How often do you have fish in a week? During consultations, typical answers include: “I eat fish but not very often. If I were to quantify the frequency of fish consumption, it would be a couple times a month.”
When asked what type of fish an individual consumes, the typical answer includes: sole/tilapia/haddock/halibut. When asked about fatty fish intake, the answer is variable. The initial answer is “I like salmon” but I don’t have it too often”. With a gentle reminder that tuna is also considered a fatty fish, many individuals will say “Oh yes! I have that often as part of my lunch.”.
Why do individuals not eat fish:
- They don’t like the taste and/or smell.
- They are concerned about mercury levels.
- They are concerned about farming practices; therefore, the choice is limited.
- Dietary restrictions (e.g. lacto-ovo vegetarianism or veganism)
If you are concerned about mercury levels, did you know that you had to eat 53 lbs of salmon OR 10 lbs of light flaked tuna (skipjack) OR 3.5 lbs of albacore tuna per week before you run the risk of mercury overdose?
Did you know? Seafood (fish included) naturally contains selenium, a nutrient beneficial for our brain and nervous system to function normally. This mineral will naturally bind to mercury to help protect us from having too much mercury in the system.
If you are concerned about farming practices, are you aware of the marine stewardship council and/or aqua sterwardship council certification?
The REAL risk: If you are not eating enough fish in a week, you are at risk for not getting essential health benefits.
Why is fatty fish such an integral part in keeping your skin healthy and happy? Omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid (EFA), are highest in the fatty fish varieties (e.g. mackeral, tuna, sardines, herring, trout, Arctic Char and salmon). If you are an individual who does not like salmon, try Arctic Char or Trout. They are thinner than salmon and typically do not have a “fishy” smell and/or taste to them.
How often should you be consuming fatty fish? At minimum, you should aim to have fatty fish at least twice a week (a minimum of 8 oz./week). I personally aim to have fatty fish at least three times per week (12 oz./week). Make it a goal for yourself to have #seafood2xWk.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid For Healthy Skin:
With a fat free diet, skin can become very dehydrated and dry as the skin is deprived of omega-3 fats (EFAs). The skin barrier is made up of many types of lipids, including phospholipids, cholesterol and free fatty acids. When the skin doesn’t have enough of these fats, water can easily escape through the barrier, allowing skin to be dehydrated.
Healthy fats provide the framework necessary for well moisturized skin. EFAs are polyunsaturated fats that help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier, critical to keep the skin hydrated and vibrant. Omega-3 fatty acids do possess anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, if someone suffers from acne, some of the inflammation can be reduced. If someone suffers from psoriasis, when treatment combines medication and EFA supplementation, best results are achieved.
For individuals who do not like fish but would like a boost of essential fatty acids, a supplement is another great option. High-quality fish oil supplements are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that can hydrate your skin from within. When choosing a fish oil, make sure you’re paying attention to the milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – the actual omega-3 content which is what replenishes dry skin.
Here’s What I Like:
In 1 teaspoon, I would be getting 750 mg of EPA and 500 mg of DHA. I like this product as it’s a product I can easily incorporate into my life. Because it’s a liquid supplement, I can put a teaspoon into my oatmeal, smoothie and/or soup. As this is a product which comes in many flavours (lemon, mango, apple), you can always take it by itself by mouth. It does not taste bad. 🙂
As many individuals do consult with a naturopath, I have familiarized with Metagenics omega-3 supplement. Metagenics does also have a very good high EPA and DHA omega-3 product.
There are many other brands now which have come out with a liquid high dose omega-3 supplement. You have to figure out what you like. Remember- The most important lesson learned today is that you are missing out by not getting enough fish in your diet every week. Start increasing your fish intake.
PLEASE NOTE: If someone can’t eat fish due to dietary restriction (e.g. vegetarianism and/or veganism), plant based omega-3 sources are available through flax, chia, hemp, almonds,walnuts and blue algae. From plant based sources, the EFAs are in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is not as easy to absorb by the human body; a very small percentage can be converted to EPA and DHA so it still can be helpful. If you do need to consume plant based sources for omega-3 fatty acids, you need to make sure you are consistent and have a serving of these types of food at least once/day. Supplementation is available; the source would be from blue algae.
Because I mentioned that ALA is not as easy to be absorbed by the human body, my recommendation and/or preference is for individuals who can eat fish to eat fish.
As a Registered Dietitian, I always try to encourage to have food first before considering supplementation so here is my favourite type of tuna. I used to be an individual who would buy Cloverleaf Light Flaked Tuna (Skipjack) and add avocado and/or a bit of mayo with a little bit of vegetables; however, once I discovered Rio Mare, I just could not go back to Cloverleaf anymore. Rio Mare, I am hooked on you now.
Make sure to drain the oil from the can but every bite of this tuna is absolutely delicious.
Call To Action: Would you consider becoming more of a pescatarian? Will you increase your fish intake? If you are unable to eat fish, will you consider supplementation? Remember- without fat in your diet, your skin can become dry and dehydrated. Because omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties, consumption of EFAs can help with acne and/or psoriasis.