Why is fish an important part of a diet?

Discovery Health
Americans simply do not eat enough fish. Many health experts point out that Americans consume plenty of fat, way too much in fact, but not enough of the right kind-the kind found in fish. And while eating plenty of fatty substances, researchers note the correlation between the inequity of good vs. bad fat in diet and illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Fish provide a good source of omega-3 fats, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), important nutrients our bodies cannot manufacture and essential to its function. You can improve your health and diet simply by eating more fish like salmon or sardines which are fatty or you can add fish oil as a supplement.

Essential fatty acids are not created equally. Proportion is everything. Two types of fatty acids -- omega-3 and omega-6 -- are distinct from one another based on their molecular bonds. Your body can nutritionally benefit from the omega-6 fatty acids present in most vegetable oils, grains like those found in cereal, and eggs. And of course, fatty fish gives you those omega-3 nutrients. To improve your health, your goal is to consume these fatty acids in a 4:1 ratio, meaning for every four sources of omega-6 fatty acids, you should also take in at least one source of omega-3 fatty acids. The average American diet is closer to a 20:1 ratio.

As you can see, Americans need to eat lots more fish and lots less of other fatty foods. This imbalance creates a significant deficit in omega-3 intake and may contribute to multiple health problems including arterial clogging, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression. A myriad of symptoms are connected in various manners to inflammation that could be the root cause of many illnesses according to some researchers. It is thought that omega-3 may be highly potent in reducing inflammation.

Continue Learning about Health Value Of Foods

Health Value Of Foods

Health Value Of Foods

A healthy diet is rich in foods with high nutritional value, providing your body with the vitamins, minerals and other food nutrients it needs to protect against disease and maintain a healthy weight. To identify healthy foods, it...

's important to read nutrition labels and know the source of your food. Products advertised as whole-grain, organic or fortified may not necessarily be healthy for you. Find out how to get the most health value from various fruits, nuts, spices, oils and vegetables -- and learn which types of red meat and processed foods to avoid -- with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.