Taking part in bass fishing not only benefits your physical health, as it contributes towards your daily activity levels, but as it is an outdoor activity it can also promote good mental health. However, if you eat what you catch, this offers an additional boost to your well-being. Indeed we are recommended to swap some of the meat in our diet each week for fish and seafood, aiming for at least 8oz of protein from these sources weekly. Here we consider what you are set to gain by serving up the fish you bag each week.
A low fat source of protein
As diets high in fat are associated with weight gain, heart disease and the development of certain cancers, the majority of us are encouraged to follow a diet that is low in both total and saturated fat. Foods of animal origin tend to contribute more fat to our diet, but this is a general rule, as poultry, game and fish such as bass are low in fat. The flesh of fish like lean meats has only a small saturated fat content, the type that raises harmful LDL cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Including bass, which typically has a saturated fat content of less than 1%, is therefore a good way to lower your intake and chance of developing chronic diseases.
Contribution towards omega-3 intake
Although we are recommended overall to eat less fat, there is one type of fat we should be eating more of, which is omega-3 fatty acids. Fish represents the best dietary source of these essential fatty acids, which the body is unable to produce itself. A 3oz serving of bass provides around 0.85 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and as reference the minimum intake we should be aiming for daily is 0.16 grams, though consuming more than this is advantageous for the following reasons:
They play an important role in the maintenance of good health, in part because they are a component of the membranes that surround every cell in the body.
Research has shown for many years that with a higher intake of omega-3 you are less likely to develop heart disease, as they can favourably alter blood clotting, blood pressure and levels of a fat known as triglycerides; they can also help to prevent abnormalities in heart rhythm.
They are known to play an important role in brain and eye development in babies and children, and studies show that omega-3 fatty acids aid academic performance at school and provide benefit to children with learning difficulties.
A further role within the brain appears to be the role of omega-3 in maintaining good mental health. Emerging evidence suggests these fatty acids may also prevent cognitive decline and be of benefit to those with dementia.
There is additionally increased interest in the other areas of health to which they may be useful; omega-3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and research is underway to determine whether they could be beneficial in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Rich in vitamins
The group of vitamins that bass makes the greatest contribution to is that of the B vitamins. These vitamins play a wide range of roles within the body from helping us to release the energy from food to keeping our red blood cells and nerves in good condition. Of particular interest are folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 and bass is a good source of the latter two. A diet rich in these B vitamins is associated with a lower likelihood of developing heart disease, a stroke or dementia; the suggested protective mechanism here is that these lower levels of homocysteine, which is thought to damage blood vessels, implicated in all three conditions.
Provides various minerals
Although our soils used to be rich in selenium, a mineral which seems to protect us from cancer and heart disease by mopping up damaging chemicals, intensive farming has depleted its levels; now crops and animals grazed on the land contain relatively little. This is in contrast to fish and seafood, which is rich in the mineral. Bass for instance would meet almost 70% of your daily requirement from just a 3oz serving. For iodine, it’s also mainly creatures of marine origin that provide us with the best source; this mineral is important for the function of the thyroid gland, which controls a range of important processes within the body. In addition, magnesium is found in good amounts in bass and plays a role in normal nerve and muscle function; studies also suggest it can help to control blood pressure.
As you can see, eating bass amongst other seafood can promote your health and that of your family. Ensure you serve up what you catch so that you can all start to reap the benefits.