As we are at the peak of summer, I thought we could talk about a food that we tend to eat a lot more in the summer, especially in August…fish and seafood! I have already talked to you about seafood here, so today I will talk to you about fish! Well, it seems that it is important to eat fish 2 times a week and that we should focus more on fatty fish. The nutritional value of fish is great and the benefits they can offer to the human body seem to be plenty. Therefore, consuming fish on a weekly basis has to be part of a balanced diet.
So, shall we see in detail what they can offer us?
1. They have a high protein content.
Fish are both low in calories and a good source of protein. Of course, the calories can vary considerably depending on the fish and the way it is cooked. Most fish, however, contain more than 18-20 g of protein per 100 g of food and, as you may already know, protein is an essential building block of the body's cells and tissues, and it should be present in every meal. In fact, it is very important to get enough protein, especially during periods of development (childhood and adolescence), during pregnancy, as well as by people who exercise vigorously, such as athletes. So, fish are a great alternative for people who are looking for protein sources that are also low in calories.
2. They are a good source of vitamin Β12 and phosphorus.
Vitamin Β12 is one of the B-complex vitamins and plays an important role in cell metabolism and the nervous system as well. It should be taken from our diet as the body cannot produce it on its own. This vitamin is found in animal-based foods and many plant-based products -especially in recent years- are enriched with vitamin Β12.
Phosphorus, as you probably already know, is a mineral found in the bones of the body and plays an important role in developing healthy bones and teeth, as well as in the normal function of the body. Phosphorus deficiency is usually rare but can lead to anemia, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, bone deformity, osteoporosis, osteopenia, skin problems, and confusion.
So, fish are a good source of vitamin Β12 and phosphorus, and it is important to be consumed especially by people who are deficient.
3. They are rich in "good" Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The research done on Omega 3 fatty acids is ongoing and the benefits seem to be plenty and promising. More specifically, it seems that consuming Omega 3 fatty acids at least once a week reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to people who do not eat fish. There is also positive evidence that Omega 3 fatty acids can reduce and alleviate the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Research also examines the possible benefits of these fats in diseases related to vision, the brain, depression, and Alzheimer's. As I said above, these fats seem to be very promising!
4. They can be combined with countless foods.
The truth is that just by looking at some of my recipes here, you will find countless ways to cook and combine fish. Of course, variety is very important, and trying different recipes can help you finally convince even the pickiest eaters who have a hard time adding fish to their diet. Surely, the many different ideas will also help parents make fish part of their children's diets.
However, there are a few things that we should pay attention to:
1. It would be ideal to know their origin.
You have probably heard this very often lately…The truth is that it is very important to buy our fish from local producers, to know their origin, and to consume them as fresh as possible. Many people are concerned about the levels of mercury in fish, but it seems that when fish are consumed in small quantities, and when fishing is done by following the instructions of experts on cleaning and preparing fish, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. You should also know that the type of fish, the frequency of consumption, and the size of the meal are important factors that ultimately affect the overall benefits and risks of eating.
2. We should cook them as healthily as we can.
It is certain that avoiding deep frying and breading with flour or breadcrumbs, or even serving them with some sauce or French fries, makes them a healthier choice. Especially if you are trying to lose weight, you should cook them in the oven, or steam them, and combine them with salad, vegetables, or -why not- with a pseudocereal such as quinoa or amaranth. In these ways, firstly: you will not increase the calories of the final dish, and secondly: you will reduce the saturated and trans fats, as well as the salt of the whole dish: ingredients that we do not want in our diet in large quantities.
So, what do you think? Will you try more fish this August? If so, I'm waiting for you to send me the recipes you prepared along with the fish you caught!
This article was written in collaboration with the scientific advisor-sports nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr, INDI.
The website akispetretzikis.com offers as a service a variety of articles, based on scientific sources. All the articles are provided as general information and no text should be used as a substitute for advice from a physician or another health scientist, regardless of the date it has been published.