Protein plus… omega-3

It’s also important to look at what else protein is packaged with in foods – and that’s where fish really shines. Unlike many other animal sources of protein, most white fish and shellfish are low in fat and saturates. While oily fish contains more fat, most varieties tend to remain low in saturated fat. Instead, the fat is mainly in the form of polyunsaturated fats called omega-3 fats. Fish is the main naturally occurring source of two specific omega-3 fats – DHA and EPA – that have been linked to good health. These help to keep the heart working normally, keep blood pressure normal and maintain blood triglyceride levels3, another type of fat, which when raised increases the risk of heart disease4. Experts also agree that replacing some of the saturated fat in our diet with unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated fats can help to maintain normal cholesterol levels5. Bottom line: fish is a great choice for boosting protein, whilst at the same time helping to keep the heart healthy.

The omega-3 fats in protein-rich fish don’t just stop at heart health benefits, either. DHA is also vital for keeping our brain functioning normally and helping us to maintain normal vision6. It’s also important for the normal development of the brain and eye in developing babies during pregnancy and in breastfed infants7,8.

3 EFSA Journal 2010; 8 (10): 1796. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1796

4 British Heart Foundation. High Cholesterol. https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol

5 EFSA Journal 2011; 9 (4): 2069. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2069

6 EFSA Journal 2011; 9 (4): 2078. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2078

7 EFSA Journal 2009. DHA and support of the cognitive development of the unborn child and breastfed infant - Scientific substantiation of a health claim related to DHA and support of the cognitive development of the unborn child and breastfed infant pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 [1] doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1007

8 EFSA Journal 2009. DHA and support of the visual development of the unborn child and breastfed infant - Scientific substantiation of a health claim related to DHA and support of the visual development of the unborn child and breastfed infant pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 [1] doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1006