Health benefits of Eating Fish

Did you know that fish helps to prevent heart disease? Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death but people who eat fish regularly have much less heart disease compared to people who never eat fish. And this is one of the reasons that experts recommend eating fish at least twice a week.

In the face of increasing obesity and decreasing health standards, governments and food and health advisory bodies in Europe and the USA are actively encouraging their populations to consume more fish in their diet.

Health benefits of eating salmon Burren Smokehouse

So how can fish help us with maintaining a healthy diet?

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are the most beneficial substance in fish. The oils are termed ‘essential’ because we need them to live a healthy life but cannot synthesise them effectively.

Benefits of omega-3 contained in fish:

  • cardiovascular health
  • relief from arthritis
  • mental health
  • brain development
  • preventing or moderating cancers
  • anorexia nervosa
  • schizophrenia
  • aggression
  • behaviour and learning difficulties in children
  • Osteoporosis
  • weight loss
  • helps with rheumatoid arthritis
  • inflammatory bowel disease

In addition to the benefits of the essential omega-3 oils, as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports that fish is a food of excellent nutritional value, providing

  • high quality protein
  • a wide variety of vitamins including vitamins A and D
  • minerals
  • phosphorus
  • magnesium
  • selenium
  • iodine

in marine fish.

Read more about why fish supports the immune system

Omega-3 oil in Burren smoked Irish organic salmon

Now this was surprising, even for us

Central to the proven health benefits are the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids so we had the omega-3 contents of our organic Irish salmon analysed. And we wanted to know the ratio of omega-3 oils in comparison to the non-organic salmon.

The result was amazing!

The omega-3 oil content in the non-organic salmon was 228mg (or 0.228g) per 100g, while the organic salmon contained 2491mg (or 2.49g) per 100g – almost 11 times more!

Burren Smokehouse Irish organic Smoked Salmon

And finally, what benefits do we get from eating fish?

The following review highlights some typical and important examples of many thousands of research publications linking fish oils with human health benefits.

Mental health and development

Fish oils in fatty fish are the richest source of Omega-3 oils which are vital to normal brain development in unborn babies and in infants. Without adequate amounts of these fatty acids, normal brain development does not take place.

Reducing heart attacks and strokes

Eskimos, Japanese and Koreans have lower rates of heart disease because a big part of their diet is based on fish. No blood clots, no narrowing of the arteries by deposition of fatty material.

Diabetics especially benefit: People with diabetes are two to six times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) than people without diabetes. Fish oil supplementation significantly lowers serum triglyceride levels in diabetic individuals.


A prospective study in the US followed 815 people aged over 65 from 1993 to 2000. Initially none had Alzheimer’s disease. During the study period 131 developed the disease. When incidence was compared with diet it was seen that those who consumed fish at least once per week had 60% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who consumed it less often or not at all.


Typically, a high incidence of depression occurred in those countries with a low consumption of fish. For example, in New Zealand, with fish consumption around 18kg per annum, depression was scored at 5.8%. In Japan, with a fish consumption of 68kg per annum, depression was 0.12%.

In the UK researchers administered EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) to 70 depressed patients for 12 weeks. Eicosapentaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. The patients, who had all previously tried conventional treatments such as Prozac, reported improvements with sadness, anxiety and sleeping problems.