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Fish For Weight Loss

People embarking on a weight loss program need to make some vital changes in their diet and exercise regime. One of the dietary changes suggested when you need to shed those additional pounds you have put on over the years is to increase fish intake to reduce weight and eliminate red meat. It is easy to understand why fish for weight loss is a recommended diet mantra when you realize that you get as much protein from fish as you do from meat, without the harmful saturated fats. Fish does contain certain omega-3 fatty acids, but these are identified as essential fatty acids that help to regulate blood clotting and blood cholesterol levels. The human body does not manufacture these omega-3 fatty acids and needs to get it from food like fish, flax seeds, olive oil, and walnuts.
A fish diet for losing weight can be effective only when the fish is broiled, baked, or grilled. Heavily battered, breaded, and fried fish or serving fish smothered in a rich, creamy sauce is to be strictly avoided. Eating fish to lose weight makes sense because the protein in fish helps to build muscle mass and more muscle mass translates into a better metabolic rate, leading to more fat being burned. Obviously one cannot just eat fish to burn fat and expect to lose weight without adequate physical exercise to get the metabolic rate going. Eating fish during the main meals such as lunch or dinner allows us to cut down on red meats without compromising on the protein intake. Serving sizes of 3 ounces of salmon or snapper contain less fat than chicken or steak and provide the body with a wide range of essential micronutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, selenium etc.

How Fish Benefits In Weight Reduction

A diet rich in fish is found to regulate the levels of leptin, a hormone responsible for hunger and appetite. Fish in the diet enhances the effectiveness of a weight loss program because leptin levels in blood are affected by fish oil, and leptin signals satiety to the brain and prevents overeating. Although fish is leaner than meat, it does contain fatty acids known as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega -3 fatty acids are vital to ensure proper blood circulation and facilitate the flow of oxygenated blood to the muscles during physical activity. The exercise and the consequent increased intake of oxygen boost the metabolic rate, leading to more fat being burnt. These fatty acids are also known to stimulate enzymes that move the stored fat to be used to replenish energy levels. Fish health benefits for weight reduction include the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the proper functioning of the nervous system and the prevention of depression, which is often the cause of binge eating and cravings.

Types Of Fishes For Losing Weight

Oily fish like sardines, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and may be prepared with very little fat before serving. White fish like cod and halibut are leaner, with less fat, but are equally rich in other vitamins and minerals. Shell fish are rich in zinc, a mineral that boosts one’s immune system. Fish with red meat like salmon should be consumed in moderation, even though they contain less fat than chicken or steak. Among the types of fishes for weight loss; catfish, snapper, bass, cod, sole, and halibut top the list because they are non-oily. It goes without saying that the cooking process used in preparing these fishes plays a very important role in deriving the benefits of weight loss. Fresh cut vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers add to the color and texture of a seafood salad of shrimp or lobster and make for a light filling meal. Combining pasta, seafood like crab meat or sea scallops and fresh vegetables with a light zesty salad dressing ensures that you get all the nutrients including vitamins and minerals while keeping the fat content low. Fish and seafood soups such as a clam or salmon chowder or fish stews can be nutritious substitutes for calorie laden red meat dishes.

Precautions While Consuming Fish:

Pesticides, mercury, chemical toxins, or some disease causing bacteria may find their way into fish and other seafood from contaminated rivers, lakes, and oceans. It is therefore vital that you take certain precautions while consuming fish. Fresh fish should be cooked the same day it is bought. Fish that has a distinct fishy odor may not be freshly caught fish, and it is best avoided. Buy fish that is firm to the touch, with shiny clean scales and a clear eye. Freezing is the best way to preserve the quality of fresh fish. Larger fish can be cut into pieces and frozen for storage. Canned fish like tuna and sardines contain the same benefits of omega 3 fatty acids as fresh fish. Shell fish should be cooked in hot boiling water to get rid of harmful bacteria that may be in them. Experts on mercury contamination advice that it is better to eat smaller fish that are younger, rather than big fish like swordfish or shark because smaller fish are less likely to be contaminated.  Eating fish from a number of sources like lakes, rivers, fish farms and the ocean spreads the risk.

Submitted on January 16, 2014