Many people consider fish a healthier and more ethical option than other meats.
But this exclusive Plant Based News video shows how the science shows this is not the case.
Is fish a healthy food?
According to the video: "The reason some fish are promoted as a health food is that they contain more omega-three fats than any other species. You may have heard these being called oily fish, and these include mackerel, salmon, and sardines.
"Other fish, such as cod, store omega-threes mainly in their liver, which is why omega-three supplements use cod liver oil. We need omega three fats for our cell membranes, brain, and nervous system. They also play a role in blood pressure regulation, blood clotting, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
"And because we cannot make them ourselves, we must get them from our food. Fish contain two types of omega threes. They're called EPA and DHA. The only reason fish contain these is because they eat microalgae producing these fats and then store them in their tissues. The long-held belief is that fish oil may help protect us from heart disease and stroke.
"But now research shows that eating oily fish or fish oil doesn't offer any advantage when it comes to heart health. As a highly-respected Cochrane Review put it, moderate and high-quality evidence suggests that increasing EPA and DHA has little to no effect on mortality or cardiovascular health."
The authors of this report point out that as a previous review essentially suggested the same, getting our omega threes directly from microalgae is a better alternative, as it reduces overfishing, environmental pollution, and doesn't expose us to toxins in the fish.
"The good news is that there are plenty of algae-based omega-three supplements," says the video. "And if you'd rather source your omega threes from plants, there's more good news. A plant-based omega-three fat called ALA has been shown to decrease the risk of fatal heart disease. You can get plenty of ALA from flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and rapeseed oil.
"The bottom line is omega threes are essential, but getting them from fish is neither necessary, nor is it good for you. Both freshwater and ocean fish live in waters polluted by industrial and agricultural residues, drugs, water products, and similar nasty substances. Fish naturally accumulate heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, and pesticide residues in their fatty tissues. And that's why we're being warned against eating too much fish."