Fish as a key component.

It is thought that eating a diet high in omega 3 polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA’s) is healthy. In fact many years ago it was shown that the Eskimo diet was associated with a near zero incidence of coronary heart disease. These and other later studies has led to the general concept that fish, fish oil and omega 3 is good.

This evidence no doubt contributed to the American Heart Association putting out the proposal that people should eat at least 2 servings of oily fish per week. Within the Mediterranean diet model many subjects may well have done this. However, it seems impossible to be so specific and offer blanket advice about this based upon the available evidence.

For example the guidelines offer no advice on the maximum level of consumption of fish and some scientists are concerned about the level of toxins in fish such as mercury in the food chain. Also we cannot say that the proposed benefits are only down to omega 3 considering the fact that fish also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals such as selenium which are also thought to protect against heart disease.

Fish is also a good source of protein in the diet of many communities and it seems more appropriate to view fish as a component part of a whole diet. We know from PREDIMED that fish is included in the Mediterranean diet context and that the outcome was positive. We do not know whether this was a specific effect of fish or because for example because fish is consumed there is less need to eat meat for its protein content.

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