Fish has so many great nutritional benefits going for it. It’s a fantastic source of protein, typically low in fat, and by consuming a variety of the different types, it will provide many different vitamins and minerals, each offering wide ranging benefits to the body. It’s also quick to cook, so can be the basis of a great midweek meal.
Protein-rich foods such as fish are important to help our muscles grow and repair. Eating the right amount of protein is really important as it provides you with essential amino acids: think of these as the building blocks of the body. Your body is continually building and renewing cells, and you need amino acids to do this. We are unable to produce amino acids in the body ourselves, so it’s essential we get enough from the protein in our diets.
We should ideally be aiming for two portions of fish each week, with at least one portion being oily fish (think mackerel, salmon, pilchards and trout). Oily fish is also a good source of omega three and fatty acids, which help keep our heart healthy. Salmon is super high in vitamin D, which we need to absorb calcium to keep our bones strong and healthy, and vitamin B12, which our metabolic and nervous systems need to function properly. We also use vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. Fresh tuna is an oily fish, but canned tuna isn’t as during the canning process, the levels of omega 3 fatty acids are reduced.
Most white fish, such as haddock, sea bass, coley and pollack are high in the minerals selenium and iodine, which our thyroid glands (the glands which make the hormones that control our metabolism) need in order to function properly. Haddock is a source of several different vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, which is one of the minerals that makes up our bones and teeth, keeping them strong and healthy.
Shellfish such as mussels, squid and prawns shouldn’t be forgotten, either. Prawns are amazingly high in vitamin B12 (B-vitamins are what keeps metabolic functions in the body going, so the cells in our bodies can use the energy from our food). Mussels are super-high in selenium, which we need to keep our hair and nails strong and healthy, and it also protects our cells from the damage that can potentially lead to cancer and certain cardiovascular diseases. They’re also loaded with iodine, without which the thyroid gland – which is responsible for controlling our metabolism – cannot function. Squid and mussels are both high in copper, which our bodies use for many things, including keeping all the tissue that protects and connects all the different parts of our body strong and healthy.
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