“Oh, you are a Bengali? Then you must be eating fish all day and all night.”
How many of you have heard this line or used it to make fun of your friends from Calcutta or anyone from the eastern or the coastal areas? Yes? Then you should know the reason behind their love for fish. The sheer joy of eating that delicious fish coupled with local spices is only known to seafood lovers.
But apart from being delectable, fish is one of the healthiest and easiest items to cook. Some of the health benefits of eating fish are:
1. Good for your heart
Although consumption of lean fish had no proven benefits, consumption of fatty fish at least twice a week can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, a study published in the American Academy of Neurology. Fishes like salmon, trout, mackerel contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit. You can avoid fish like tilapia and catfish as they contain higher levels of unhealthy fatty acids.
2. Nurtures and protects your brain
According to Dr. Shalini Singhal, Chief Dietitian & Nutritionist at Dr. Shalini’s Diet & Wellness Clinic, New Delhi, “Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acid content and protein have a positive impact on Mental Acuity or sharpness. In fact, FISH is labeled as Brain Food because of being rich in the above nutrients. The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish have beneficial effects on a number of mental conditions ranging from bipolar disorder to Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, and stress.”
3. Richie rich in nutrients
Fatty fish is high in essential nutrients like vitamin A, D, E, protein and not to forget omega 3 fatty acids, which is why fatty fish is recommended for expecting and nursing mothers.
A warning note: Some of the fishes are high in mercury content which is linked to brain developmental problems in the fetus. For this reason, pregnant women should strictly avoid predator and large fish such as shark, king mackeral, swordfish, tuna etc. as they have high mercury content in them. Go for more of freshwater fish like rohu, hilsa, surmai etc. instead. They should also avoid raw and uncooked fish (including sushi), as it may contain microorganisms that can harm the fetus.
4. Better skin and hair
Want to flaunt a flawless skin and silky soft hair? Include fish especially fatty fish in your diet. This is because omega 3 fat is essential in improving the overall skin and hair texture.
5. Keeps major diseases at bay
Some studies stated that if you eat fish at least twice a week, you can lower the risk of one of the deadly diseases of the country called diabetes. Some also believe that eating fish can lower the risk of arthritis and multiple sclerosis, but there are no strong confirmed results on the same. Apart from these, eating fish can also improve your eyesight, metabolism and sleep quality.
6. Boosts your mood and kicks depression away
Feeling gloomy? Eat fish. Fatty fish have the feel-good factor that leaves you happy and satisfied. Studies have shown that people who eat fish are peppier and much less likely to become depressed.
Although, there is no scientific evidence to prove that dairy products eaten in combination with milk give rise to any skin conditions, allergies or health disorders but in Ayurveda and few other alternative medicines it is believed to be a bad food combination. Fish is a high protein and fatty acid source and so is milk. Digesting them together might be difficult and may cause bloating and feeling of uneasiness. Curd, however, can be taken with fish. As a precautionary measure, it is suggested that the combination of Fish & Milk must be avoided, says Dr. Shalini Singhal.
Some quick tips,
1. If you are a vegetarian or if you dislike the smell of fish you can take omega 3 fats in the form of supplements, but always consult a health-care professional before taking omega-3 supplements.
2. Expecting and nursing mother as well as young children should avoid fish having high mercury content as it can interfere with the child’s development.
3. Two portions of fish a week are recommended; including one portion of fatty fish.
4. The way of cooking the fish also plays a major role in defining its benefits. Opt for shallow fry, baking or grilling instead of deep-frying the fish.
5. Try not to eat fish with milk.
6. Do not buy canned, tin or any kind of processed fish; only the fresh ones from the market.
7. While storing in the refrigerator always keep in an airtight container or in a bowl covered with a plate.
8. If possible, prefer buying wild caught fish over farm fish. This is because farm fish have low omega 3 fatty acid content and are fed with growth hormones and antibiotics. Also, it’s best to choose smaller fish over large predator fish.
So what are you waiting for? Go get some fresh fish and prepare a lip-smacking dish and enjoy because a happy tummy is a happy you!