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The health benefits of fish

By PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, September 04, 2017

 

FISH is said to be the richest natural source of Omega-3 and is recommended for regular consumption because of its high-quality, low-calorie make-up. But those are not the only reasons offered by nutritionist Chloë-Faith Perez for increasing your fish intake. She argues that the seafood has an extensive list of health benefits that you should take advantage of.

“It is recommended that we eat at least two servings of fish per week, as this can prove to be very beneficial. Fish is not only low in fat but high in protein and is packed with many other essential vitamins and minerals. Most fish are also rich in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium. It is also rich in vitamin D and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in the diet,” Perez outlined.

These essential nutrients, according to Perez, have their role in keeping our hearts and brains healthy. Below she shares how most of these nutrients benefit the body:

 

Protein

“Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. It is used to build and repair tissues and is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, hair, nails, enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals,” Perez said. It is therefore important that we get the recommended amounts in order for our bodies to perform at their best. Perez said that protein should comprise 10 to 35 per cent of our daily calorie intake.

 

Most recognised benefits of omega-3

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and are especially high in fatty fish. Some good choices are salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and tuna. “Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of sudden death, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm and strokes,” Perez said. In addition, she pointed out that in the case of pregnant women, mothers who are breastfeeding, and women of childbearing age, fish intake is important because it supplies DHA, which is beneficial for the brain development of infants.

 

Another noted benefit of eating fish includes its ability to reduce inflammation to the skin caused by the sun. Research has also shown that it reduces the risk of autoimmune conditions such as type-one diabetes, improves appetite and reduces weight loss in cancer patients, improves osteoporosis, improves gynaecological issues such as helping to manage menstrual cramps, reduces symptoms of menopause, and helps in the reduction of allergies and other skin conditions such as eczema.

Perez recommended that in order to optimise the benefits of fish, it is important to remember to use healthy cooking methods to prepare your meals; for example, baking, jerking, steaming and sautéing.