How lucky are we that we live in a beautiful city that provides a variety of places in which to fish! Now, I find myself challenged on how I can relate fishing, something that I have yet to try, to health and wellness, one of my life’s greatest passions.
I’m grateful to know someone who can give a first-person perspective on what fishing does to someone’s state of mind. My nephew tells me that fishing instantly whisks him away from the stresses of the day. The first tug on the line brings a variety of mystery and excitement. He claims to be reinvigorated, totally forgetting about his current trials.
So, fishing is good for the soul and can fill your cup. Sounds like this relates very well to the wellness aspect, right?
But, what about fishing in relation to health? And what does eating fish do for us? I dug a little deeper and got to reading many tomes on fish and fish oils which contain the essential fatty acids, like Omega 3s. Boy, did I find myself in a land of confusion!
The easy part to understand is that fish and fish oil supply two-thirds of the Omega 3 fatty acids. There are three essential fatty acids (1. EPA, 2. DHA and 3. ALA) that our body can’t produce on its own. This means we need to eat fish, plants, and nuts, or take supplements, to fulfill that requirement.
Omega 3 plays an important role in our health. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA. But, ALA is found in leafy greens, walnuts, and flaxseeds. These three essential fatty acids protect the cellular membrane, keeping it selectively permeable, in order to provide the general functions of the brain, retina, and heart.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll summarize the fish oil studies. They suggest that fish oil, specifically, EPA and DHA fatty acids, reduces inflammatory joint pain, provides support for the nervous system, prevents high blood pressure and reduces metabolic syndrome, and many other disease states. The American Heart Association recommends a specific range for Omega 3s to maintain a balance against the other Omega Fatty acids, the Omega 6s, consuming 2-4 grams/day of EPA/DHA if with elevated Triglycerides under a physician’s supervision, and consuming oily fish if without documented cardiac disease.
Here’s where it can be confusing, as there are several physicians and scientists debunking the fish oil studies. This group suggests that all we need to do is to eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, sprouts, shoots, plants, nuts/seeds, and healthy fats, avoiding any fish oil supplements as they could contain mercury and create toxicity, increasing free radicals, when ingested. This group purports that this well-balanced diet will provide the body with enough ALA that it can then synthesize EPA and DHA itself.
A conundrum occurs because most of us follow the Standard American Diet which is hardly well balanced. It is highly processed, laden with sugar, acidity, toxicity, and, for the most part, devoid of nutritional value. Please note that wild-caught fish without exposure to manufacturing processes of farming are the fish that we are actually depending on for their health benefits.
So what do we do? Start by finding out exactly where your levels of micronutrients, essential fatty acids and antioxidants are. Find a physician who specializes in exactly that. Learn about your deficiencies, modify your nutritional habits, and add on pure and well-proven supplements. Lastly, adopt new lifestyle habits and continue collaborating with your physician.
Fishing is good for the soul and eating what’s caught is good for you!