Fish and nutrition
- It is very important to choose the right fish which is palatable, nutritious and healthy.
- Consume 2 servings of oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon and herring) which are high in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaeonoic acid).
- EPA and DHA are the two omega 3 fatty acid (essential fatty acid, that needs to be supplied through diet as body cannot synthesize them) that help in decreasing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer and is also beneficial in diabetes mellitus.
- Omega 3 fatty acids also help in healthy brain development, so fish is also called the brain food.
- Vitamin C content in fish is low, but it is a very good source of B – complex vitamins mainly niacin, B12, B6 and thiamine.
- Fish is also considered a very good source of calcium which is necessary for healthy bones.
- Cholesterol levels of fish are not too high (one ounce of fish gives 20 mg cholesterol on an average) and the fat present is primarily unsaturated fats.
- The low sodium content in fish, allows its consumption for those who are on sodium restricted diet.
- The wise way of consuming fish is in steamed form, grilled or dry fry. Excessive cooking in lots of oil might decrease the essential nutrients of fish.
- There are 28,000 different species of fish in the world.
But the number which we consume is much less.
- Fish provides dietary mercury – a metal that can be toxic to brain and nervous system of the fetus. Thus to prevent mercury intoxication pregnant, lactating women and young children should avoid fish with high mercury levels like sword fish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish / golden bass.
- Fish with low mercury levels include shrimp, salmon, blue crab, farmed catfish, flounder and haddock.
- A serving of fish (100 g of fish) gives 15-20 g proteins on an average; the proteins from fish are highly digestible.
- Fish / seafood contain all those nine essential amino acids which our body cannot synthesize and should be supplied in diet.
It is difficult to ignore the nutritional benefits and palatability for fish / seafood which it offers for all age. Including sea foods in diet is a delicious and healthy way to prevent heart diseases. It also helps in maintaining weight as it is high in proteins and comparatively low in fat and cholesterol.