I really don’t like oily fish. I wish I did, because I know it’s very good for me, so this is something that I work at!
First of all, why ARE oily fish so good for me? What are their benefits?
Well, there are plenty. The most noteworthy quality of these fish is their omega-3 fatty acids which protect against heart disease and blood clots by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and fat levels. Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties which means they can help sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. The best fish sources include mackerel, sardines, herring, kippers, sea trout, fresh tuna, anchovies, swordfish and salmon. Some studies suggest that oily fish may also help sufferers of colitis, psoriasis and dermatitis and that they may even protect against some cancers. Oily fish also contain high quantities of vitamin D which helps the absorption of calcium and builds strong bones and muscles. The smaller fish whose bones are eaten, such as whitebait and sardines, also provide calcium for strong bones.
Can oily fish make you brainy?
For some years now, the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to increased mental capacity and intelligence. Recent studies, such as that carried out by Dr Philippa Jackson and published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggest that omega-3 can improve blood flow to the brain and bring about improvements in reaction times and reduce levels of brain tiredness. This could have important implications for treating dementia.
Although fresh fish can be rather expensive, the benefits of oily fish can also be obtained by eating tinned fish, which is much cheaper. Canned varieties readily available include: tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.
Top Ten ways to enjoy oily fish
1. Brush with oil and grill it or oven bake for 20 minutes
2. Marinate it for a few hours using a mix of ingredients such as olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice, lime juice, chilli, horseradish, garlic and coriander. Serve with salad.
3. Make a pate or dip by mixing mashed fish with yoghurt or cream cheese, flavoured with lemon juice and spices or herbs of your choice.
4. Make a Moroccan fish stew by adding onion, garlic, ginger, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and cumin to white fish pieces.
5. Cook your fish in teriyaki sauce – buy it or make your own
6. Stuff mackerel – perhaps with almonds, lemon and breadcrumbs. Or try bacon and sage. Or cream cheese and peppers.
7. Stir fry fresh or tinned fish with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and mixed herbs. Serve with pasta.
8. Oven bake salmon in wine with herbs and serve with baked veg (e.g. peppers, onion, courgettes, tomatoes) and couscous
9. Sushi. It’s becoming increasingly popular as a lunch option, available from many supermarkets and sandwich bars. I wouldn’t know how to begin to make sushi, but don’t let that stop you trying!
10. Kedgeree: 2 or 3 types of fish stirred into rice cooked with turmeric, onion, peas and
quartered boiled eggs.
To be honest, although I tell myself I don’t like oily fish, all those ideas sound pretty tempting! In fact, I think I might cook fish tonight….
What are your favourite oily fish recipes? Please leave your ideas below.
What are the Top Twenty Healthiest foods?
Find out here the health benefits of carrots and how to enjoy them.
Find out here the health benefits of natural yoghurt and how to enjoy it.