Go Fish: Your Best Bet for Protein

Best Protein SourceDon’t skimp on your protein! The power of lean protein as a part of your everyday diet cannot be understated. Lean protein sources like poultry, Greek yogurt and soy are considered power-foods because they contain all the essential ingredients your body needs: High-quality amino acids for protein formation, nutrients like calcium and zinc, and antioxidants for optimum health.

However, there is a true source of protein that stands out over the rest as a nutritional “superfood.”

I am talking about fish. If you don’t know I’m a fan yet, here’s more proof!

Fish are not only just a great source of amino acids and vitamins like vitamin D and E, but they are also one of the best sources of the omega-3 family of fats, the consumption of which has been repeatedly linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease.

In fact, research has shown the regular intake of fish can significantly reduce the risk of developing diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The latest evidence I want to draw your attention to adds more weight to the case of fish reducing your risk of stroke.

This new research, published in Neurology, looked at the results of seven different studies from three countries, the U.S., Japan and Sweden, involving approximately 255,000 participants over an average of 14 years. The new analysis revealed that the risk of stroke could be reduced when people switched from eating red meats to eating more fish. Substituting one form of protein for another can dramatically affect your health, the study showed.

In fact, consuming more fish was shown to reduce the risk of stroke while consuming more red meat did just the opposite—it increased the risk of stroke.

This study also showed that for every 20 grams per day of fish eaten (no supplements, fish only), there was a concurrent reduced risk for stroke of 26%.

Here is the most important fact gleaned from this new report. From a public health perspective, the implications of this study show that approximately 1.5 million deaths attributed to stroke could be prevented every year on a global scale.

Let me break it down. How does the increased intake of fish reduce your risk?

Fish contain fats that can help reduce blood pressure and keep it within normal limits.

Fish contain the omega-3 fats which have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

Fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel containing the high concentrations of omega-3 fats help fight inflammation and plaque accumulation inside the arteries going to the brain and heart.

Eating more fish in lieu of red meat reduces the net consumption of red meat and this has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.

What are the optimum amounts of fish to consume? To get the full health benefits attributed to the consumption of more fish, try to eat at least three to four servings of fish every week.

Pass the tartar sauce, please!

Sources:
Anderson, P., “Protein, Especially Fish, Linked to Reduced Stroke,” Medscape website, June 12, 2014; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/826600.
Zhang, Z., et al., “Quantitative analysis of dietary protein intake and stroke risk,” Neurology June 11, 2014; doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000551.