5 reasons to eat more fish
By Kamyra La Fauci – Accredited Practising Dietitian
It’s no secret that fish is good for our health, yet most Australians do not consume fish 2-3 times per week as recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
Here are 5 reasons to remind you of why you should incorporate more fish in your diet!
1) A great source of omega 3 fatty acids
Fish is rich in omega 3 long chain fatty acids, which are special types of fats that have been found to be beneficial for:
- Improving vision and supporting eye health
- Supporting healthy brain function
- Preventing inflammation which can reduce the risk of arthritis
- Helping to maintain a healthy heart
Some research has also shown that omega 3 fatty acids may play a pivotal role in decreasing the risk of depression, ADHD, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. As our bodies cannot produce omega 3 fats, its imperative we get them from dietary sources. The National Heart Foundation recommends that Australians should be aiming for 500mg per day of long chain omega 3 fatty acids, which can be simply achieved enjoying 2-3 serves of oily fish per week. Whilst other foods such as eggs, bread and milk are enriched with omega 3’s, fish is the richest source particularly oily types including Salmon (fresh and canned), canned sardines and tuna, mackerel as well as rainbow trout and flathead.
2) An excellent source of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for bone health and muscle function as it allows the body to effectively absorb calcium, yet 1 in 4 Australians are vitamin D deficient according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Whilst most vitamin D is obtained from direct exposure to sunlight, around 10% comes from nutrients within food. Fatty fish including Herron and Salmon are known to be some the best dietary sources of Vitamin D, so incorporating these fish into your regular diet may assist you in getting the Vitamin D you need and reduce the likelihood of deficiency.
3) A quality source of protein and micronutrients
Fish is an excellent source of protein that is generally lower in calories and saturated fat when compared to other types of meat such as beef and lamb. Fish also has an impressive micronutrient profile and is rich in several vitamins and minerals including phosphorus, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium!
4) It’s versatile and easy to cook with
Fish can be prepared and cooked in so many ways as part of a healthy, balanced diet:
- Baked – simply wrap in foil and season with a light spray with olive oil and a squirt of lemon
- Grilled – a quick and easy method that can get dinner on the table in under 15!
- Poached – the perfect way to cook a moist and flavoursome meal! TO boost flavour, poach in a reduced salt vegetable stock or a homemade broth with your favourite herbs and spices
- Steamed – a great method that keeps the fish moist without needing additional fat. Use a Chinese bamboo steamer or steam in the microwave!
- Shallow fried – try lightly flouring fish and cooking in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil (versus butter). This will still provide flavour and crunch on a smaller amount of calories vs deep frying.
5) Fish may lower your risk of heart disease
Research shows that consuming fish twice per week or more may lower your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. This is due to its rich concentration of omega 3 fatty acids which lower markers of cardiovascular health including blood triglycerides, blood pressure, prevent blood clotting and even have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
So next time your writing your weekly meal plan and shopping lists, be sure to include fish in at least 2 meals of the week to reap all the amazing benefits it has to offer!
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