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Food & Health : Agri. & Environ. Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Farmed catfish and tilapia not the best fish to eat for omega 3 fattyc acids
By Peter Pantel, Ph.D.
Jan 16, 2009 - 4:37:42 PM

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Health Info/Notes               

Dr Peter Pantel, Ph.D.                
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential (the body cannot make them) and provide a wide range of health benefits for people of all ages.
We are advised to eat fish because they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.  A study reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, December 2008, showed that farm raised tilapia fish and catfish (which most of us buy, possibly without knowing that they are farm raised) have much lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than the amounts found in wild tilapia and cat fish … actually 1/8th of the amount found in wild fish ... but they are cheaper, so we buy them thinking that we are taking good fatty acid nutriton.
Tilapia and catfish are the fifth most popular fish in the U.S. and in addition to being eaten as fish, they are also used to make fish sticks, fish burgers, artificial crab meat and other items.
In eating fish to obtain Omega-3 benefits one should consider this:

· Humans and (fish) must have, but cannot make their own fatty acids. They get it from their food
· In addition to Omega-3s, there is another group, Omega-6s, that is essential for a healthy fatty acids intake
· The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is one of the criteria for comparing health benefits of these fatty acids.
· The healthy Omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is between 1:1 to 1:2. In reality, the American intake ratio is close to 1:20. Farm raised Tilapia and Catfish average 1:11, similar to chickens.
Why the Fuss about Omega-3/Omega-6 Ratio?

Because this ratio is important in determining the level of our immune response to disease ... the higher the ratio the more likelhood of support for a hyper-immune reaction situation.
We eat tremendous amounts of Omega-6s, and not much Omega-3 from fast foods, snack foods/cakes and pre-prepared meals. … the Omega-6s are a lot cheaper than the Omega-3s so manufactures of these items make more profit by using oils rich in omega-6 in their preparation, and the buyer be damned.
It should be understood that Omega-6s are beneficial and necessary … the bad thing is an inbalance in the Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio..
Bottom line - Eat wild fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, anchovies, mackerel or herring. Or for Omega-3 concerns alone, cautiously take these fish raised in farms.
Or, take Flax oil or Sprouts (Flax seeds are difficult to take and must be ground before they become digestible) because they are extremelly rich im Omega-3 and low in Omega-6s.

Further, they eliminate the risk of mercury, insecticides and antibiotics and provide high amounts of soluble fiber and lignans.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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