It’s a well-known fact that fish is healthy; and who can forget the delicious fish curry that grandma used to make when we were kids? Or that fish oil that was used to get rid of ‘those bad bugs in the body’? But what exactly does fish do besides simply tasting delicious? Read on to find out.
Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a wide range of health benefits. The human body is not programmed to create significant amounts of essential nutrients; but a regular intake of fish can help fill the gap. Fish is one of the healthiest proteins you can have, and it’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. So… what can a fishy diet do?
Improves cardiovascular health- The omega-3 fatty acids can work wonders for the heart. Eating fish regularly can help prevent cardiovascular diseases and even reduce the risk of heart failure.
Reduces cancer risk- Studies have shown that the fatty acids help prevent some of the most common forms of cancer.
Increases the brain function- Bertie Wooster was quite right when he always prompted Jeeves to eat fish to bring his brain up to scratch and fish him out of trouble. Eating fish helps maintain good mental levels both in children and adults. Studies have also shown that fish oil supplements can boost memory levels in elderly people.
Fights inflammation- Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties; it is extremely helpful in reducing inflammation in the blood and tissues.
Improves vision- Fish is known for its ability to improve vision. It not only helps reduce the risk of eye degeneration, but also promotes healthy functioning of blood vessels.
Better skin care- Sleepless over the first wrinkle that appeared out of nowhere? Time to include fish in your regular diet! The essential fatty acid EPA found in fish oil can help prevent wrinkles and delay the skin’s ageing process. So, enjoy a fishy meal, and have a good night’s sleep; leave the worrying to the omega-3 army!
Fights depression- While studies have not yet pinpointed the actual reasons behind it, they suggest that fish oil can relieve depression and reduce anxiety levels.
But wait! Before you grab that plate of piping hot fish-n-chips, there’s more! It’s important to select the right type of fish, and also choose the correct style of cooking.
Which fish is healthy?
Some of the healthiest fish varieties to choose from are those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids:
• salmon (fresh)
• smoked salmon
Even if your chosen variety of fish is rich in protein and other nutrients, if you get the method of cooking wrong, you get the taste but not the benefits. So, how do you get the most out of it? Here are some healthy ways to cook this protein:
• Baking – Make shallow cuts along the top of the fish and place into a lightly greased pan. Add flavourings such as herbs, lemon juice and a sprinkling of olive oil. Bake in the oven and enjoy.
• Shallow frying – Dry the fish and coat with flour. Pour a small amount olive oil into a pan and fry the fish on a medium heat. Yummy fried fish, but cooked healthier!
• Grilling – Preheat a grill. Cut long slashes into the whole fish which will help the heat penetrate. Place on the grill and baste frequently until cooked to perfection.
• Poaching – This method of cooking is a big favourite among chefs. Place the whole fish in a pot of stock and gently simmer until cooked. Not suited for the flaky varieties of fish.
• Steaming – Place the fish in a steamer or a pan with gently boiling water. Cover and cook.
Fish is full of vitamins, essential nutrients and fatty acids, everything required for a balanced diet. With a dash of all the right seasonings and cooked just right, it makes a complete and delicious meal by itself! Now who says healthy food cannot be scrumptious?!
Canned tuna fish (drained and flaked)
Chicory/parsley a sprig
Method: Toss together the tuna, celery, diced avocado, salt and pepper. Mix the salad dressing and lemon juice and add to the tuna mixture. Blend in carefully. Place in a serving bowl and garnish with chicory or parsley. Bon appétit!