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Farm-Raised Tilapia Fish May Increase Inflammation

Thursday, December 11, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: tilapia, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Farm-raised tilapia, one of the cheapest and most popular fish in the United States, may actually worsen the inflammation that leads to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other serious health problems, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

"For individuals who are eating fish as a method to control inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, it is clear from these numbers that tilapia is not a good choice," the researchers wrote. "All other nutritional content aside, the inflammatory potential of hamburger and pork bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia."

As researchers have discovered the importance of maintaining a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, many health professionals have recommended that people increase their fish intake as a way of getting more omega-3s. Numerous studies have found that omega-3s help reduce the inflammation that has been implicated in a wide variety of diseases including cardiovascular disease, asthma and allergies, autoimmune disorders, and arthritis.

Due to its low cost, tilapia has become the fifth most popular fish in the United States, and is particularly popular among people with lower incomes. It is the most commonly used fish for fish sticks, fish burgers and artificial crab.

Unlike many other fish, however, farm-raised tilapia contains particularly high levels of an unhealthy kind of omega-6. It also contains less than 0.5 grams of omega-3s per 100 grams of fish, in contrast to almost three grams in an equivalent amount of farm-raised salmon, and four grams in trout.

"We are all familiar with the classical Hippocratic admonition, Primum no nocere, 'First, do no harm.'" said researcher Floyd H. Chilton. "I think it behooves us to consider this critical directive when making dietary prescriptions for the sake of health. Cardiologists are telling their patients to go home and eat fish, and if the patients are poor, they're eating tilapia. And that could translate into a dangerous situation."

Sources for this story include: www.upi.com; www2.journalnow.com.

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