Health and Education
Nutrition

Is fish really brain food?
The human brain is more than 60% fat. Your muscles are made of protein, your bones are made of calcium, and your brain is over 60% fat. So, yes. Omega-3 rich fish really is brain food.
What in fish makes it brain food?
You wouldn’t put random fat into your brain. Omega-3 oils are liquid at room temperature, and are healthy oils. They are far better than trans fats (hydrogenated oils) or saturated fats (solid at room temperature). They are even better than other types of polyunsaturated fats, like safflower, corn or sunflower. These oils are unsaturated too, but we already get plenty of them in our diet.
What types of fat are there in nature?
There are 3 types of fat. There is saturated fat (solid at room temperature), trans fat (also solid) and unsaturated fat (liquid).
What type of fat does seafood have?
Seafood has unsaturated fat. It has no trans fat—ever. And no saturated fat, or else it couldn’t swim because it would be stiff as a board.
What does my body need?
Your body needs unsaturated fat to make nerve cells, cushion your eyes and hips, and to work well. It doesn’t need trans fat—ever. It needs a tiny bit of saturated fat—no one knows how much.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in the body that is a combination of fat and alcohol. You need some cholesterol for your body to work well—to make cells and to make hormones. Too high a level of cholesterol, however, puts you at risk for heart disease.
How does my body get high cholesterol?
Your body makes all the cholesterol you need in the liver. You get high cholesterol by eating too many foods high in saturated fat and trans fat.
I understand that seafood is high in cholesterol. Is that true?
No. Three ounces of crab has 90 milligrams of cholesterol—just 30% of the recommended daily value. And it has only 1 gram of fat, which is unsaturated. Other good-for-you cooked fish and seafood have about the same in 3 ounces: cod 85 milligrams, halibut 85mg, lobster 85 mg, salmon 85mg, yellowfin tuna 85mg.
Does the cholesterol in food raise my cholesterol level?
Very little. If you have over 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily, every day, for weeks or months, your cholesterol level will go up slightly: perhaps 2%. But if you eat modest portions of seafood (3 ounces) or even larger portions (6-8 ounces), your cholesterol should not rise.
Does eating seafood, especially crab, raise my cholesterol level?
No, because what raises your cholesterol level is saturated and trans fat, not cholesterol from food. If you eat too much and gain weight, however, your weight gain will raise your cholesterol. But 3 ounces of crab is just 100 calories, and has 20 grams of lean protein to boot.
What do the healthy omega-3 fats in crab do?
Fish and shellfish, including crab, contain an unsaturated fat known as Omega-3. These fats lower your risk for heart disease.
Doesn’t the body make all the fat it needs?
No. Omega-3 fats are called “essential” because they are essential to survival. But we cannot make them—we have to eat them. Fish are the best source of Omega-3 fats.
How much Omega-3 fat does crab have?
400 milligrams in a 3-ounce serving—a healthy amount of healthy fat.
Do the healthy Omega-3 fats help the heart by lowering my cholesterol level?
No, probably not. Omega-3 fats do not change LDL (lousy) cholesterol levels. But eating fish or shellfish, twice per week or more reduces risk for heart disease and for heart attack.
How much fish should I eat?
It is recommended that you eat fish at least twice per week, and up to 5 times per week. Average annual fish consumption in Japan is 70 kg (about 154 pounds) in contrast to the American average of 22 kg (48.4 pounds).
Where should I go for dietary guidelines?
Visit www.mypyramid.gov for dietary suggestions and guidelines from the USDA.
-source Dr. John La Puma, MD, FACP