As we age, our hormonal levels drop, often causing unwanted symptoms and health concerns. Men are not immune to the effects of hormonal change – it is not a female-only problem that occurs with aging.
Human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone are two of the hormones men and women need to concern themselves with, as these vital chemical messengers play critical roles in our well-being. Taking any natural steps to protect hormone health is beneficial, including being mindful of what foods we eat.
When it comes to nutritional powerhouses, you simply cannot beat the vitamins and minerals in fish. Diets high in processed foods and sugar can lower hormone levels, while nutrient-dense ones help promote healthy hormone production.
Stabilizing your hormone health through dietary changes can help you avoid medical expenses and medications that could cause side effects. The older you are, the more critical it becomes to focus on your diet because the body does not absorb nutrients as well as it did when we were younger.
Why is fish so beneficial over other forms of protein?
Red meat has more saturated fat and calories than fish, not to mention that fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids to benefit your heart. While it does not have as much iron as red meat, it makes up for it in other benefits for the body.
According to studies, the healthiest forms of animal protein, in order are:
- Fish, shellfish, seafood
Most processed meat is high in saturated fat and may contain carcinogenic chemicals, making it an unhealthy choice.
Effects of Fish on Your Health
It is easy to compare the benefits of eating fish to red meat. Although red meat is high in iron, zinc, niacin, and vitamin B12, its level of saturated fat makes it a less-than-ideal choice. Besides, you can get those nutrients from other food or vitamin supplements. On the other hand, fish is a “superfood” like greens and legumes, all foods packed with essential nutrients.
One thing to know about fish is that, like anything else, too much of a good thing can be harmful. You need to have a well-rounded diet. Because there are so many types of fish and seafood, you want to understand the differences between them.
Some fish are high in mercury, such as marlin, king mackerel, swordfish, tile fish, and shark. Try to avoid consuming them for this reason. Pregnant women, children, and nursing mothers should avoid these fish. Of the various types of shellfish, only lobster has slightly higher mercury content than the rest, but not enough to make it off-limits.
Fish with medium mercury levels include snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi, halibut, albacore (white) tuna, and carp. Limit consumption to once a week.
Low mercury levels can be found in cod, salmon, flounder, tilapia, canned light tuna, pollock, shrimp, and catfish. Consuming about 12 ounces of these foods per week (two meals), with a maximum of three servings weekly, is ideal.
If you want to know which low-mercury fish provide the highest amount of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, those would be anchovies, herring, and salmon (farmed and wild). Farmed salmon has more than twice as much EPA and DHA as wild salmon.
Here are some of the many health benefits of eating fish:
- Lowers the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes, improving heart health
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish help prevent and reduce inflammation to keep the blood vessels functioning correctly and protect against heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Eating fish helps decrease triglycerides and lowers blood pressure to reduce irregular heartbeats and blood clotting risks. Studies have shown that daily omega-3 fatty acid intake can reduce the risk of repeat heart attacks, strokes, or sudden death due to cardiovascular issues.
- Improves sleep quality
Eating fish increases DHA, which stimulates melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. Positive sleep impact helps improve daytime functions.
- Help prevent diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome encompasses a set of health issues that include high blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, large waist circumference, and low HDL (good) cholesterol. Being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Regular fish consumption helps improve glucose homeostasis to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
- Muscle mass preservation
Muscle loss and weakness are significant problems for aging adults, increasing the risk of falling and accidents associated with sarcopenia. Muscle requires a protein-rich diet, with fish providing a high biological value of essential amino acids, even higher than beef. Only egg and milk protein provides more. Fish also provides carnitine which is essential for the muscles to use energy stored as fat.
- Reduces joint pains
The inflammation-fighting effects of omega-3 fatty acids help lessen the symptoms of arthritis. The vitamin D in fish also helps strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Understanding the connection between dietary choices and joint health is essential, and Better Body equips individuals with expert guidance and evidence-based information to make informed decisions about their nutrition and overall well-being, ultimately promoting a healthier and pain-free lifestyle.
- Improves endocrine system
The influence of fish on the endocrine system can help with many endocrine disorders, including hypothyroidism, diabetes, menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, obesity, and more. Because fish helps fight inflammation, and inflammation interferes with vital hormone production, consuming fish is a powerful way to help improve hormonal health.
Getting hormonal levels under control can positively address concerns, including weight gain, fatigue, and depression. For example, HGH deficiency has a significant impact on such issues. If you have doubts about your hormonal health, always consult a doctor and learn the benefits of getting Norditropin for sale with a prescription.
- Improves skin appearance
Fish skin also has benefits for our bodies, especially our skin, as it is an excellent source of vitamin E and collagen. You can find collagen in all parts of a fish, including the flesh, bones, scales, and skin. Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant, is more prevalent in fattier fish, such as trout and salmon. The body uses vitamin E to help protect the skin against the sun’s harmful effects. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish help delay skin aging, improve skin hydration, and even reduce acne, which is often associated with omega-3 deficiencies.
- Can prevent obesity
Thanks to their low caloric density, consuming fish can help improve metabolism and assist with weight loss and maintaining healthy body composition.
- Improves eye health and vision
Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain healthy eyes and vision, as DHA is vital for protecting the structure of the retina. Studies found that fish and seafood intake were significantly lower in people with age-related macular degeneration.
- Mood regulation
Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to serotonin which helps with mood regulation and fighting feelings of depression. Unsurprisingly, depression rates are lowest in countries that consume the highest levels of seafood.
- Boost cognitive functions and reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk
Eating fish can help increase gray brain matter to prevent brain shrinkage and deterioration that can lead to decreased cognitive functions. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish effectively cross the crucial blood-brain barrier. Eating broiled or baked fish once a week may lower the risk of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nutritional Value of Fish
Fish has vital nutrients to support hormonal and metabolic functions. Many of these nutrients can only come from external sources, meaning the body does not provide them naturally.
Here are some of the essential nutrients in fish:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA)
As mentioned multiple times, omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the body because they must come from outside sources rather than having the body produce the amount it needs. Hormone receptors on the cell membranes require EPA and DHA to ensure their optimum functions.
The thyroid hormone tetraiodothyronine (T4) consists of 65% iodine, a vital nutrient for thyroid hormone synthesis. Consuming fish helps increase iodine levels for optimum thyroid hormone production. 150 mcg of iron is the daily recommendation for most adults. Pregnant and breastfeeding women require more.
- Vitamin D
As a steroid hormone, vitamin D is vital for calcium and phosphate absorption. Most fish species provide between 400 and 800 IU/100 grams of fish. Some, such as tilapia and trout, provide significantly more. Vitamin D is crucial for the bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
The enzymes that remove the iodine from T4 to convert it into T3 require selenium. If you are not eating fish, Brazil nuts are another viable option for getting selenium into your diet. Adults need 55 mcg of selenium each day.
Found in the bile and muscle of animals, taurine stabilizes cell membranes, regulates platelet functions, prevents cardiac arrhythmias, reduces blood pressure, and modulates neuronal activity. People with diabetes tend to have lower plasma taurine levels, which is why increasing taurine intake is beneficial. Seafood is the leading protein provider of taurine, with mussels, clams, oysters, squid, canned tuna, and white fish topping the list.
If you want to plan your menu around the best choices for fish that are low in mercury, check out the list here. Combining options from the best choice list and those that are highest in hormone-boosting nutrients can provide your body with superior omega-3 fatty acids.
Diseases associated with hormonal imbalances and deficiencies are leading causes of early morbidity and mortality worldwide. Many of these changes can benefit from improving one’s diet, especially by incorporating more fish and seafood than red meat.
Taking a fish oil supplement can provide significant benefits for those who do not like seafood. Fish are one of the best sources of high biological value protein at a low caloric density. Other benefits of eating fish include controlling appetite, providing high satiety, and creating reduced glycemic excursions following consumption.
The bottom line is this – eating fish and seafood is one of the best ways to get essential nutrients into your body for optimum health and well-being.