Advantages of Eating Fish Foods
Australia's leading health research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), suggests that Australians should eat more fish. This is because fish is low in fat, high in protein and an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.
worldwide have discovered that eating fish regularly - one or two serves weekly - may reduce the risk of diseases ranging from childhood asthma to prostate cancer
. Healthy ways to enjoy fish include baked, poached, grilled and steamed.
Health benefits of eating fish
Regular consumption of fish can reduce the risk of various diseases and disorders. Selected research findings include:
Asthma - children who eat fish may be less likely to develop asthma.
Brain and eyes - fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids can contribute to the health of brain tissue and the retina (the back of the eye).
Cancer - the omega 3 fatty acids in fish may reduce the risk of many types of cancers by 30 to 50 per cent, especially of the oral cavity, oesophagus, colon, breast, ovary and prostate.
Cardiovascular disease - eating fish every week reduces the risk of heart disease
and stroke by reducing blood clots and inflammation
, improving blood vessel elasticity, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood fats and boosting 'good'cholesterol.
Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids
The recommended daily amount of omega 3 fatty acids from fish is 200-600mg and from plants it is 1-2g.
The following are approximate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids per 60g serve of varieties of fish:Salmon (fresh Atlantic) 1,200mg
Smoked salmon 1,000mg
Canned salmon 500mg
Trout (fresh rainbow) 350mg
Blue-eye, shark (flake), salmon, squid 250mg
Sea mullet, abalone 170mg
Canned tuna 145mg
Orange roughy or sea perch 7mg.
Advantages of Eating Fish Foods
Hundreds of studies have been done on fish or fish oils and their role in the prevention or treatment of heart disease. A review in the British Medical Journal recommends fish or fish oil supplements to prevent heart attacks, particularly in people with
vascular disease. How omega-3 fats reduce heart disease is not known, but they are known to lower blood triglycerides and blood pressure, prevent clotting, are anti-inflammatory and reduce abnormal heart rhythms
A word of caution on mercury.
While it is recommended to eat one to two fishmeals a week, it is wise to avoid fish high in mercury
. Excess mercury appears to affect the nervous system, causing: numb or tingling fingers, lips and toes; developmental delays in walking and talking in
children; muscle and joint pain; increased risk of heart attack.
Fish high in mercury include shark, swordfish (broadbill) and marlin, ray, gem fish, ling, orange roughy (sea perch) and southern blue fin tuna. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, women planning pregnancy and children up to six years old should avoid these fish.
The types of fish cuts available include:
Fillet - the boneless flank of the fish.
Dressed - with head and fins (entrails, scales and gills are removed).
Steak - cross-sections taken from a dressed fish.
Gutted - whole fish with entrails removed.
Healthy ways to cook fish
Baking - make shallow cuts along the top of the fish. Put into a greased dish and cover with foil. Flavor with herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. Bake at around 180°C and baste frequently.
Shallow frying - dry and flour the fish. Place a small amount of oil or butter in the pan. Fry the fish at a medium heat.
Grilling - cut slashes into whole fish to help the heat penetrate the flesh. Place fish on a preheated grill. Baste frequently.
Poaching - not suitable for flaky varieties. Place fish in gently simmering stock. Whole fish should be placed in a pan of cold stock, which is then slowly brought up to a gentle simmer.
Steaming - put fish in a steamer or on a plate over a saucepan containing gently boiling water. Cover.