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Fish oil capsules on white paper with kids drawing of see and sun
Fish oil

According to a new survey two in three children nowadays consume fish less than once per week and may be missing out on optimal intakes of vital brain-building omega-3 fats.

Everyone should eat more fish, at list once or twice a week, as this may reduce the risk of a lot of diseases and disorders

• Asthma – children who eat fish may be less likely to develop asthma
• Brain and eyes – fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to the health of brain tissue and the retina (the back of the eye)
• Cardiovascular disease – eating fish every week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing blood clots and inflammation, improving blood vessel elasticity, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood fats and boosting ‘good’ cholesterol
• Dementia – elderly people who eat fish or seafood at least once a week may have a lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease
• Depression – people who regularly eat fish have a lower incidence of depression (depression is linked to low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain)
• Diabetes – fish may help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
• Eyesight – breastfed babies of mothers who eat fish have better eyesight, perhaps due to the omega-3 fatty acids transmitted in breast milk
• Inflammatory conditions – regular fish consumption may relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and autoimmune disease
• Prematurity – eating fish during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of delivering a premature baby.

The approximate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids per 60g serve of varieties of fish are:

  • Salmon (fresh Atlantic) 1,200mg
  • Smoked salmon 1,000mg
  • Canned salmon 500mg
  • Sardines 1,500mg
  • Trout (fresh rainbow) 350mg
  • Blue-eye, shark (flake), salmon, squid 250mg
  • Scallop or calamari 200mg
  • Sea mullet, abalone 170mg
  • Canned tuna 145mg
  • Sea perch 7mg
  • Fatty fish, like salmon, is high in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and minerals like iron and selenium. Omega-3s help support normal brain and eye development in infants and children.

Although there are different kinds of fish oil supplements, according to the modern researches, the best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish, rather than fish oil capsules.
It should also be mentioned that it is wise to avoid fish high in mercury. Excess mercury appears to affect the nervous system. Numb or tingling fingers, lips and toes, developmental delays in walking and talking in children, muscle and joint pain, increased risk of heart attack are among disorders caused by the excess mercury.

Fish high in mercury include shark, swordfish (broadbill) and marlin, ray, gemfish, ling, sea perch and southern blue fin tuna. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, women planning pregnancy and children up to six years old should avoid these kinds of fish.

So, summing up

  • Eating one or two serves of fish weekly is the way to reduce the risk of many serious diseases, from childhood asthma to prostate cancer
  • Avoid fish high in mercury such as shark, swordfish and marlin
  • Pregnant or planning pregnancy women and children up to six years of age should be very careful choosing the right kind of fish to eat
  • Healthy ways to enjoy fish include baked, poached, grilled and steamed

The best way to encourage kids to eat more fish is you as parents set an example and eat more fish. Your children more probably won’t eat it if you don’t, so make fish your family favourite!

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