Fish and its benefits
This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.
Fish is one of the most nutritionally valuable foods. It is an excellent source of protein, unsaturated fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. Unfortunately, only 10 % of the US population eat fish more than twice a week. In Australia and Canada, the percentage is slightly higher, but still not satisfactory.
Why is it important to eat fish at least three times a week?
Because people who eat fish more than three times a week have a 50% lower risk for heart attack and stroke! This fact has been confirmed in several serious research. Fish is extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are excellent antioxidants. Antioxidant is the substance that helps your body to fight against free radicals - chemical substances that damage blood vessel walls. Damage to blood vessel walls leads to the adhesion of platelets at these locations and formation of a thrombus. A thrombus can be detached and transfer through the bloodstream to the heart's blood vessels (which leads to clogging blood vessels and heart attack), or it can clog the blood vessels of the brain (causing a stroke). So, omega 3 fatty acids prevent damaging blood vessels and thus reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Therefore, please note that it is very important to eat fish more than three times a week, especially people with a genetic predisposition to heart attack or stroke, or people having other risk factors (obesity, diabetes or high cholesterol).
Nutritional value of fish
Fish has an excellent ratio between essential and non-essential amino acids. Fats contained in fish are mainly composed of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids (so-called "healthy fats"). It has a very low content of cholesterol and triglycerides. The average cholesterol content in fish is 50 mg per 100 grams of fish.
Depending on the type of fish, it can contain high levels of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Marine fish also has a lot of iodine.
Fish contains mostly vitamins that are soluble in fats, including: vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K and vitamin E. In addition, it also contains water-soluble vitamins (mainly B group vitamins).
Fish oil, which is derived from the liver of marine fish, is the richest natural source of vitamin D and A.
Fish meat is more easily digested than red meat because it is composed of softer muscle fibers. You probably already know that the fish meat is very easy to prepare.
The only disadvantage of fish meat, so to speak, is that after you eat fish, the hunger will quickly recur because the fish meat is quickly and easily digested (for 3 hours or less). But, on the other hand, because it is quickly digested, fish meat has less liability on your stomach, which is beneficial to the health of your digestive tract.
Fish meat generally does not have many calories, and is recommended for those who are on a diet.
From a nutritional standpoint, fish should be one of the leading foods in the diet of everyone, regardless of gender, age, or physical activity.
It is suitable for children whose body is constantly growing and developing, but is also suitable for elderly people who have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is also recommended for use in obesity, in people with cancer, people with digestive problems, as well as in people who have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Fish should be eaten at least twice per week (2 meals per week), but most nutritionists recommend the use of fish at least 3 times a week.
Fish should only be eaten in limited amounts during pregnancy, because some fish may contain more heavy metals, especially mercury which is not harmful for an adult, but it can be harmful to the fetus. Fish that are rich in mercury are swordfish, tilefish and tuna. Therefore, it is not recommended to eat fish more than twice a week during pregnancy.
There are many species of fish and they differ in their composition and the amount of fat they have. The age of the fish also has an impact on its nutritional composition (older fish have a higher percentage of fat). The area around the fish head has a high content of fat, while a part around the tail has significantly less fat. Fish should be cooked or grilled. Avoid using spices because spices will reduce the content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Frying fish reduces its nutritional value and makes it difficult to digest. Not only does frying reduce the nutritional value, but it also can lead to creating toxic substances. This is the reason why frying fish should definitely be avoided.
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If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.