabetes
Diabetes is a serious health concern across the world, and especially in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The annual number of children and adolescents age 10 – 19 years diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was 5,300,” and a total of 30.3 million Americans suffer from diabetes as of 2017. That’s a severe problem and one that only seems to be getting worse.
Fortunately, diabetes can be managed, and a healthy diet is one way to accomplish that. Specifically, fish has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes in both children and adults. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (via National Institutes of Health) reported, “Cod liver oil may reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes, perhaps through the [anti-inflammatory] effects of long-chain n-3 fatty acids.” Another study found that “fatty fish consumption may reduce the risk of [latent autoimmune diabetes in adults], possibly through effects of marine-originated omega-3 fatty acids.” Again, eating fish every day won’t magically cure all your problems, but as far as diabetes is concerned, it could definitely reduce your risk.
For adults, eating fish every day might mean a decreased risk of autoimmune disease
There are a lot of different autoimmune diseases out there, and each one is complicated in its own way. But according to Healthline, they “occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissues.” Fortunately, a diet rich in fish can help prevent certain autoimmune diseases.
For instance, one study published by Arthritis Research & Therapy (via National Institutes of Health) found that there was a “significant inverse association between fish consumption and [rheumatoid arthritis].” Additionally, a different study discovered that “fatty fish intake might decrease the risk for [multiple sclerosis].” The study continued, “A hypothetical explanation is that intake of fatty fish may compensate for vitamin D deficiency that is associated with increased MS risk.”
Though there hasn’t been a ton of evidence to support fish helping with other autoimmune diseases, the fact that it miight decrease the risk of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis might just make you want to eat it every day.
You could sleep better if you eat fish every day
There’s no denying the fact that getting enough sleep is something that most adults wish for just about every day. In fact, sleep deprivation is a common struggle for many adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.” Additionally, a study published in Medical Hypotheses (via National Institutes of Health) found that “sleep disorders have become epidemic because of widespread vitamin D deficiency.”
Fortunately, fish is a great source of vitamin D, which means that eating it every day might mean your sleep could improve. In fact, another study actually uncovered that “fish consumption seemed to have a positive impact on sleep in general and also on daily functioning.” As vitamin D has many positive impacts on your health, eating fish every day means that not only are you going to get more vitamin D, but you’ll also probably sleep better. No need to discover firsthand what really happens to your body when you don’t sleep!
Eating fish every day may help prevent Alzheimer’s
One of the most common degenerative diseases in America is Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans are living with the disease. As anyone who has seen The Notebook knows, Alzheimer’s can really put families through a tough time, so it would make sense that people would want to decrease their chances of getting it. And per research, fish might help with that.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, “moderate seafood consumption was correlated with lesser Alzheimer disease neuropathology.” On top of that, the Harvard School of Public Health found that “eating fish once or twice a week may also reduce the risk of stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic conditions.”
Eating fish every day might not make you automatically remember everything from your childhood or be able to recall tiny details you normally would forget, but it can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, which is incredible.
You could help clear your acne if you eat fish every day
No matter who you are, you’ve probably gotten a pimple at least once in your lifetime. Acne is totally normal, and, according to Medical News Today, up to 50 million Americans struggle with acne, and it’s usually totally treatable. However, sometimes it might feel as though nothing you’ve tried is helping to clear your acne. Enter: fish. As crazy as it might seem, eating fish every day could destroy your acne.
In fact, a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease (via National Institutes of Health) found that taking fish oil supplements helped clear up acne. “There is some evidence that fish oil supplementation is associated with an improvement in overall acne severity, especially for individuals with moderate to severe acne,” per the study. So, if you eat fish every day and get in all those wonderful and powerful Omega-3s and fatty acids, you might start to notice a clear complexion sooner rather than later.
Eating fish probably won’t fix all your problems
It’s obvious that eating fish has a lot of health benefits, but that doesn’t mean that eating it every day will actually do much of anything for you. In fact, one man actually went on a mission to find out if eating fish often could actually improve his health, and he ate fish every single day for an entire year. But in the end, not much had changed.
Paul Greenberg, who went on said fish mission, released a documentary about his journey, The Fish on My Plate. “I’ve got slightly elevated blood pressure,” he said in the documentary, according to BuzzFeed. “I’ve got cholesterol issues. I have depression issues. I have sleep issues, and I don’t like it. So I started to listen to the soft purr of the omega-3 industry: This is everything they’re supposed to fix.” But after a year, his health was “virtually the same” and “unchanged.”
Fish may be good for you, but it’s not magic. And eating it every day certainly won’t fix all your problems.