It seems that frying affects the amount of Omega 3 in your fish

Probably by now most of our readers have heard that the best Omega 3 fatty acids come from fish. But is there much Omega 3 in the fish that you’re eating tonight? Not if it’s fried fish.

Whilst our preferred option for getting plenty of high-quality Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet is by taking  fish oil supplements there is no doubt that eating fish is another way to do that.

Eating fish for your Omega 3 however does have its problems. We’ve spoken before about the contamination of fish, including with Mercury, and also about how expensive it’s getting.

But we haven’t discussed how much Omega 3 is in fish that is cooked in different ways.Omega 3 in fried fish

Unfortunately there is evidence that the amount of Omega 3 in fish that makes its way onto your dinner plate can vary enormously according to how it’s cooked, and that frying your fish robs it of much of those important Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Yes unfortunately the way you cook your fish has a large bearing on how much Omega 3 there is in your fish it seems.

A study done in December 2010, and published in the Neurology journal, has found that those living in the so-called “stroke belt” in the southern States are eating too much fried fish.

The “stroke belt” is a series of states including North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas and Louisiana where there is an uncharacteristically high rate of death from stroke, and a particularly high rate amongst African-Americans.

The study established that people who lived in the “stroke belt” were 32 percent more likely to eat at least 2 or more servings of fried fish than those of us who live elsewhere in the country.

And African-Americans were 3 1/2 times more likely to eat 2 or more servings of fried fish than Caucasians.

The suggestion is that frying the fish will leach out those all important Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

The lead author of the study done at Emory University in Atlanta has postulated that one of the reasons for the higher incidence of stroke and death related to stroke in these States is the higher rate of consumption of fried fish.

And that the high rate of fried fish consumption amongst African-Americans may be a factor in explaining their higher rate of stroke.

Now of course the study doesn’t mean that it is just fried fish causing all those strokes. But it is certainly highly coincidental that the highest rate of stroke both by region and by racial differences coincides exactly with a high rate of intake of fried fish.

So is there Omega 3 in the fish that you’re serving up tonight? It is of course very hard to know, it varies enormously from one species of fish to another, it depends on whether, in the case of salmon for instance, it’s wild or farmed fish, and a host of other factors.

But the study certainly gives reason to doubt that you should be frying your fish if you’re eating it hoping to attract the health benefits of more Omega 3 in your diet.

As said before the best way to take regular daily doses of Omega 3 is to take Omega 3 capsules. The best Omega 3 capsules, (though not all) are entirely free of contamination, have very high levels of the active ingredients DHA and EPA, and are much more cost effective to take daily than it is to buy fish.

However there is no reason to swear off fish.

But you might be better to steam or bake it than to fry it.

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