CLEARWATER — Sometimes, George Zadorozny noted, he can’t quite figure out why everyone seems so eager to promote Tilapia.
“All the restaurants are pushing tilapia,” he said.
But while this popular freshwater fish, a common name for nearly a hundred species from the tilapiine cichlid tribe, is indeed a staple of many upscale restaurants, Zadorozny cautioned that the smart consumer might be well advised to instead try, say, a plate of salmon — or even sardines.
“Stay away from Tilapia,” he cautioned.
Zadorozny’s skepticism about Tilapia has nothing to do with the taste of this particular fish dish, or how much a typical plate of tilapia costs compared to other meals. What really concerns him is its omega content.
“It’s a fatty fish,” he said, “with the wrong kind of fats. Fats are divided into various omegas, and the typical American diet is unbalanced when it comes to omegas.”
How unbalanced? On Saturday, Zadorozny gave a presentation on his personal “Adventures in Alternative Medicine” during the Solar nRG conference — the regional gathering of the Tampa Bay chapter of American Mensa, held at the Holiday Inn in Clearwater.
Zadorozny, who works in the field of law, admits that he’s not a doctor or a medical expert. But he did want to share his own experience with something he said has enabled him to cope successfully with daily stress: supplements.
“Modern American life is very stressful, as we all know, and supplements help us deal with that,” he said. “If you have too much stress, it starts doing bad things to you.”
Which brought Zadorozny back to tilapia. In search of a healthy diet that promotes fitness and helps reduce stress, Zadorozny said he discovered the benefits of natural dietary supplements, including Fish Oil tablets rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that the omega-3s can help lower triglycerides and blood pressure, and may play a role in reducing inflammation in the body, including in the blood vessels and joints.
Those facts got Zadorozny’s attention.
“Most diseases of aging are diseases of inflammation,” he said. “So if we can keep down inflammation, we can age more gracefully.”
Supplements help provide the body with anti-inflammatory substances, he said – with fish oil pills being a good example of this. Because what the body critically needs, he said, is a healthy balance of omega-3s and omega-6s.
“The typical American diet is full of omega-6, with a lot less omega-3, and that can cause inflammation,” he said. “Because the fish oils are providing omega-3s which is lacking in the American diet, it counterbalances all the omega-6s.”
Omega-3 and omega-6 are both types of essential fatty acids, but differ from one other in their chemical structure. As Zadorozny noted, in modern diets there are few sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which mainly come from the fat of cold water fish like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish.
“Too much of Omega-6 promotes inflammation,” he said.
Tilapia, he noted, flunks the essential omega-3 test.
Zadorozny said a fine alternative to most modern diets is to consider adopting the Mediterranean Diet – which he called a “healthy diet that includes – yes, chocolate. People who follow the Mediterranean diet reduce their risk of heart attack and disease by 30 percent. That is huge. If a pill could do that, we would all be taking it.”
That increasingly popular diet, he said, consists of very little red meat and substitutes it with plenty of fish, olive oil, fruits and nuts.
Olive oil should be used in abundance on salads and cooked vegetables, while this diet also includes three servings a day of fresh fruit, combined with legumes, lentils, soybeans and peas.
Zadorozny also uses other supplements, like Vegetarian Glucosamine and Black Cherry juice concentrate, “which is particularly good for people who have gout.”
Zadorozny is an attorney at law with a practice in Port Richey, Fla. He can be reached at 727-687-3588.
American Mensa has more than 57,000 members. To qualify for Mensa, members scored in the top 2 percent of the general population on an accepted standardized intelligence test.
The Memorial Day Weekend conference included a “Chocolate Orgy” — a chocolate fountain in the second floor hospitality room.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.