Fatty fish is packed with nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids to fuel your cells! From smoked salmon to crisp-skinned mackerel, flaky tuna, and flavorful little anchovies, most of us can agree fish is delicious as well as nutritious. Let’s discuss the reasons why fish is good for you and how to add more to your ketogenic diet.
Why Is Fish Good for You?
As you’ll see below, fish is beneficial to many parts of the body and studies suggest fish has a positive and preventative effect on many health conditions. Many of these benefits seem to be related to the high levels of healthy dietary fats and vitamin D found in fish, though fish containother nutrients as well, such as B vitamins, selenium, and iodine.
1. Brain Health
Observational studies reveal those who consume more fish have slower rates of mental decline. Those who eat fish weekly also have more gray matter in the parts of the brainthat regulate memory and emotions. Grey matter refers to major functional brain tissue. 
Depression is a mental condition involving low mood, overarching sadness, reduced energy, and a loss of interest in life and activities that used to be enjoyable.
Studies show people who frequently eat fish are less likely to experience depression. Mounting controlled trials show omega-3 fatty acids can improve depression and drastically increase the effectiveness of antidepressant medications, and fish are a major source of omega-3.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish might help other mental conditions as well, such as bipolar disorder. 
3. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Studies show that people whoregularly eat heart-healthy fish have a reduced risk of strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease fatality. 
One impressively large study of 40,000 men in the United States concluded that those who frequently consumed one or more servings of fish weekly had a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Fatty fish like mackerel are especially beneficial because they’re loaded with omega-3s!
Vitamin D acts like a steroid hormone in your body that facilitates normal immune system functioning. Low levels of vitamin D have been tied to various respiratory diseases and viral illnesses.
Fish and fish products like cod liver oil are some of the best dietary sources of vitamin D, with tasty fish like herring andsalmon in the lead. Smoked salmon, anyone?
If you don’t eat fatty fish regularly or get much sunshine, you might consider taking a vitamin Dsupplement.
5. Protecting Vision and Preventing Degeneration
Evidence suggests fish and omega-3 fatty acids could protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—a leading cause of blindness and vision loss that predominantly affects older adults. 
For example, one study showed regular fish intake was associated with a 42% reduced risk of AMD in women. 
The lower risk of autoimmune disease could be due to the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D found in fish and fish oils.
6. Reduced Risk of Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases happen when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissues in your body. Autoimmune diseases often involve inflammation, pain, and other symptoms that can diminish quality of life. Studies have associated fish oil or omega-3 intake with a lower risk of autoimmune diabetes in adults and type 1 diabetes in children. 
7. Better Sleep
If you’re not sleeping properly, it can throw everything off balance and trigger a domino effect of health issues. Sleep is critical to your body’s ability to rest and restore so you feel energized the next day. Vitamin D deficiency could be one of the obstacles between you and a good night’s sleep!
For example, a 6-month study examined 95 middle-aged men who ate a meal with salmon three times weekly. The results were improved sleep and daily functioning. Researchers believe this could be due to the vitamin D content. 
8. Crucial Nutrients for Development and Growth
It’s often recommended thatpregnant andbreastfeeding women eat plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Some doctors suggest supplementation. 
Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in fetal growth and development, particularly for the brain and eyes. 
Keep in mind that some fish are higher in mercury, which has been associated with brain development problems in babies. A good way to remember which fish are safest is to use the word SMASH: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring. These are some of the fish lowest in mercury and highest in healthy fats. Read our detailed article for more info on theproblems with mercury in fish.
Pregnant women should consume low-mercury fish like trout and salmon, and they shouldn’t exceed 12 ounces (340 grams) per week. It’s also best for pregnant women toavoid uncooked fishdue to the possibility of ingesting microorganisms that could harm the developing baby.
Steph Green is a content writer specializing in and passionate about healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. Steph has worked with marketing agencies, written medical books for doctors like ‘Untangling the Web of Dysfunction,’ and her poetry book ‘Words that Might Mean Something.’ In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.
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