(NaturalNews) More and more research is uncovering the beneficial qualities of fatty or oily fish as a healthy food. A recent study in Sweden has added to this databank of knowledge, having found that Swedish women who consumed such fish at least once every week had a markedly lower risk of developing kidney cancer, as compared to those who did not eat fish or who ate lean fish.
Details and Findings of Study
The said study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, had run for 15 years and looked at some 61,000 women in the country. The women were aged 40 to 76 and, among them, 150 developed cancer of the kidneys. Generally speaking, this disease is more likely to strike men than women.
The study found that people who ate fish which contained high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D had a 74% lower likelihood of getting kidney cancer, as compared to people who did not eat fish at all. These important nutrients are found in significantly greater amounts in fatty or oily fish such as herring, mackerel and salmon. On the other hand, the study also discovered that leaner fish like cod and tuna did not bring about the same protective effect against kidney cancer.
Other Health Benefits of Fatty Fish
Other recent studies have surfaced the health benefits of fatty fish. For example, a Norwegian study which looked at the fish-eating habits of over 2,000 elderly persons and their cognitive performance had found that those who consumed fish scored much better on six different cognitive tests. This was after other factors which could affect the results, such as education levels, had been accounted for. It was also found that, the more fish and fish products eaten, the better the test scores. Significantly, it was revealed that fatty fish and non-processed lean fish offered better effects, as compared to other varieties of fish and fish products.
Another recent study jointly conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as well as Columbia University in New York also found that eating fish might slow the progression of prostate cancer. The findings of that study, however, were not specific to fatty or oily fish.
In addition, the omega-3 essential fatty acids in oily fish have previously been linked to a host of beneficial properties. They help regulate blood triglyceride levels, and may help slow the progression of atherosclerosis. They are also well lauded for their anti-inflammatory properties, and are thus helpful for inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.
Further, such fatty acids are useful in combating high blood pressure and in boosting immune function. With modern day diets containing excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, the omega-3's in fatty fish are essential in achieving optimal balance.
If you are concerned that "fatty" fish sounds unhealthy, then Alicja Wolk from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has some assuring words."The name fatty fish may frighten some people but this kind of fat is healthy so I would recommend to eat fatty fish, not lean, because you can get much more benefits," she said. "Fatty fish per definition has also more calories but benefits are so overwhelming," she also said.
To end off, an important note of caution is necessary - most fish today are very much contaminated with mercury and other chemicals which have polluted our waters. At the same time, some sources state that eating farm-raised fish may have negative effects on human health. Thus, when sourcing fish or fish supplements, it is important to look for high quality and uncontaminated ones. Otherwise, we may end up doing more harm than good to our own health.