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The 47p food that could help your hearing

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“Most of a child’s brain develops during the third trimester of pregnancy,” says McBurney. “Pregnant and lactating women can benefit their child by increasing their fatty-acid intake. Experts recently recommended that obstetricians assess the omega-3 intake and status of pregnant women, and if blood omega-3 red blood cell DHA concentration is less than five per cent, they should be advised to eat eight to 12 ounces of high-DHA fish daily.”   

However, there is one caveat, namely that fish can be contaminated with mercury, which can be toxic to the body. McBurney says that one alternative is to take DHA supplements, while Humphries recommends eating smaller fish.   

“My policy as a nutritionist tends to be that the smaller the fish, the better, because they tend to have fewer toxins,” she says. “Sardines, mackerel and herrings are good. Trout is also underrated, as it’s not a large fish but has a lot of omega-3s in it.”   

Maintaining vision   

The DHA content within fish is thought to be beneficial for the eyes because DHA is present in high concentrations within the retina, the layer at the back of the eyeball which converts light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain.  

According to James Vickers, a registered nutritionist at Vitality, the vitamin-A content within fish can also help support aspects of our eye health.   “It helps with certain functions, such as adjusting your eyesight in dim light, or when you go from a dark room to a light room,” he says.   

Repairing damage to cells

Fish and shellfish are a natural source of a mineral called selenium, which supports the body in making some of the vital antioxidants it requires to repair cells, or neutralise harmful chemicals that have been produced as a by-product of consuming ultra-processed food.   

“Our body needs selenium when we’re trying to make new cells or repair something,” says Humphries. “When we eat sugar, we produce a load of damaging chemicals, and we have to somehow cancel out each one, which is done through inbuilt antioxidants in the body. Selenium supports us in making these antioxidants.”   

Strengthening bones   

Some seafood such as whitebait, and canned sardines and salmon, have edible bones, which can be a source of useful nutrients for our own bone health.   

“This can give you a little bit of calcium and magnesium phosphate,” says registered nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr. “Fish and seafood are also a great source of high-quality protein made up of amino acids that support strong bones. The omega-3s can also help reduce inflammation, which can help as chronic inflammation may contribute to bone loss with age and increase risk of osteoporosis.”   

Boosting immunity   

Seafood is also a source of zinc, a mineral that activates enzymes capable of breaking down proteins in viruses and bacteria, stopping them from spreading within the body.  

“The vitamin-A content in fish again supports immune function, for example helping our immunity against the common cold,” says Vickers.   

Heart health   

Omega-3s have long been studied as a way of protecting the heart, particularly in vulnerable individuals. In 2007, a Japanese study called Jelis saw heart-attack or stroke survivors receive omega-3 doses alongside statins, a regimen that was found to reduce their chances of having repeat problems.   

“This was also seen in a big trial in Italy many years ago called Gissi,” says Humphries. “Cardiovascular health is thought to be one of the major benefits of omega-3s.”



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