Herring is a shiny, small, commercial fish found in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, North Pacific Ocean and Baltic Sea. This staple of Scandinavian, Polish and German cuisines offers many health benefits, ranging from helping to prevent cardiovascular disease to promoting good mental health. Herring has a delicate taste with light, soft flesh and is widely available in North American markets in a variety of forms, from pickled to smoked to fresh.
One of the chief benefits of eating herring is the benefits you get from the Omega-3 fatty acids found in this fish. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to promoting good heart health by helping to reduce triglyceride levels and reducing high blood pressure. Omega-3 acids have even been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids also offer a positive impact on a person's mental health. Scientific evidence has linked high levels of Omega-3 acids and a lower rate of depression. Other studies show Omega-3 to be an excellent complimentary treatment with traditional medications for people with ADHD. Also, the high levels of vitamin D in herring increase serotonin and can help ease stress.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties. Selenium, another anti-inflammatory agent, is also found in herring. Reducing the amount of inflammation in the body not only reduces pain but can help a person's general health. High amounts of inflammation have been linked to chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Although it hasn't been decisively proven, the Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in herring may decrease the risk of getting certain cancers, as well as help, reduce the severity of the side effects associated with chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, such as nausea and low red blood cell counts.
The minerals in herring, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, help promote good bone health. These minerals work to form hydroxyapatite, the mineral complex that makes up your teeth and bones. The high protein content in herring is also useful in helping the body make collagen, a substance that contributes to good bone strength.
Red blood cells work to transport oxygen throughout the body, keeping your other cells healthy. Iron and vitamin B-12 found in each serving of herring help make hemoglobin, the protein that binds oxygen to the blood cells. Amino acids, which are also found in herring, are another component in making hemoglobin.
The potassium found in herring helps your nerve cells to send electrical signals -- a process central to good brain function. In addition, vitamin B-6 found in herring helps your body make chemicals important for nerve communication. A single serving of herring provides 15 percent of your daily requirement of potassium.
Another benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids in herring is to help children and infants growth healthily. The combination of good bone health and developing a strong immune system helps young ones get a healthy start in life. Having plenty of vitamin D, also in herring, also helps children grow strong.
People who have type-2 diabetes should consume more foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as herring. That's because these omega-3 acids help lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, assisting patients to avoid heart disease, a condition that often goes hand-in-hand with diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids help improve immune response. This is in part because it reduces inflammation and enhances the function of immune B cells as well as reducing body fat. When the antioxidant astaxanthin, found in salmon and lobster, is combined with omega-3 acids, the benefit is multiplied.
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