Why we should all be eating more sustainably caught fish
I know fish is good for me. Pretty sure you know that, too. But, I’m guilty of not eating enough of it. So today, we’re taking a closer look at this fishy topic. Because when I understand the WHY of something, I find it easier to introduce it into my life.
Maybe you are like that, too?
Why is sustainability important?
- the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level
- avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
In AIP-land, we already know that sourcing protein from grass-fed, pasture-raised, happy animals matters. Sustainable fishing allows us to fish in our oceans indefinitely for edible seafood, without depleting the planet of species of fish.
The longer I follow an AIP way of life, the more invested I become in the provenance of my food – where it came from, what it ate, how it was raised and how it was killed.
Over-fishing causes damage to ecosystems and pushes them out of balance. When we endanger a single species of fish, we affect more than that just that species. We also impact those animals that prey on or that are prey for our endangered fishy-in-question.
Just as deforestation and overdevelopment of land can have a devastating effect on wildlife, so too can overfishing cause a negative cascade of events in ocean ecosystems that can prove difficult to stop. And while it is certainly true that environmental concerns are chief among reasons in favour of sustainable fishing, overfishing and resulting damaged ecosystems also directly affects the seafood we eat.
Supporting sustainable fishing allows us to keep eating delicious seafood long into the future, while also protecting the water-based ecosystems that protect much of the life on this planet. More sustainable fisheries are popping up, where specialists track seafood as populations in line with local, state, and federal regulations. Most countries now have strict regulations on commercial fishing and require fishing licenses to get started.
Here in Australia, GoodFish is Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide. They have a tool that provides a comprehensive assessment of the sustainability of over 160 seafood choices available at Australian fishmongers, supermarkets and restaurants covering 90% of what is available at market. I think it’s worth checking out!
Why should we be eating more fish?
So many reasons! Fish is über nutrient-dense. it’s your best dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA. It’s great for your gut because it is such a digestible protein.
As with everything AIP-related – the more variety the better. Try not to just stick with salmon.
Over in AIP Mentorship, we’ve been slowly making our way through the vitamins and what they do to support our health. (Spoiler alert – there are a lot of vitamins!) Fish is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. Most notably:
- DHA – You’ve heard the old adage about fish being brain food? Well, the already mentioned DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is found in your brain and at the back of your eye in your retina. DHA plays an important role in maintaining brain function. It’s also used to treat some mood disorders and has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease
- EPA – EPA is DHA’s cousin, another omega-3 fatty acid that plays an important part in reducing inflammation and the general health of your cells. DHA may also help reduce symptoms of depression.
- VITAMIN B6 – also known as Pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is important for cell development. It also plays an important role in making hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in your blood. You need B6 to help you produce neurotransmitters like GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.
- VITAMIN B12 – also known as Cobalamin, vitamin B12 helps with your energy metabolism. In fact, the B vitamins are widely known as the ‘energy vitamins’. It also assists in your body’s DNA production. You need adequate B12 to maintain cardiovascular, brain, and nervous system health.
- VITAMIN D – You probably already know that vitamin D is a vital steroid hormone that assists in many aspects of your health. You need adequate levels of vitamin D for calcium absorption, immune system function, bone development, modulation of cell growth, and the reduction of inflammation.
- VITAMIN E – A group of eight fat-soluble antioxidants make up vitamin E. All forms of vitamin E help to protect your body against free radical damage and to reduce the harmful oxidation of LDL cholesterol particles in your bloodstream. It’s also beneficial to cardiovascular health.
What’s the bottom line if you’re following an AIP way of life? – Fatty fish like salmon and trout and sardines and mackerel should be on your menu at least three times a week.
One of the reasons I’m on a bit of a fishy-quest at the moment is because I’ve been working my way through Dr Sarah Ballantyne’s latest book – The Gut Health Guidebook. It almost goes without saying that it’s an excellent resource and one that I recommend.
<– Sarah has this to say about why we should all be eating more (sustainably-caught) fish.
Do you eat 3 serves of fish every week? I’d love to hear about your favourite fish recipe…