. Packed with nutrients

. Experts recommend 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 and packed with nutrients such as Vitamin D, B2 and Omega 3 fatty acids. 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. It should also be part of your armoury in the battle against arthritis. 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.

What the experts recommend

Fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are the choice of the experts. These include Salmon, Mackerel and Herring. If you actively look to incorporate these types of fish into your diet you are on the right path. They are rich in calcium and protein and help to lower blood pressure.

The Australian Heart Foundation ‘recommends all Australians should aim to include 2–3 serves of fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. 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 this study suggests that different types of fish provide different value: ‘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…..Cardiac benefits of fish consumption may vary depending on the type of fish meal consumed.’

Anti-inflammatory effect

The secondary benefit obviously relates to the issue of arthritis and how to 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 takes time before you see the full benefits of the program. They say: ‘In our study, a significant improvement was seen at the end of the twelfth week in 7 clinical variables.’

The Arthritis Foundation states ‘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.’

Correlation

And that’s an important point to note that these two ailments often go together. Your heart relies on exercise and blood circulation but arthritis often prevents people from engaging in physical activity.

So you have to look at the big picture. Exercise is important as is diet. Eating fish regularly is something to consider because of the benefits it provides to both the heart and the joints.

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