In today’s message, we start by asking you a question: Is it a coincidence that fish consumption in Portugal has decreased and chronic diseases have increased over the last decade? Let’s find out!

First of all, it should be noted that fish consumption over the last 50 years in the European Union has grown: it is estimated to have doubled between 1960 to 2011! However, since 2008, fish consumption has reached a level explained by the financial crisis.

Specifically, in Portugal,  fish catch stabilized from the year 2000, having even decreased after 2012, as demonstrated in figure 1.

On the other hand, how have the main causes of death in Portugal changed over the last decade? They are: cardiovascular disease, malignant tumours, diabetes mellitus, and chronic respiratory disease.

They have gradually increased! Is it a coincidence?

According to a meta-analysis (a review of several cohort studies) published in 2016 in the well-known journal Nature, groups that consumed large amounts of fish were associated with a significant reduction in risk (-6%) for all-cause mortality. Compared to “non-fish consumers”, an average intake of 60 g per day was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of mortality!

So there seems to be no doubt! Increased consumption of fish reduces the risk of death and major preventable chronic diseases. It is no random occurrence that in countries with high consumption of fish, such as Japan, average life expectancy is the longest in the world: more than 84 years! In that country, the main cause of death is not cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, but cancers, resulting from natural cellular ageing and the enormous longevity of the population. Still think it’s a coincidence?

The science is clear: higher fish consumption means more health and longer life! Take care of your and your family’s health now, not just when you are sick. Eating fish every day, especially fatty fish three times a week, is the key to this equation.

Care for yourself and your family. Eat good quality fish.

Dietitian Catarina Cachão Bragadeste, n.º 0402N
A Dietitian’s Daily Blog®

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