Omega3 in delectable bangus
Chanos chanos as scientifically identified, Philippines ’ national fish bangus is now returning with pride to be a top commodity not just for business but for health reasons as well. After suffering momentary lull in the fishing industry, the production and marketing of bangus (milkfish) resurges as a promising product in the mariculture and exporting ventures. A top-seller this silvery oily fish is now a providing livelihood to hundred thousands of Filipinos and good health to millions more.
According to sources, bangus has quite a number of nutritional value to flaunt namely, no saturated fat, low in sodium, no sugar, very high in niacin, high in phosphorus, high in selenium, high in vitamin B6, and very high in vitamin B12. On the other hand, other sources claim that it is high in cholesterol. But recent studies have shown that bangus along with other oily fishes like sardines, salmon, tilapia, and bangus are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that help dilate the blood vessels of the heart and brain hence improve the flow of blood these vital organs. Oily fish are those fish which have oils throughout their body and in the belly cavity around the innards.
In a journal of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition an article was published about the gains in taking in omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. It said that these fatty acids “prevented heart disease by exerting an anti-arrhythmic effect on the heart, by inhabiting the developing of narrowing arteries, reducing the levels of undesirable lipoproteins in the blood and reducing blood clots within intact blood vessels.”
Further it disclosed that Omega-3 in oily fish may prevent sudden death, reduce triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of stroke. Researchers opined that omega-3 fatty acids may block the production of inflammatory substances causing rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Even more encouraging are studies that suggest that omega-3s may protect brain cells from Alzheimer’s disease.
There were findings that patients who regularly took fish oil supplements experienced lowering of bad cholesterol level by 26 percent and reduced heart attacks by 19 percent. Health authorities from the Harvard Medical School recommended taking of two to three servings of fish every week to enjoy substantial health benefits that can be derived from Omega-3 possessing fish including bangus. Nutrition experts in the Philippines likewise recommend the same thing.
Notwithstanding this, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard School of Public Health cautioned that the fish should be taken in moderation to achieve the goal of dramatically decreasing the risk of dying from a heart attack. One or two servings of fish containing Omega 3 per week lower their risk of a fatal heart attack by an average of 36 percent, according to Mozaffarian in one published article.
Health experts underscored the fact that in order for one to get their full health benefit, fresh oily fishes are better than canned fish because in the latter condition the omega-3 levels are reduced. Although this may be generally true, one instance defies this rule. Century Canning Corporation, producer of the “fits-all-classes” bangus in can or vacuum-sealed plastic foils which are now being endorsed by heartthrob Piolo Pascual, is able to preserve the Omega 3 nutrient in each bangus.
Sourced from the pure waters of Southern Mindanao, where they are grown healthier and meatier, the bangus are harvested from the sea cages and immediately brought to Century’s world-class processing facilities. The fish, like Century’s tuna and sardines products, are processed and packed on the same day. This assures highest quality and freshness in every pack or can of Century Bangus. As Piolo boasts, “Sarap na farm-fresh, world-class!” Century’s processing facilities have been accredited by the European Union and United States FDA, an affirmation of its adherence to the world’s strict product standards
In his endorsement, Piolo states, “Century Bangus is a cultured seafood that is a renewable and sustainable source of healthy protein. It’s farm-fresh, healthy, tasty and world-class.” Farmed in seawater cages, the bangus is sure clean and has not muddy taste. “It’s perfect for those living the fit and healthy lifestyle yet looking for something convenient as it is of course, ready to cook and ready to eat, making us keep up with everyday demands with much ease,” he adds.
Making fish rich in Omega3 a regular part of one’s balanced diet will not only be good for the brain and heart but will help one to less likely develop dementia, prevent depression and Parkinson’s disease. In 2007, a study conducted on 12,000 pregnant women found that children born to mothers who ate more than 340 grams of seafood per week during pregnancy scored six points higher on tests of verbal IQ than offsprings born to mothers who did otherwise.
However, one unfavorable note about fish is the undetected fish exposure to trace elements of mercury and other environmental pollutants. Fish that contain the low level of mercury are anchovies, catfish, clam, crab, haddock, hake, herring, salmon, sardines, shrimp, trout (freshwater), tuna, and whitefish. The following have higher content of mercury: swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish. While most healthy adults have no problem ridding their selves of the mercury in their bodies, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should take extra care and avoid some types of fish and shellfish to reduce their risk of mercury exposure.
This is why other health specialists rather recommend taking of omega-3 supplements as good alternative. Besides this, there are other sources of these omega-3 fatty acids. There are plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as canola oil, flax seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. The type of omega-3 fatty acids found in plants, called alpha linolenic acid (ALA), is not exactly the same as the fats found in fish, but experts say your body has the capability to transform ALA to both EPA and DHA.
(This writer wishes to extend credits to Froilan Buban Nazareno of Gentuna Corporation for some of the inputs presented. Gentuna is a subsidiary of the Century Canning Corporation maker of Century Bangus, Century Tuna, 555 Tuna, Blue Bay Tuna, and Fresca Tuna).
By: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros
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