While beef, chicken, pork and lamb dominate food intake across most households, fish is often overlooked – even though it is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. While some varieties can lack the flavour and succulence of a juicy piece of steak, a chicken breast or a lamb shank, there are many methods of cooking fish that can be rich with flavour. When seasoned to perfection, a juicy salmon fillet can be divine, pleasing all members of the household (including all the fussy kids out there). Here are several health benefits of incorporating more fish into your weekly eating schedule!
Easy to prepare
While there are many great health benefits attached to eating more fish, one of the greatest advantages is the ease of preparation. In fact, you won’t have to spend all evening in the kitchen to produce a fish meal. For example, you can bake, sear, fry or even boil salmon, and its flavour is so versatile that it can be paired with a range of grains and vegetables. For example, salmon is often prepared with mashed potato and an assortment of steamed greens, like beans and broccoli. Steam the vegetables and potato, while seasoning the salmon with garlic, vinegar, lemon, lime or even honey, depending on whether you’re going for a sweet or tangy flavour.
Perfect for the development of children
Most types of fish contain what are referred to as Omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for the healthy development of young children. It’s equally important for foetal development, so pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers are encouraged to consume more fish to help the development of their children. The fatty acids help with brain and eye development in children, along with the formation of their nervous system.
However, we recommend that pregnant women only consume low-mercury fish, like salmon and sardines, since high mercury quantities have been linked to brain development problems. Likewise, raw fish (sashimi) can contain microorganisms that could harm the foetus, so it’s best to keep away from sushi for the duration of your pregnancy.
A terrific source of vitamin D
Vitamins are essential nutrients that perform critical functions in your body. They can help with healing wounds and improve your immune system. Referred to as the “sunlight vitamin” because it is produced in your skin’s response to sunlight, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is critical in regulating several essential bodily functions. If you’re unable to get much sunlight during the day (for whatever reason), fish is your next best bet. A single tablespoon of cod liver oil will give you more than 200% the needed daily intake, while a single 113-gram salmon fillet will provide you with close to what you need per day.
Improves your autoimmune health
The chances of developing autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes can be lowered by sticking to a consistent diet that involves a few servings of fish per week. This is because several studies have reportedly connected the consumption of fish oil and omega-3 acids with lower rates of type 1 diabetes in both children and adults. Furthermore, some experts believe that fish can lower the likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis; however, it is essential to note that the current evidence supporting this is tenuous.
Other great minerals
Fish contains a lot of healthy minerals beyond omega-3, and vitamin D. Fish is also rich in calcium and phosphorous, which are great for bone strength and development. In addition, cans of tuna, sardines and salmon are a great source of zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. Zinc is essential for metabolism and growth; iron is critical in energy production, while potassium helps regulate muscle contractions and nerve signals.
Clearly, fish can and should be incorporated into at least two weekly meals because of the terrific health benefits. However, you don’t have to spend hours and hours in the kitchen, since fish remains one of the most versatile and easily prepared food sources.