Love it or hate it there’s no getting away from the fact that fish provides a wealth of nutritional benefits which in turn are great for our health. There are so many different types and flavours of fish that even for those of us who are not big fish-lovers, trying some different varieties and different recipes may be the answer.
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, gives us seven great reasons why you should make sure fish is at the top of your menu list!
IT’S GREAT FOR PROTEIN
Protein is essential for growth, repair and hormone production. Many people tend to stock up on carbs, thinking it will keep them feeling fuller for longer. However, it‘s protein that actually keeps you feeling full and ideally you should be eating some at every meal.
Obviously the amount of protein in the different varieties of fish will vary, but, as an example, a salmon fillet will contain around 20 grams of protein (we need around 70 grams daily), so you’re making great headway to the daily goal. Having protein at every meal will not only keep you feeling full, but it will keep your blood sugar levels in balance, so your energy levels will be better sustained throughout the day.
The omega 3 fats are the ‘king of fats!’ They are termed ‘essential’ because the body can’t make them – they need to be eaten in the daily diet. And fish, particularly oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, really packs an omega 3 punch!
Omega 3’s are essential for healthy skin, brain, joints, and hormones, so your daily portion of oily fish provides some amazing health benefits. What’s more, fish is low in saturated fats, meaning that they won’t sit around your waistline after you’ve eaten them!
Calcium is the body’s most abundant mineral, mainly stored in the bones and some in the teeth. Certain types of fish, especially those with soft bones such as sardines and pilchards, provide great sources of calcium. Even canned tuna contains some good levels of calcium. This can be particularly helpful for people that don’t have dairy in their diet.
Zinc is another really important mineral, especially for supporting the skin and hormones, and fish provides an excellent source. Flat fish, such as sole, are particularly high in zinc. However, the best place to find zinc is in oysters, which leads us to another upside of this particular seafood …
Oysters are also known as the ‘food of love’ and for very good reason. Oysters have the highest amount of zinc of all seafood and zinc is essential for fertility and reproduction in both men and women, hence their well-deserved reputation. However, they also contain certain amino acids that happen to trigger the release of sex hormones. Even better, oysters are actually at their most ‘potent’ right now so pop down to your local fishmongers and grab a few!
There are so many was to eat fish and, the great new is, you can rustle up a meal really quickly! Cod roasts really well in the oven with some basil, cherry tomatoes and garlic; salmon happily cooks in a foil parcel with some lemon juice and dill; sole fillets can be quickly pan-fried with some butter and salt and pepper and served with some salsa verde.
Additionally, fresh tuna steaks can be griddled or pan-fried in about three minutes. So, if you’re time-starved (and let’s face it, who isn’t), then there’s really no excuse not to whip up a quick fish dish!
GREAT FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH OR DINNER!
Whilst fish isn’t always the first choice in people’s minds for breakfast, it’s actually a great choice. The high protein content of fish makes it excellent for starting the day right with well-balanced blood sugar levels. Plus it’s a great side with eggs; think smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and you’ve got an ideal combo.
When it comes to lunch, tuna or prawns with some avocado and salad vegetables is a real winner. If you’re on the run, there are a number of well-known food chains that provide tasty fish-based salads or if you have access to a microwave in the office, a small jacket sweet potato with canned tuna provides an excellent quick lunch that will stop the cravings and the 3 pm slump!
When it comes to dinner, some of the above suggestions are just as quick, easy and delicious or you can be more adventurous with some Thai cod or sole. The fillets can be wrapped in foil with some peppers, onions, garlic and ginger and cooked in the oven for around 15 minutes. Lovely!
So whichever variety you choose, eating more fish on a regular basis means you’ll be sure to be benefiting from a wide range of health-boosting nutrients.
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