We have known for decades that people who eat fish have a lower risk of heart disease but did you know that eating fish at least once a week can cut your chances of a fatal heart attack by more than 50%? Regular consumption of fish is also linked to the prevention of medical conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
But fish has a lot more going for it than protection against disease – it’s a powerhouse of good nutrition, helping the body to get many of the nutrients it can easily miss out on.
Fish is low in fat and rich in protein, which is needed for strong muscles and a healthy immune system, skin and hair. Fish is also rich in iodine, zinc and selenium – essential nutrients that are not found in many other foods; iodine is needed for a healthy metabolism; zinc is necessary for healthy skin and the immune system; and selenium is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants.
Fish is also a rich source of several essential vitamins, notably B vitamins which are found in almost all fish – one portion of fish will provide your full day’s requirement for vitamin B12. Oil-rich fish are also excellent sources of vitamins A and D: vitamin A promotes healthy skin and good eyesight and vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium from food. We normally get vitamin D from sunshine, bit if the skies are grey you may be running low; eating oil-rich fish is an excellent way to build up your reserves.
And, if all that is not enough, oil-rich fish are among the best sources of Omega-3 fats. These essential fats are needed for healthy brain development during pregnancy and childhood, and they also help to protect the brain from decline in old age. Omega-3 fats also help to keep skin healthy and may play a role in helping to prevent a wide range of conditions, from dyslexia and ADHD to Type 1 diabetes and asthma.
So it is with good reason that nutritionists recommend that we eat fish at least twice a week – and include oil-rich fish at least once a week. At last: a food we love that’s also good for us!