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Ibn al-Qayyim: Fresh Water Fish Is More Beneficial

Posted by SoundHealth on Friday, January 09, 2009
Topics: Fish Salmon
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Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned the benefits of eating fish in his Prophetic Medicine. He said that the best fish was that with a pleasing taste, good-smelling, of moderate size, and with thin skin, consisting of neither hard nor dry flesh. He also gave preference to those which lived in fresh water, and fed on plants, not on anything polluted.

Ibn al-Qayyim said that sea fish was excellent; as it made the body fertile and that the best portion of a fish was that close to the rear of it.


Salmon is classed as a freshwater fish that belongs to the Salmonidae family, which also includes trout. Although salmon generally live in oceans and lakes throughout the world, they do return to freshwater to reproduce. The majority of Atlantic salmon available on the market are typically farmed, while the majority of Pacific salmon are caught in the wild. Farmed salmon is the most popular salmon consumed in Europe and the US.

Health Benefits of Eating Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for proper brain functioning and a healthy cardiovascular system. The flesh is usually orange or red due to the carotenoids found there. Salmon also contains important minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc.

Studies suggest that the inclusion of fatty fish, such as salmon, along with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seed, reduces the risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The omega-3 fats found in salmon have also shown to benefit heart health, depression, asthma and cancer.

Beware of Contaminants in Fish

Fish should be eaten in moderation because nearly all fish and shellfish contain harmful chemicals. The five primary contaminants are mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordane, dioxins, and DDT. Numerous studies have linked these substances to health problems in adults and unborn children.

To minimize the risks, try to find out exactly where your fish comes from and eat fish known to have low levels of contaminants, such as Alaska-caught fish. Also, a high percentage of contaminants collect in the fatty portion of the fish, and in the area between the flesh and skin (in some species this area has darker flesh). Therefore it is advisable to trim away any fat from the back, belly and lateral line. Cooking the fish and allowing the fat to drain away may also reduce possible contaminants.

Tips on Eating Fish

  • Try to eat wild salmon as much as possible, as several studies have found concentrations of PCBs and other contaminants at levels of up to 10 times higher in farmed salmon compared to wild salmon.

  • Fresh, wild-caught salmon are only available for a few months of the year. Farm-raised salmon are available all year round.

  • Fresh fish should either be eaten or frozen within two days of purchase.

  • Common herbs that complement fish include dill and rosemary.


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  • Suzuki S et al. Daily omega-3 fatty acid intake and depression in Japanese patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer. Br I cancer. 2004 Feb;23:90(4):787-793. Von Schacky C, Angerer P, Kothny W, Thiesen K, Mudra H. The effect of dietary n-3 fatty acids on coronary atherosclerosis. Ann Intern Med. 1999; 130: 554-562.

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  • Mahaffey KR, Clickner RP, Bodurow CC. Blood organic mercury and dietary mercury intake: national health and nutrition examination survey, 1999 and 2000. Environ HealthPerspect. 2004;112(5):562-70.

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