SEAFOOD FACTS AND MORE

  

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 WE WILL HAVE SOME FACTS REGARDING THE STORAGE, PREPARATION , AND NUTRITIONAL ASPECTS OF SEAFOOD, AND WE WILL DEBUNK SOME OF THE MYTHS.

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info AT coastalcarolinaseafood DOT com

We will have the most relevant topics for you.

Eat Fish to Stay Healthy.

Eat Processed Pork, Chicken, and Beef to Feel Bad, Feel Sick and to Get Serious Diseases.

 Common Sense [Sentido Comun] Say's That                                                    Processed Food Full of Chemicals, Steroids, Additives, Preservatives and  AntiBiotics is NOT Natural.           Real Simple.

PURCHASING SEAFOOD

Much frozen fish today compares in quality to fish directly out of the water.
Fresh catches are immediately processed and frozen at very low temperatures, frequently right on board the vessel or immediately upon arrival

When buying frozen fish keep in mind the following guidelines.

Whole fish should be free of ice crystals, with no discoloration.

Fillets or steaks should be solidly frozen in the package.

There should be no evidence of drying out, such as white spots, dark spots, discoloration or fading of red or pink flesh.

There should be no signs of frost or ice particles inside the package. If ice crystals are present, the fish has either been stored for a long period or thawed and refrozen. There should be no liquid, frozen or thawed, in evidence in the package. Make sure there are no open, torn or crushed edges on the packages.

Avoid packages that are above the frost line in a store's display freezer

How much to Buy?

Whole or round fish - 3/4 to 1 lb. per person

Dressed or cleaned - 1/2 to 3/4 lb. per person

Fillets and steaks - 1/3 lb. to 1/2 lb. per person

About 1/4 lb. to 1/3 lb. per person for cooked crab meat, cooked lobster meat, surimi products, cooked and peeled shrimp, raw scallops, raw cleaned squid

Enjoy!

Seafood offers a variety of choices and is a great way to a light and healthy diet. It's low in fat and calories and easy to digest. Accompany seafood with a variety of vegetables and sauces. Seasonings, light sauces, stuffings, and fresh vegetables can complement any seafood dish.

 

FISH INFO PAGE

 

Want to shave a few years off your chronological age, at least in terms of mental performance?  Try eating fish one or two times a week.

 

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center analyzed six years of data from 3,718-plus participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project aged 65 or older. 

 

After accounting for possible confounding factors-including healthy lifestyle behaviors-participants who ate fish once a week slowed their age-associated loss of mental function by 10 percent per year, and those who ate fish twice a week slowed their loss of function by 13 percent per year. 

 

As the authors put it, "The rate reduction is the equivalent of being 3 to 4 years younger in age."

 

How the study worked

Over the course of the six-year study, researchers visited participants at home three times, to administer tests of mental performance, and ask about consumption frequency of 139 different foods, their daily activities, exercise level, alcohol consumption, mental activity, sex, race, education, income, and medical history (Morris MC, Evans DA, Tangney CC, et al).

 

The questionnaire asked about participants' consumption of tuna sandwiches, fried fish (sticks/cakes/sandwiches), and fresh fish as a main dish.  The respondents' consumption of shellfish (shrimp/lobster/crab) was recorded, but was not included in the calculation of weekly fish intake.

 

The results are considered especially reliable because the researchers administered multiple mental-performance tests over time: tactics designed to reduce bias and error.

 

Weak omega-3 link puzzles researchers

To their surprise, the Chicago researchers found no strong association between participants' estimated intake of omega-3 fatty acids and measured reductions in cognitive decline-except among those who'd eaten the most fish for the longest time.  They were surprised because earlier studies have linked higher blood levels of omega-3s correlate to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.

 

They proposed three possible reasons for the lack of a correlation between higher omega-3 consumption and and delayed cognitive decline:

 

  • "The absence of association with [omega-3] DHA raises the possibility that the observed fish association was due to some other dietary constituent or perhaps to another factor that is related to cognitive health and fish consumption.
  • "We can only speculate that perhaps dietary -3 [omega-3] fatty acids have little impact on milder forms of cognitive decline.
  • "Another plausible explanation is that our measure of DHA and EPA intake is too imprecise to detect an association with cognitive change. One large population-based study examined the fatty acid composition of erythrocyte (blood-cell) membranes in relation to 4-year change in Mini-Mental State Examination score and observed significant reductions in cognitive decline with increased levels of total -3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA."

These excerpts from Healthy Aging encapsulate Dr. Weil's views on the role of fats in a healthy-aging diet.  Note the last point, regarding anti-inflammatory omega-3s:

 

"It should be obvious by now that diets don't work, except in the short term. … I am going to urge you to follow a diet that I believe can increase the probability of healthy aging …. I like to call it the Anti-Inflammatory Diet.

"The food choices we make can determine whether we are in a pro-inflammatory state or in an anti-inflammatory one. The anti-inflammatory diet … offers specific recommendations for foods to include and foods to avoid.

 

  • "REDUCE your intake of saturated fat by eating less butter, cream, cheese and other full-fat dairy products, un-skinned chicken, fatty meats and products made with coconut and palm-kernel oils.
  • "Use extra-virgin olive oil as a main cooking oil. If you want a neutral-tasting oil, use expeller-pressed organic canola oil. High-oleic versions of sunflower and safflower oil are also acceptable. [See our note, below]
  • "AVOID regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil and mixed vegetable oils.
  • "STRICTLY AVOID margarine, vegetable shortening and all products listing them as ingredients. Strictly avoid all products made with partially hydrogenated oils of any kind.
  • "Include in your diet avocados and nuts, especially walnuts, cashews and almonds and nut butters made from them.
  • "For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably wild-fresh or frozen-or canned sockeye), sardines, herring, black cod (sablefish, butterfish), omega-3 fortified eggs, hempseeds, flaxseeds and walnuts; or take a fish-oil supplement … ."

 

His intent is clearly to reduce hidden inflammation by getting people to shift their fat consumption away from saturated and hydrogenated fats, and shift their polyunsaturated fat intake away from omega-6 fatty acid-i.e., his warning against "safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil and mixed vegetable oils"-and toward foods high in omega-3s. 

 

I only regret that Dr. Weil did not include macadamia nut oil in his list of recommended cooking oils.  Its fatty acid profile is similar to, and in some respects superior to, that of olive oil.  It also resists heat damage to its fatty acids better than most oils, as evidenced by its a high "smoke point".

 

Healthy aging versus anti-aging

"Anti-aging" is a handy term, one that we and many others attach to foods and supplements that inhibit known age-accelerating processes like inflammation and free radical damage to cells.  In this sense, Dr. Weil's dietary recommendations resemble those of other nutrition-oriented physicians like Nicholas Perricone, Walter Willet, and Christiane Northrup. 

 

But Dr. Weil has no use for extreme "anti-aging" programs, and rejects obsessive attempts to look far younger than ones years, via Botox, surgery, and hormones.  Rather, he focuses on aging more healthfully and gracefully: goals eminently attainable through exercise, social contact, personal intimacy, wise diets, and positive attitudes.  As he says in Healthy Aging, " … age brings wisdom, peace and prosperity of a different kind."

 

We hope that Healthy Aging will bring much-needed balance to discussions about aging. It certainly gives people good advice on how to make aging a more positive experience.

Protein: a bone of contention
New findings may weaken the weak consenus concerning protein and bones
by Craig Weatherby

You'll likely run across this list of "lesses" in many essays about bones and nutrition: Asians and other societies less meat-focused than ours suffer less osteoporosis because they eat less protein. 

 

Health authorities often caution people against eating too much protein, lest they suffer weakened bones. Why would this happen?  Digestion of protein releases acids that the body neutralizes with alkaline chemicals, some of which can be calcium pulled from its bones.  

 

This view has some evidence, albeit slight, to back it up.  Some large health surveys suggest a connection. And, among the many thousands of women who've participated in the famed Nurses' Health Study, those who averaged more than 95 grams (3.4 ounces) of protein a day were 20 percent more likely to break a wrist over a 12-year period, compared with those whose daily intake approximated the group average of less than 68 grams (2.4 ounces) per day.

 

However, skeptics note that athletes who eat considerably higher amounts of protein than average seem not to suffer bone weakness.  On the other hand, most engage in some resistance exercise (weight training, pushups, etc.), which is proven to build bone size and strength.

 

United States government guidelines recommend that women over 25 consume about 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of protein per day, which is just a bit more than the 46 grams of protein you'd get from one of our six-ounce sockeye salmon fillets. 

Aussie study delineates dangers of low-protein diets

According to the results of a study out of Australia, there may be more to the protein picture than conventional wisdom contemplates.

 

In a study published last June, researchers at the University of Western Australia found that older women who consume more dietary protein enjoy increased bone mineral density (BMD): a common measure of the vulnerability of bones to fracture. 

 

They followed 1,077 women aged 72 to 78 over the course of a year, to see what effect different amounts of dietary protein would have on bone density.  The results showed that higher protein intake was associated with better bone density, after adjusting for age, body mass index and the effect of other nutrients.

 

Women who ate less than 66 grams (2.3 ounces) of protein per day had significantly lower bone density in the heel and hip than did women who ate more than 87 grams (3.1 ounces) of protein per day.

 

The scientists concluded that women need to consume more protein than the 50 grams (1.8 ounces) current guidelines suggest. 

 

Given the possible negative effects of eating too much protein, and the demonstrated downside of eating too little, it makes sense to aim for that sweet spot in the middle.

The available data indicate that to protect bone health, women should ingest about three ounces (84 grams) of protein per day. It's not such a hard target to meet, when you spread the protein intake across various good food sources, such as fish, dairy, meat, nuts, and combinations of grains and beans.

And it only makes sense to favor fish for protein, as it is among the healthiest sources. To give you a sense of what three ounces of protein per day means in terms of fish, it's a bit less protein than you'd get (3.3 ounces or 93.6 grams) from two cooked, six-ounce sockeye salmon fillets. 

 



Sources
 

 

  • Devine A, Dick IM, Islam AF, Dhaliwal SS, Prince RL. Protein consumption is an important predictor of lower limb bone mass in elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jun;81(6):1423-8. 
  • Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source. Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage. Accessed online October 22, 20056 at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/protein.html

 

International Association of Fish Inspectors 6th World Congress on Seafood Safety, Quality & Trade

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday 16 September 2005

Mercury risks from fish “overstated”

THE health risks of mercury in fish have been overstated, according to international seafood safety experts meeting in Australia.

The positive health benefits of eating seafood far outweigh any health risks, they say.

More than 350 delegates from 50 countries are in Sydney for the 6th World Congress on Seafood Safety, Quality and Trade.

It is being held by the International Association of Fish Inspectors (IAFI), a professional association whose members are involved in seafood safety issues in government, research or industry.

Ms Jayne Gallagher, an Australian who was this week elected IAFI President, said it was important the general public received a balanced message about issues like mercury.

“There is no doubt some of the news about risks from mercury in fish have been overstated,” Ms Gallagher said.

“IAFI is calling on government regulatory bodies round the world, when they make statements on issues like mercury, to ensure the relative risks and benefits are clearly spelt out.

“It is too easy for the general public to be confused about these issues and steer away from seafood. In fact, regular consumption of seafood is one of the most positive things we can do for our health, because of the known reduction in risk of major health problems like heart attack, stroke, diabetes and bowel cancer.

“IAFI members are directly involved in monitoring and researching safety issues related to seafood and IAFI will be working to help ensure statements about health risks are kept in context.”

Professor Steve Otwell from the University of Florida Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, one of the speakers at the World Congress, agreed health risks to the general public from mercury in seafood had been overstated.

“The more immediate health benefits for the majority of people through consuming a variety of seafoods far exceeds any possible lifetime consequences of consuming specific species of fish noted for relatively slightly higher levels of methyl mercury.

“In other words, for most people, the health benefits far, far outweigh any possible risk.

“Our main concern is to protect pregnant women and their child, and there is a large safety factor built into the existing international guidelines regarding methyl mercury levels in seafood. All authorities agree they should continue to eat fish. It is important for their child.

“That is the main message: pregnant women should eat seafood. It is good for them and their baby. They should follow the advice of local health authorities on how much they should eat of certain large, long-lived fish species. But, do not stop eating fish. That would do more harm than good.”

Mr Bob Collette, Vice President of Science and Technology in the US National Fisheries Institute, and another Congress speaker, agreed that pregnant women should continue eating seafood.

“It is unfortunate that some recent government advisory notices about mercury in fish have been misunderstood and sensationalised.

“Seafood is one of the most nutrient-rich and healthy foods in the diet. It is vital for good health in the general community that people be encouraged to eat seafood regularly.

“The government advisories have been for pregnant women, and correctly suggest a wide variety of fish should be eaten because most are very low in mercury.

“It is important that everyone understand fish have proven health benefits and emerging studies suggest babies whose moms consumed fish have improved brain development and function.

“What is needed is effective education and balanced messages being delivered to the public.”

Ms Gallagher confirmed that IAFI would be working, through its members round the globe, to try to ensure statements about seafood safety were balanced and not open to misinterpretation.

“We are calling on government agencies and the media to be aware of the unintended damaging consequences than can occur when statements are taken out of context.

“IAFI is vitally interested in making sure that seafood consumers throughout the world receive accurate information about seafood safety issues, and that safety standards are maintained and enforced, but at the same time that risks are not overstated or sensationalised. That would be totally counterproductive.”

 

News Known for a Long Time.

Viet Nam: Chicken excrement for fish heightens bird flu concern in Vietnam

Millions of people in Southern Vietnam are at risk of catching bird flu due to the routine disposal practice of using chicken excrement to feed lake fish in the region, said members of the state local...
 
 

 

Anyway: Here are are some More Facts Concerning Seafood, Health, Nutrition. and Well-Being for YOUR Perusal.  We Make Additions Weekly. Thanks for Educating Yourself. With Reading and Learning comes Empowerment and Satisfaction.

 

FDA Drug Cops Fumble in Diabetes Fiasco:
Omega-3s Seen as Credible Natural Contenders

The latest FDA drug-approval disaster suggests doctors should consider omega-3s for diabetes

by Craig Weatherby

 

A series of blunders involving approval of marginally useful "me-too" drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-drugs that soon proved more dangerous than useful-exposed the all-too-cozy relationships between drug companies, regulators at the FDA, and the medical advisory boards that wield great influence over the agency's drug-approval decisions.

 

The negative outcomes of this rather incestuous network were underscored by fiascos involving the arthritis pain drugs Vioxx® and Celebrex®, and were preceded by ill-advised approval of the dangerous weight control drugs Phen-Fen® and Redux®.

 

Last month, the FDA blew their safety assessment of a proposed new diabetes drug called muraglitazar, jointly marketed as Pargluva® by Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The agency was set to approve it before independent researchers who examined the very same clinical data discovered that muraglitazar increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks substantially.

 

As we'll explain later, omega-3s may offer a viable alternative or complement to muraglitazar and other "PPAR-activator" diabetes drugs.  This is because PPAR drugs are designed to mimic the effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3s.

 

PPARs: a key acronym in diabetes care

Muraglitazar was expected to introduce a new class of diabetes drugs called glitizars, reported to reduce insulin resistance-the dysfunction that underlies adult onset ("type II") diabetes-and lower the elevated blood levels of sugar and blood fats that accompany the disease.

 

Glitizar-type drugs act on cell-surface receptors called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs).  Nuclear receptors-also known as nuclear transcription factors-enable cells to adapt to signals alerting them to bodily conditions by modifying the expression levels of relevant genes. Among other things, PPARs act as genetic "switches" to regulate lipid (fat) metabolism.

 

The body uses omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids-and the ephemeral messenger chemicals called prostaglandins they generate-to bind to and hence "activate" PPAR receptors. Synthetic PPAR-activating drugs are designed to fit into specific PPAR receptors, to produce certain desired results.

 

Two kinds of PPAR-activating drugs are currently approved in the United States:

 

  • PPAR-alpha activator drugs like gemfibrozil and fenofibrate lower blood triglyceride levels and modestly increase blood levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, and have been available for several decades;
  • PPAR-gamma activator drugs increase insulin sensitivity and are used for glycemic control in patients with type II diabetes: they include rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, and troglitazone, which was withdrawn from the market because it can damage the liver.

Drugs that activate both kinds of PPARs-so-called "dual PPAR" agents-have been a holy grail of diabetes care, since they could treat two main symptoms of diabetes-hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar levels) and dyslipidemia (imbalanced blood-fat levels)-simultaneously. Muraglitazar was expected to be the first "dual-PPAR" drug to come to market.

 

While drug companies cannot patent or profit from them, omega-3s offer effects comparable to those of synthetic dual-PPAR drugs (see "Omega-3s versus PPAR drugs", below).

 

FDA call for comments brings bad news

In September of this year, a scientific panel appointed by the FDA voted 8-1 to recommend approval of muraglitazar as the first dual PPAR drug.

 

However, when the FDA issued a letter on October 18 calling for comment, it got more than it expected. A team at the renowned Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular center, led by Steven E. Nissen, M.D., published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which they analyzed the same data the FDA expert panel examined. To the agency's chagrin, they found glaring problems the FDA and its expert panel managed to miss.

 

Specifically, they found that muraglitazar (Pargluva®) doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke, and likely raise the risk of cancer.

 

The findings were particularly alarming because some of the increased risks appeared within six months of starting on the drug.  As the authors concluded, "Muraglitazar appears to increase the risk for morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients during relatively short-term treatment. … The consistency of these RRs [relative risks] suggests that this result is not due to chance. Accordingly, muraglitazar should not be used or approved to treat patients with diabetes until an appropriate dedicated trial to assess cardiovascular outcomes is performed."

 

In other words, millions of diabetes patients came very close to taking a drug that could have inured or killed thousands of them.  While they did solicit comments and consequently catch their error before releasing the drug, it seems that the FDA and its expert panels are still in need of serious scrutiny.

 

 

 

Nutrients in Wild Salmon Could Cut Annual Health Costs by $1 Billion
Review finds marine omega-3s and astaxanthin-like antioxidants effective for heart and eye prevention
by Craig Weatherby

 

According to findings released this month by a leading analytical firm, the U.S. health care system could save up to $5.6 billion over the next five years-$1.1 billion per year-if people aged 65 or older were to consume dietary supplements or foods containing omega-3 essential fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

 

This is the second such report performed by the Lewin Group on behalf of a trade association called the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA).  A Lewin Group study released in 2004 concluded that long-chain marine omega-3s (EPA and DHA) enjoy good evidence of efficacy in preventing cardiovascular problems.

 


For the new study, the Lewin Group reviewed existing research on two supplements with regard to their preventive health potential in two different areas:

  • The impact of long-chain marine omega-3 fatty acids on coronary heart disease (CHD).
  • The combined effects of two carotenoid-class antioxidants-lutein and zeaxanthin-on age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  As we will explain in more depth below, lutein and zeaxanthin are very close structural and functional cousins to astaxanthin: a more potent antioxidant that's abundant in wild salmon, which has displayed strong protective effects on animals' eyes.

What the study showed

The Lewin Group's expert analysts estimated that if senior Americans took 1,800 mg of omega-3s per day it would reduce the rate of CHD among adults over 65 and prevent more than 384,000 hospitalizations and physicians' fees, for a five-year savings of $3.1 billion. They also estimated that the five-year net savings from reduced progression of AMD would total $2.5 billion.

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously granted permission for food and supplement companies to make qualified health claims for use of omega-3 fatty acids to promote heart health, and a proposal to allow a claim for lutein and eye health is under review at the FDA now.

 

In response to the news, Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) announced the creation of a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements, which he will co-chair with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). Rep. Cannon introduced legislation earlier this year to allow the costs of some dietary supplements to be offset by Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

 

Should we believe this study?

Although the Lewin Group enjoys a reputation for expertise relevant to this study, they are consultants paid by an industry that stands to benefit from positive findings, so one must view their conclusions with some skepticism.

 

 The key question is not whether the Lewin Group's savings estimates are precisely accurate, since that is impossible to know. Instead, it is important to ask whether the premise-that omega-3s, lutein, and zeaxanthin exert substantial preventive health powers-is credible.

 

And, for our purposes, it is important to ask whether their findings vis a vis lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health apply to ingestion of astaxanthin-a closely related carotenoid-class antioxidant that's abundant in wild salmon.

 

Omega-3s enjoy ample evidence of efficacy

It is easy to accept the marine omega-3 findings at face value, given the large, fast-growing body of evidence indicating that they improve circulatory health and help prevent heart attacks and strokes. 

 

 

 

Do the lutein-zeaxanthin findings apply to astaxanthin?

Cataracts and AMD result in large part from the cumulative effects of a lifetime of light-induced oxidation of the lens and retinal tissues of the eye, respectively. Both the lens and the retina are exposed continually to light and oxygen, which work together to generate oxygen free radicals. In cataract formation, free radicals impair crystalline proteins and damage proteolytic enzymes that would normally remove the damaged proteins. In the retina, free radicals oxidize (damage) the membranes of vital photoreceptor cells.

 

The human body uses its own antioxidants-glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, catalase, vitamins E and C, and melanin-to prevent oxidation of its eye tissues.

 

But dietary lutein and zeaxanthin are our key eye-health allies, as they concentrate in the macula, absorb blue light, quench damaging oxygen free radicals, and cannot be made by the body.  The results of population studies suggest that diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin (from spinach, kale, and other leafy green vegetables) reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD.  And, regular consumption of lutein supplements can increase the macular pigment density in the eye, which may reduce the risk of AMD.

 

It is the antioxidant power of lutein and zeaxanthin that makes them such valuable allies in the fight to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD): the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness among the elderly.

 

All three antioxidants-lutein, zeaxanthin, and the astaxanthin in salmon-belong to a class of carotene-type compounds called hydroxyl-group xanthophylls.

 

The astaxanthin molecule is very similar to lutein and zeaxanthin, and, like them, it concentrates in eye tissues. However, astaxanthin is a much stronger antioxidant than lutein or zeaxanthin, and the results of test tube and animal ...

Famed “China Project” Study Finds Fish Heart- and Health-Protective

Back in the early 1980’s, Cornell University Professor T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. led the famed Cornell-Oxford-China Study, whose results put vegetable-heavy, low-meat diets in the preventive-health spotlight.

 

Better known as “The China Project”, analysis of data from this huge epidemiological study is ongoing. In fact, it represents the most comprehensive and scientifically powerful investigation of the links between diet and disease in medical history.

 

The China Project’s results form the firm foundation of the now widely accepted theory that diets high in vegetables help prevent cancer and heart disease. Recent arms of the study indicate that much of the credit belongs to vegetables’ characteristic antioxidants (see "Early China Project analysis", below).

 

Analysis of China Project data finds fish heart-healthy

Three years ago, Dr. Campell and his co-authors published their analysis of fish-consumption data from the Phase I of the study, which involved a survey of 6,500 subjects in 65 rural counties.

 

They compared the fatty acid and antioxidant composition of the participants’ red blood cells with the participants’ health status and their self-reported fish consumption.

 

Those who ate the most fish – and therefore had the highest blood-cell levels of omega-3 DHA -- had the lowest blood triglyceride levels and the lowest rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

 

In addition, those who had the highest blood-cell levels of omega-3 DHA also had the lowest rates of most chronic diseases, and DHA appeared to be more protective than the two other omega-3s in fish oil: EPA and DPA.

 

As expected, those who ate the most fish also had the highest levels of omega-3s in their red blood cells.

 

Interestingly, these two positive correlations -- lowest triglycerides and rates of cardiovascular disease -- were even stronger among those had the highest combined levels of DHA and oleic acid: the monounsaturated fat found most abundantly in olive oil and macadamia nut oil, which is also abundant in the peanut oils commonly used in Chinese cooking.

 

Those who ate the most fish also had the highest blood levels of the antioxidant, anti-mercury mineral selenium -- of which fish are the richest food sources -- and the highest blood levels of glutathione peroxidase.

 

(Glutathione peroxidase is a selenium-containing antioxidant that protects our cell membranes. Accordingly, the body’s self-generated “antioxidant network” -- in which glutathione peroxidase plays a key part -- depends heavily on the presence of adequate dietary selenium.)

 

As Dr. Campbell’s team concluded, “These results demonstrate the protective nature of fish consumption and DHA … This finding suggests the protective effect of fish consumption as validated by red cell DHA is universal. The protective effect is, therefore, most likely to be due to the fundamental properties of docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] in cell function.”

 

Early China Project analysis boosted antioxidants’ anti-cancer reputation

In the early 1990’s members of the China Project compared the levels of various antioxidants obtained from study participants’ blood, and compared those levels with rates of cancer (Chen J et al 1992).

 

They found that the people with the highest blood antioxidant levels had the lowest risk of cancer: a fact that may go a long way toward explaining the low cancer rates the very first China Project data analyses found among Chinese people who ate exceptionally vegetable-rich diets.

 

Vitamin C was the most protective anti-cancer antioxidant, overall. High levels of selenium – again, fish are the richest food sources -- were associated with a reduced risk of esophageal and stomach cancers. Beta-carotene was found to exert protective effects, especially against stomach cancer.

 

China Project called the “Grand Prix” of diet-disease studies

Unlike studies conducted in the developed world, where everybody eats more or less the same foods in similar proportions, The China Project took place in rural China, where, at the time, almost all people still spent their entire lives near their places of birth eating locally produced foods prepared in accordance with regional culinary customs.

 

And there were also dramatic differences in the prevalence of disease among the various regions of rural China. Rates of various cardiovascular diseases differed up to 20-fold, and cancer rates often varied even more.

 

These wide differences in diets and disease rates made rural China the ideal place to explore relationships between lifestyle factors and degenerative disorders like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

 

These unique attributes led The New York Times to term The China Project the “Grand Prix” of diet-disease studies.

 

When its initial results were published in 1990, they indicated that a majority of all cancer and cardiovascular disease cases could be delayed into advanced old age by adopting plant-based diets low in meats.

 

The original survey was undertaken from 1983 through 1984, with the first results published in 1990. Blood, urine and food samples were obtained for analysis, while questionnaire and 3-day diet information was recorded.

 

The international team returned to China in 1989 and to conduct the larger China Study II, which included more people (more than 10,000 adults with families), more counties (including Taiwanese counties), and more measurements.

 

Since then, they’ve published many papers on the relationship of foods and dietary patterns with disease, with mountains of data left to analyze.

 

Their key findings to date are these … note that “animal products” refers only to meats and dairy foods, not to seafood:

  • Disease patterns in much of rural China tend to reflect those prior to the industrial revolution in the U.S., when cancers and cardiovascular diseases were much less prevalent.
  • American men’s rate of death from heart disease is 17 times higher than the rate among rural Chinese men.
  • Chronic degenerative diseases (cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.) occur where diets are richer in animal products and higher in total fat.
  • These degenerative diseases were clustered in urbanized, industrialized Chinese counties, where more animal products are consumed. (Affluence induces people to eat more meat, since it is a higher-status food.)
  • Small additions of animal based foods to an otherwise plant-heavy diet raise the risk of heart and other degenerative diseases.
  • Increasing intake of plant protein is associated with increasing body height, but plant-based diets high in protein (as from combining soybeans and rice) can also produce “big” people.
  • In rural China, animal protein intake constitutes about one percent of total calorie intake, compared with an average of 10 percent of calories in the US.
  • Rates of osteoporosis are much lower in China, even though calcium intakes are much lower.
  • Obesity is far less prevalent in China than in the US, even though they consume about 30% more total calories.

And thanks to the recent, fish-focused analysis of China Project data, we can now add seafood to the list of dietary factors that make Chinese people in some regions healthier than the average American.

 

Sources

  • Wang Y, Crawford MA, Chen J, Li J, Ghebremeskel K, Campbell TC, Fan W, Parker R, Leyton J. Fish consumption, blood docosahexaenoic acid and chronic diseases in Chinese rural populations. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2003 Sep;136(1):127-40. Review.
  • Chen J, Geissler C, Parpia B, Li J, Campbell TC. Antioxidant status and cancer mortality in China. Int J Epidemiol. 1992 Aug;21(4):625-35. 

 

 

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