Sardines – A Mix of Health Benefits and Risks! Introduction
Sardines, a type of fish, are believed to be some of the healthiest foods to eat. They are full of EPA, omega-3 fatty acids, and DHA that helps in reducing cholesterol and are good for the health of the heart.
However, by having too much fish you'll end up having excessive mercury that is present in ocean fishes. Although, lower volumes of mercury will not cause any harm to your health, consuming too much fish containing more than the usual level of mercury may cause harmful health conditions.
Luckily, sardines generally possess no risks to the health and have minimum volumes of mercury.
How can Fish have Mercury in them?
Mercury is a natural mineral. It is constantly released into the air by means of industrial pollution. When the mercury drops into the sea from the air, it converts into methyl mercury.
Fishes that live in the sea and ocean end up consuming this substance which makes them unhygienic for human consumption. According to EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency) website "if you continue to eat fish containing high amounts of methylmercury on a regular basis, the substance will mount up in your blood stream over a period of time. Though, this substance removes naturally from your body, this may take more than a year."Symptoms
There are various symptoms or indications of mercury poisoning which are similar to those of arsenic poisoning. These include difficulties in speech, clumsy movements, vision impairment, severe muscle weakness, and a sense of "pins and needles" in the mouth area and other body parts. Natural mercury poisoning can be cured by giving the victim a medical drug called 'chelators', as mentioned on the website of National Institutes of Health. This drug helps in completely removing the mercury from your body. However, this can only be done if it's taken for a number of weeks or even months.How often can Sardines be consumed?
According to a study, children and pregnant women can have sardines twice or thrice in a week, while everyone else can have them 3 to 6 times per week. Like sardines, other fishes that include similar volumes of mercury include canned light tuna, salmon, flounder, canned Atlantic mackerel, whitefish, smelt and haddock. These can be eaten in similar amounts as mentioned for sardines with the similar limitations for pregnant women and children. Larger fishes that have longer lives have the maximum volumes of mercury.Benefits of Sardines
Sardines, if eaten in the suggested quantity, provide a number of benefits to your health. They provide intense amounts of vitamin B-12 which is a vital vitamin for your heart and blood cells' health. Homocysteine, a substance that harms arterial walls and cause atherosclerosis, is also reduced to a greater extent. Sardines are also rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are both good for the health of your bones and which prevents osteoporosis. Moreover, selenium found in sardines reduces the risk of particular cancers.
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