The health benefits of fish and how to cook it
A healthy, balanced diet should include eating fish three times a week
Not only is fish a delicious food that even the most demanding palates love, a food that can be prepared in an enormous variety of ways; fish is also a source of proteins, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. Marina Domene, nutritionist at SHA Wellness Clinic, recommends “eating it three times a week, but no more, since you don’t want it to replace other types of protein that are also healthy, such as pulses. It’s also important to try to prioritise organic and wild fish over farmed fish because farms use feed and antibiotics in the fishes’ diet, taking away part of what makes fish so healthy. And if it is seasonal and local, so much the better”.
Different types of fish have different nutritional properties. “Oily fish have a higher fat content than white fish. This doesn’t make them worse, however, it just means that they have a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids. But they are also more likely to accumulate heavy metals like mercury for this reason, especially large fish such as swordfish and bluefin tuna. My advice: opt for small fish, such as sardines, mackerel or anchovies. White fish (hake, monkfish, monkfish, turbot, sea bass) is an excellent source of high-quality protein and, since it has fewer calories than oily fish, means we can eat slightly larger portions and will feel full sooner, making it perfect for weight loss diets. Furthermore, since it is less fatty than oily fish, its heavy metal content is also lower”, says the expert.
The health benefits of fish are many and varied: they help to control blood cholesterol levels and regulate blood pressure, improve intestinal health, provide energy and help protect the heart.
How to cook it
To keep all of the health benefits of fish intact, the best option would be to eat it raw, like sashimi, but in moderation. As Marina says, “its essential nutrients can suffer when cooked. However, raw fish is more at risk of contamination or spoiling, so I recommend eating it raw only occasionally. The healthiest methods for cooking fish are en papillote, grilled or steamed. In addition, you should avoid exposing it to a very high cooking temperature so that it retains its nutritional properties”. The SHA kitchens give us one last piece of advice: if you want to improve digestion, serve the fish with fresh vegetables and/or herbs, lemon, grated turnip or shoyu.