What Nutrients You Will Get From Fish?
With a wide variety of both fresh and frozen fish at your local supermarket, it's easy to eat it regularly. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating 2 to 3 serving of fish a week to help lower blood cholesterol levels, reuce the risk of dangerous blood clots, and relax high blood pressure.
Fish is one of the leanest available sources of tissue-building protein, but its health benefits go far beyond that. Cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna have omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent heart disease and may reduce risk of breast and colon cancers. Most fish also contain a wealth of minerals, including zinc, which helps in wound-healing and night vision; iron and copper, which guard against anemia; and potassium, which regulates blood pressure and helps nerves transmit messages. Fish are rich in B vitamins, which maintain healthy blood cells and nerves; vision-saving vitamin A; and vitamin K, which helps blood to clot. Canned sardines and salmon provide phosphorus and calcium, which build strong and bones.
- Good souce of minerals and vitamins A, D, K and B
- High in protein
- Rich in omega-3s
- Breast and colon cancers
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
FRESH FISH FACTS
Fish come in two basic varieties. Fatty, oily fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, bluefish, and albacore tuna) contain the highest levels of omega-3s and vitamins A, D, and K. Lean whitefish (such as cod, flounder, haddock, and sea bass), while rich in other nutrients, especially B vitamins, contain smaller amounts of omega-3s. Fresh fish can be brought in several different forms, or "cuts": Whole fish is the entire fish, unprepared and unprocessed. Whole-drawn is scaled and gutted, while whole-dressed may also be boned. Pan-dressed fish is scaled and gutted, with the fins and tail removed, and may be boned. Fillets are the fleshy, full side, removed from the skeleton from head to tail; steaks are 1-in-think cross-sections.
OFF THE SHELF OR IN THE FREEZER
When purchasing fresh fish, check for yellowing along the cut line, which is a sign of deterioration. A fresh, whole fish will have bulging eyes, firm flesh, and a light, nearly translucent color. The gills should moist and bright or dark red. Smell fresh fish before you buy it to make sure it doesn't have a "fishy" odor that suggests spoilage. Always try to buy fish that is on ice, unwrapped, inside a glass case. When buying canned fish, choose lean, water-packed tuna over oil-packed, and drain the oil off sardines. Baking and grilling are the two healthiest ways to prepare fish-avoid high-fat frying and batter-dipping.
QUICK TO COOK
Fresh fish spoils quickly and should be eaten within a day of purchase. If you can't serve it within a day, cook and store it in the refrigerator, which will double its shelf life. To preserve the leanness of fish, try baking, broiling, steaming, poaching, grilling, or microwaving it instead of frying. Take care not to overcook fish; its soft, delicate flesh calls for quick and gentle searing. To add flavor, marinate it for about an hour in the refrigerator and season with parsley, dill, thyme, tarragon, or cilatro. If you like coating or tartar sauce, use low-fat varieties.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Many people assume that the oil in darker fish gives them their ruddier color, but that's not the case. Instead, the color comes from pigments in the fish's muscle tissue. The pink color of salmon, for example, comes from a carotenoid pigment it gets from eating sea life. Salmon shades range from pale pink, as in dog salmon, to the deep red of king salmon.