Health and herring
Wednesday August 31, 2005
The Dutch have a proverb along the lines that "if the herring is around, the doctor is far away". The claimed health-giving properties of this oily fish would have come as no surprise to Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper who has just died in her sleep aged 115, the oldest recorded person in the world. Mrs Van Andel-Schipper, a former needlework teacher who was born on June 29 1890, believed that a daily helping of herring had helped her lead a long and healthy life.
Herring is a versatile fish and is particularly popular in Norway. It can be eaten raw, pickled, cooked or smoked, whether split as a kipper or eaten whole as a bloater. The smell of a smoked herring is so strong that the fish is sometimes used to create a false scent to induce hunting dogs to lose a trail - hence the red herring. They are also eaten young in the form of whitebait. Herring have been fished commercially for over 2,000 years and in Britain have provided hundreds of thousands of jobs from Penzance to Stornoway. Many towns and villages grew rich from catching, processing and selling herring, even though the romance of going to sea was always countered by the extreme danger to which fishing communities exposed themselves in an activity that suffered well over 10 times the number of accidents recorded for mining, traditionally the most dangerous land-based industry in the UK.
Whether Mrs Van Andel-Schipper owed her longevity to her daily dose of herring is a moot point as we do not know how long she would have lived if her diet had been different. But we do know that eating fatty fish such as herring is considered very beneficial by most doctors as part of a healthy diet. The trouble is that such diets are threatened by the decline of fishing in the North Sea and by the seemingly unstoppable march of fast food outlets. A herring a day certainly did wonders for Mrs Van Andel-Schipper, just as its British equivalent - "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" - has improved the health of many people people here. A combination of the two would surely prove formidable.
Health and America
America's No. 1 Health Problem: Overweight but Undernourished
© Interview With Dr. Anthony Conte
Interviewed By Richard A. Passwater Ph.D.
You know it for a fact -- Americans are overweight but undernourished. Obesity is a major health problem increasing the risk in almost one out of every three Americans for heart disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, stroke, gout, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, some forms of cancer, sleep apnea, etc. [1,2] There is even good evidence that "calorie restriction" can lead to better health and longer life in laboratory animals.  The health care costs to this country of the morbidity related to obesity were estimated at $39 billion in 1986, and about $30 billion a year is spent in the U. S. in efforts to lose or control body weight. [4,5]
Countless educators have tried to convince Americans that all they have to do is to eat a "balanced diet" (pray tell what that might be) and reduce their calories. But these educators don't live in the real world. They ignore the fact that the average American eats too much junk and not enough whole foods. They ignore the fact that the average American eats too much fat and calories, and can't stop eating at the suggested limit. Every time an "expert" comes out with a new theory, another "expert" proves it wrong. As Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer editorialized in the Journal of the American Medical Society, "Decreasing food intake and increasing activity seems an easy formula, yet it is proving extremely difficult to implement." 
All cats love fish but fear to wet their paws.
Terminal City BM 08: http://www.apokiliptika.com/terminal_city_page.htm