. Fish is good for both the heart and arthritis because it’s loaded with nutrients

. Experts recommends eating fish two to three times a week

. Limit eating fish that is high in Mercury such as swordfish and marlin

Fish has long been considered good for both the heart and the brain but is also valuable in the fight against arthritis. It’s high protein packed with nutrients such as Vitamin D, B2 and Omega 3 fatty acids which make it a staple of any healthy diet. Dieticians and nutritionists recommend eating fish two to three times a week as does the Australian heart foundation.

Studies have shown that it can provide benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease and depression as well as helping to lower cholesterol but it should also be part of your armoury in the battle against arthritis and today we look at how it can be beneficial to both your joints and your heart.

But the first thing to note is that there is a sliding scale in terms of which fish provide the most nutritional value and which fish you should avoid. As a general rule, you should try and steer clear of fish that are heavy in mercury such as shark, swordfish and marlin. Mercury is a metallic substance that often attaches itself to fish and can cause long term health issues down the road.

Fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are the choice of the experts and what they recommend. These include Salmon, Mackerel, Herring and things of that nature. If you actively look to include these types of fish into your diet you will be on the right path. They are rich in calcium and protein, help to lower blood pressure and provide definite benefits to both the heart and the joints.

The Australian Heart Foundation ‘recommends all Australians should aim to include 2–3 serves of fish (including oily fish) per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. This provides around 250–500 milligrams (mg) of marine-sourced omega-3s (EPA, DHA) per day. The Heart Foundation also recommends all Australians should aim for 1 gram of plant-sourced omega-3 (ALA) each day.’

They go on to say ‘Because our bodies cannot produce omega-3s we need to source them through our diet. The scientific evidence supports fish as the best dietary source of omega3s and found higher fish intake was consistently associated with lower rates of heart disease (heart failure and sudden cardiac death) and stroke.’

But as this study suggests different fish provide different value: ‘Among adults aged > or =65 years, modest consumption of tuna or other broiled or baked fish, but not fried fish or fish sandwiches, is associated with lower risk of IHD death, especially arrhythmic IHD death. Cardiac benefits of fish consumption may vary depending on the type of fish meal consumed.’

The other benefit relates to the issue of arthritis and how you can best manage the ailment. As this study states ‘Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce morning stiffness, the number of tender joints and swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,’ but it may take some time before you see the benefits and it’s a program you have to commit to over the long haul.

They go on to say ‘In our study, a significant improvement was seen at the end of the twelfth week in 7 clinical variables, morning stiffness of the joints, overall assessment of the patient’s general condition, severity of pain, the physician’s assessment of the patient’s condition, the number of swollen joints, number of tender joints and physical function.’

The Arthritis Foundation goes on to say that ‘Research finds that people who regularly eat fish high in omega-3s are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And in those who already have the disease, marine omega-3s may help reduce joint swelling and pain. 

The anti-inflammatory effects from omega-3s are helpful not just for relieving arthritis, but also for preventing other diseases linked to inflammation, such as heart disease. That’s important, considering these conditions are closely linked and often coexist.’

And that’s an important point to note that these two ailments often go together for obvious reasons. Your heart relies on exercise and blood circulation and arthritis often prevents people from engaging in physical activity because of the pain and discomfort they are in.

So you really have to look at this from a holistic perspective and understand that all the pieces of the puzzle are connected and any program you put in place should make it a point to look at the whole picture. Exercise is obviously important but the other part is diet and what you actually put into your body. For the reasons outlined, fish should be a central component because of how beneficial it is to both your heart and in the fight against arthritis.

References

The Heart Foundation

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/getmedia/4adbe011-db9a-4777-8a99-db6365e27cb1/Consumer_QA_Fish_Omega3_Cardiovascular_Health.pdf

NCBI: Cardiac benefits of fish consumption may depend on the type of fish and meal consumed: the cardiovascular health study

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12642356/

NCBI: The effect of Omega 3 fatty acids in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis receiving DMARD’s therapy: Double blind randomized control trial

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965662/

Arthritis Foundation

https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/best-fish-for-arthritis