Fishing for Health

If you're looking for a "permission slip" to go fishing this weekend, read on. Because with cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in Montana, you should know that catching that spring trout is more than just good for your belly and your ego.

Trout Is Anti-Inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is a major contributing factor in many chronic conditions including arthritis, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, and cancer. Trout and other wild-caught fish are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which decrease inflammation and help prevent developing these conditions. They also increase HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol) and reduce triglyceride levels, both of which are beneficial to the health of blood vessels and the heart. Eating adequate omega-3 also helps decrease the stickiness of the blood's platelets, which decreases the likelihood of forming the types of blood clots found in stroke and heart attack victims.

Our Trout Can Beat up Your Cod
However, not all wild-caught fish are created equal. Wild-caught salmon has more omega-3 than trout, but there are not a lot of salmon in the rivers of southwestern Montana, and trout is still high in omega-3 (it has more than cod, for example). And besides, "catching" wild salmon at the grocery store never tastes as good as actually catching your own wild trout in the river.

Trout is also high in selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12—all of which help reduce inflammation and damage caused by oxidation. Ideally, a person should eat 3-5 servings of wild caught fish per week. Be sure to avoid the big fish: tuna, shark, swordfish, and sea bass due to the higher concentrations of heavy metals and chemicals stored in its fat.

Nothing Like the Real Thing
If you don’t like fish, you can supplement your diet with fish oil or cod liver oil, but it's not ideal. One thing to remember is that not all products are of equal quality. To avoid heavy metal contaminants, I recommend Nordic Naturals, Carlson’s, Udo’s, or Seroyal brands due to their higher levels of quality control.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be food.” Must've been a fisherman.

Dr. Lou Walters is a Naturopathic Physician at The Source Wellness Center (1924 W Stevens St, Ste 101) in Bozeman. For more information, call 556-0307 or visit