Probe into health benefits of eating fish
THE range of health benefits gained from eating fish, including the growing number of farmed varieties, are to be examined by a team of Scottish experts.
• University of Aberdeen to compare benefits of eating salmon fed two different diets
• Majority of people ‘still don’t consume enough fish’
The scientists want to see whether feeding farmed fish a more sustainable feed containing more vegetable oils but less omega-3 fatty acids has any impact on potential health benefits in those eating the fish.
Previous studies have already shown eating at least two portions of fish a week help protect against stroke and coronary heart disease but the the exact way it is beneficial to health is not fully yet understood.
Study leader Dr Baukje de Roos, from the university’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, said: “It is important to find out how eating fish can help human health.
“Fish consists of a complex mixture of omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients, such as vitamin D and selenium, which could be responsible for the beneficial effects.
“It’s recommended that people eat at least two portions of fish per week - despite this the majority of the UK population do not consume enough fish, particularly oily fish.
“Fish farming in Scotland is playing an increasingly important role in the provision of fish for human consumption. Farmed fish have the potential to take the pressure off wild fish stocks, whilst meeting the dietary needs of the population for omega 3 fatty acids and other key nutrients such as vitamin D.
The Rowett Institute has been commissioned by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) to assess how pressures from sustainability on methods of production may affect the health giving properties of fish.
Dr de Roos said: “Farmed fish will be raised partly on vegetable oils rather than fish oils and this might reduce the content of omega-3 and other important nutrients, thereby reducing potential health benefits for consumers.”
The results of the study are due out next year.
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