Do you know why fish is good for your health?
The balanced nutrition guidelines recommend eating three portions of fish a week (about 600 grams).
There are those who avoid fat fish because it is too high in calories. Thus the question is: what fish to eat, which one to choose?
The nutritional value of fish
The fat from fish is classified as a good fat (even if, in reality, no food is in itself good or bad) because it provides essential fatty acids. All nutrients or molecules whose intake is possible only taken through the diet because the body is unable to synthesize them are called "essential".
The lipid contents of fish are divided into monounsaturated (average 55%), polyunsaturated, including Omega 3 (35%) and saturated (10%). These fatty acids are also found in dried fruits (nuts) and oils such as extra virgin olive oil. In fish, however, good lipids are associated with the meat that is also rich in essential proteins of high biological value, and essential minerals such as iodine and vitamins such as A, group B, and D. Fish is thus perfect food to meet the daily requirements of macro and micro nutrients; this is why it is considered a staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Nutrients and health
All nutrients from fish are important: Omega 3s have protective functions of cells and fight the accumulation of cholesterol, some vitamins and minerals have antioxidant properties, vitamin D has defensive and immune properties, while iodine is essential for the function of the thyroid. These qualities make fish a useful food to prevent serious pathologies such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What fish to choose?
Fish has different characteristics depending on its habitat, the main distinction being between fresh or salt water.
However, it is more useful to distinguish between lean, semi-fatty and fat fish; bearing in mind that fish in general, if eaten three times a week in a healthy diet, has important macro and micronutrients in quantities useful to meet the needs required by our body.
Lean fish: sole, plaice, cod, sea bass, flounder, perch.
Semi-fatty fish: tuna, swordfish, snapper, mullet, sardines, trout.
Fat fish: eel, salmon, mackerel.
In particular, fish is eaten to obtain the essential fatty acids that it provides.
Therefore, in this case it is not recommended, just like for meat, to always eat lean cuts, but to alternate the consumption during the week between fat, semi-fatty and lean fish. In the case of low-calorie diets, it is important to always choose lean fish, discarding any visible fat.
Seafood includes all those products that originate from the sea but that are not fish and that in the majority of cases, given their protein value, high saturated fat content and cholesterol, cannot replace fish, but rather meat. We are referring to mollusks, crustaceans, octopus, cuttlefish, squid, shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels, and oysters.
Bear in mind that both fish and seafood should be eaten well-cooked, or, if you wish to eat it raw, it must first be blast chilled carefully.
The contents of this article are in accordance with the parameters set out by the European Food Safety Authority - EFSA.