|health & fitness|
Seafood - A Natural Remedy for Many Diseases
Although there is a very large amount of biomedical research into the role of the trace elements in our nutrition going on, few medical people outside of this research are aware of it.
Nevertheless, some of the many health benefits of a diet high in seafood are beginning to be widely recognized in the biomedical community.
|However, all attention still revolves around the omega-3 fatty acids in seafood. And while the omega-3 fatty acids play a vitally important role, the complete natural range of the 72+ nutritional trace elements in all seafood perform a far more potent and far more powerful function. But this still remains to be recognized by the biomedical people.|
These articles are, in fact, a good illustration of the large gap of new knowledge between the investigators of the trace elements and general medical and nutritional practitioners.
Mayo Clinic Health Letter, July 1998
Fish is not only one of the leanest protein sources available, but it also offers your cardiovascular system another potential benefit — omega-3 fatty acids. Research indicates that these fatty acids appear to have a positive influence on a number of heart health factors. In the late 1970s, surprising findings were published about the dietary habits of Greenland Eskimos.
Researchers reported that Eskimos had a low rate of heart attacks despite eating a high-fat diet that included about a pound of fatty fish and whale meat daily. The key appeared to be the type of fat — a class of polyunsaturated fatty acids known as omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are found primarily in fish. Some fish — particularly fatty, cold-water types such as salmon, mackerel and herring — contain relatively high amounts. Omega-3s are also available to a lesser degree in foods such as green leafy vegetables, soybeans and nuts. Many attempts have been made to pin down the exact benefits of omega-3s in the diet. Findings vary, in part because foods are complex chemical and nutrient packages. It's difficult to prove if an effect is due to one particular component in the food, several components, or an interaction of different components. However, research indicates that eating fish on a regular basis may:
Lower certain blood fat levels — A diet rich in omega-3s may reduce triglyceride levels in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood used as energy. If there is an excess, it's stored in your body as fat. Persistently high triglyceride levels may add to your risk for coronary artery disease.
Reduce the risk of dangerous blood clotting — Omega-3 fatty acids act as a natural anticoagulant by altering the ability of platelets in the blood to clump together. The platelets become less sticky, so clot formation is less likely.
Lower blood pressure — Several studies have examined the effects omega-3s may have on blood pressure. One study compared people on a fish-based diet with those on a vegetarian diet. The group eating fish had a lower incidence of borderline or high blood pressure.
Nutritionists generally recommend at least two meals of fish every week for possible heart benefits. Fresh fish or fish that's frozen when fresh (nonprocessed) is your best choice. Avoid batter-coated, fried products, such as fish sticks. For higher amounts of omega-3s, eat fatty cold-water fish (mackerel, salmon, halibut, herring). Other fish have lower amounts.
Fish oil capsules aren't recommended as a substitute for fish in your diet. In high doses, they may pose risks, especially if you're regularly taking aspirin or blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
Sudden Cardiac Death
Eating at least one fish meal per week may cut in half the risk of sudden cardiac death in men, according to an article in the January 7 '99 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Christine M. Albert, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass., and colleagues. The researchers found that eating fish at least once a week was associated with a 52 percent lower risk of sudden death compared with those eating fish less than once a month. A type of fat found in seafood (n-3 or omega-3 fatty acid) also was associated with a reduced risk of sudden death, but less significantly. However, fish and n-3 fatty acid consumption was not related to risk of heart attack, coronary heart disease death or nonsudden cardiac death. Approximately 250,000 sudden cardiac deaths occur in the United States every year. Of the sudden deaths, 55 percent have no previous history of heart disease and most die prior to reaching the hospital. The researchers write: "All levels of fish consumption were associated with a decreased risk of sudden death, but the size of reduction did not appear to differ substantially at levels of consumption greater than one fish serving per week, suggesting a threshold effect. This small amount of fish may be sufficient to provide an essential amount of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid or some unidentified nutrient or both that decrease sudden cardiac death." Fatty fish includes tuna, salmon, mackerel and shellfish.
American and Northern European men with high blood pressure are three times more likely to die of a heart attack than men with the same blood pressure from Japan or the Mediterranean coast of Europe, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Although genetics may explain some of the difference, diet also plays an important part, the researchers said. "As compared with the diets in Northern Europe and the United States, the Mediterranean diet at base line contained less meat and fewer dairy products, but more olive oil, fish, fruits, vegetables and alcohol," they said.
The 25 year study followed 12.301 men for 25 years who were between 40 and 59 years-old when enrolled. After adjusting for age, smoking and cholesterol levels, the study found the highest rates of death from coronary
heart disease among Northern European and American men. "If you eliminate the factors that we know about, which are largely lifestyle issues - smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and diabetes - you can eliminate somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of disease in our population,'' Pasternak said.
Attention Deficit Disorder
(CNN) -- Sixth grader Marc Schmid and his mother, Mary Anna, say they are true believers in the saying, "you are what you eat." A year ago, performance tests suggested Marc had attention deficit disorder. He was smart enough, but had trouble concentrating. The school counselors recommended medication. "I really didn't want to try Ritalin first," Mary Anna Schmid said. Instead the Schmids embarked on a natural approach: dietary changes with emphasis on essential fatty acids.
One of these, omega-3 is notable scarce in the typical American diet. But according to some experts, it may be necessary for good health, both physical and mental. For many, supplements may be best way to get enough of the fatty acid. "If you give supplements, the blood fatty acid levels change and the behavior of the children changes," said nutritional researcher Jacqueline Story. "I've seen that in my own research."
Mary Anna Schmid said within weeks of changing his diet, her son was doing better in school. "The teachers noticed a difference in his behavior at school; more outgoing, more self-assured; he was participating more in class," she said. William Lands, a researcher with the National Institutes of Health, said Americans suffer an
imbalance in fatty acids -- too much omega-6, found in vegetable oils, deep fried foods, dressing and margarines, and too little omega-3, found in fish and some vegetables. "What we do know is that the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids do affect our hormone responses very definitely," Lands said. Omega-6 is linked to hormonal overload which plays some role in arthritis, asthma and other diseases involving the immune system. Omega-3, however, has a calming effect on hormone production which may help relieve some immune system diseases as well as mental conditions ranging from depression to attention deficit.
Data courtesy of CNN News 1999
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