Eat Fish, It’s Good For You! Or Not So Much Anymore?

The first answer you hear when people are asked why they eat- or should eat- fish is usually “because of the omega-3 fatty acids.” And when asked why these fatty acids are important the mainstream answer is “because the brain needs these fats”.

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Well, that’s definitely part of the story. Omega-3s fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that your body needs for numerous body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and normal brain function. Omega-3s have been shown to help prevent heart disease and possibly stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis due to anti-inflammatory properties, and could be protective against certain types of cancer and other conditions.

But haven’t we already decimated our oceans on a very large scale? Shouldn’t we try to reduce eating fish? Sylvia Earle, one of the world’s leading marine biologists, sums it up really well:
download (6)In 50 years, through our actions we have seen a decline on the order of 90 per cent of the large predatory fish in the ocean. That means not just sharks, although sharks are in that category, but also tuna species, cod, swordfish, marlin. We can get away with taking some, but not on the scale that currently is undermining the basic processes that govern the way the world works.

Things such as mercury and the PCBs (poly chlorinated biphenyls), the materials that are in pesticides and herbicides that get concentrated through the food chain, and certainly one of the concerns is with mercury, that it’s not easily expelled. It does concentrate in creatures such as sharks and tuna and swordfish.”

We’ve seen the decline of coral reefs around the world partly because we’ve disrupted the basic functioning of those systems, taken away the predators, even taken away grazing species like manatees, like turtles, and more recently, like parrot fish and surgeon fish that once were not on anybody’s menu except a few local areas, but today they’re on the menu through the marketing expertise of Harrod’s in London, it’s just incredible.

So eating fish doesn’t just harm the oceans, it might even jeopardise our health (despite from the fact that fish contains a lot of unwanted substances, we know from scientific research that fish protein is still an animal protein and is found to be carcinogenic in higher doses).

So what to do? Are we supposed to eat fish or not?

Well, the good news is that the healthy fatty acids fish are famous for can also be found in the plant kingdom.

Good sources of omega-3s fatty acids include:

  • Canola and olive oils
  • Nuts (Walnuts,…)
  • Seeds (Ground flaxseed, sesame seeds, tahini,…)
  • Tofu
  • Leafy green veggies

 Here is an example of a quick, nutritious snack rich in omega 3s:

raw seed and fruit energy balls 

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The ingredient responsible for the omega 3s is tahini. Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It’s extremely versatile and can be used in cooking sweet and savory dishes. Even better, it’s packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Click here to get the recipe and more details on tahini’s amazing components http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=4607

I find that raw balls make a perfect school snack- they keep their flavor, shape and color and can quickly be devoured which is an extremely important factor given the fact that unfortunately, children get only very little time to eat at school).

Enjoy the snack!

Cheers,

Ursula

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