Musings on Fishery Irony

September 27, 2013
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One can hardly deny the general reputation of fish as a "health food." Cautious men at dinner tables look to salmon and tuna before their spouses chide them for even considering steak, since, of course, the experts say that it increases risk of heart disease and other health issues. And fish are known to contain vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids that are supposedly good for the body, and yet... Are fish truly that healthy?

Researchers from Wake Forest University say otherwise. It was found that a common type of fish served, Tilapia, as well as a small population of catfish, typically contain certain ratios of fatty acids that point to these fish as worse for one's health than most red meats. This is attributed to the high consumption of such fish. As, ordinarily, a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 acids wouldn't necessarily be horrible for the body in moderation, but, when eaten with as much frequency as one might when replacing their "unhealthy" red meats with a fishy alternative, this is a recipe for disaster.

A high amount of omega-6 in one's system can contribute to provoking an "inflammatory response," which would prove dangerous for those already suffering from conditions that predispose one towards tissue damage, such as heart disease and asthma.

Granted, Tilapia and catfish are not exactly the only fish out there to consume. There's over twenty thousand fish species out there, many of them quite edible. Considering probability alone, there must be at least a few that would be fantastic health foods for the average consumer.

However, besides the usual suspects (sardines, oysters, salmon, etc.), is fish generally as healthy as professionals claim? That question is difficult to answer with certainty. Yes, many species of fish can potentially be good for the consumer. However, this entirely depends on a variety of factors, such as whether it was farmed or born from the wild, how it was preserved, and how it was cooked. Even so, certain species of fish, like the Tilapia, will never be proper for one's regular diet.

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