Health Benefits of Oily and White Fish
Yearning for a low fat, high protein meal?
Want a versatile dish to share among eaters of every taste and diet?
The nutritional benefits of eating white fish are proven..Suffice it to say that fish has gained quite a notoriety on the dinner table.
The omega-3 fatty acids, or the “good fats” found in fish, a food source, which by now has become also popularly known as brain food, is one of the main reasons that what used to be an ordinary staple, especially in places close to water resources is now considered a much coveted food especially among the more health conscious of us.
When compared to its relatively more high-brow, but a lot more “bad fats” loaded dinner menu contemporary, the red meat, fish is understandably a more preferred request from the kitchen to the dinner table.
Nutritional Benefits of Eating Fish
Nutritional research on the health benefits of fish offer a variety of health impacts on consuming fish on a regular basis, the standard being at least two servings a week.
Eating fish regularly is scientifically linked to a reduction in health risks and chronic disorders such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, poor eyesight, prostate cancer, autoimmune diseases and even dementia.
Other health research have also claimed the benefits of eating fish regularly in reducing risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease because eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week helps preserve the ability of brain neurons that are responsible for memory and cognition.
Similarly, having a regular dose of fish in one’s diet develops brain capacity and boosts brain development especially among children.
Fish May Help Prevent and Treat Depression, Making You a Happier Person. Depression is a serious and incredibly common mental disorder. It is characterized by low mood, sadness, decreased energy and loss of interest in life and activities. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids may also help with other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder
Fish is The Only Good Dietary Source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has received a lot of mainstream attention in recent years. This important vitamin actually functions like a steroid hormone in the body, and a whopping 41.6% of the US population is deficient in it . Fish and fish products are the best dietary sources of vitamin D, by far. Fatty fish like salmon and herring contain the highest amounts
Fish May Protect Your Vision in Old Age. A disease called macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness, and mostly affects older individuals . There is some evidence that fish and omega-3 fatty acids may provide protection against this disease.
Different values for different fish types
Not all fish are created equal, in so much the same way as not all of them look the same.While nearly all varieties of fish contain good fats, vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorous, calcium and remarkable doses of minerals, such as iodine, magnesium, iron and zinc, certain types of fish are richer in some compounds and are thus more viable meal options depending on specific bodily needs and diet requirements.
The good news is that regardless of the diversity in fish varieties, there are just two main categories or types of fish: white and oily.
White fish can be easily identified through their color, meaning those which have meat that are whitish or fair in color. Compared to other fish types, white fish are relatively more lean and firm and contain less oil compared to the oily fish types.
White fish are usually saltwater fish with oil compounds concentrated mainly in the liver.
Examples of white fish are:
- Cat fish
- Red mullet
White fish are low in fat and rich in protein, but not much omega-3 healthy fats compared to oily fish. So if you only need protein, then by all means go for white fish.
If your goal for incorporating fish in your diet, however, is to get as much omega-3s as possible, opt for oily fish instead.
Unlike white fish, which has limited oil content, oily fish contains oil throughout their flesh and in the belly cavity. As a result, oily fish have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and considerably more vitamins A and D content as well. However, oily fish are higher in energy and have more caloric amount.
Oily fish include small forage fish such as:
Larger pelagic varieties:
- Fresh tuna
Because the human body alone cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids, it is recommended that we source this good fat by consuming at least one or better yet two servings of oily fish every week.
Fish is a truly quality source of protein, and when compared to red meat, and even chicken and turkey it is very low in calories, it is really nature’s perfect food. Fish is truly healthy weight management’s best friend.
When preparing fish, regardless if they are of the oily or white type, it is important to also consider ideal cooking methods that will preserve the nutrients and good fats found in fish.
The gold standard is to avoid processed fish as much as possible—fresh tuna, for example, loses its omega-3 fatty acids when processed and canned—and cooking fish through the frying method.
It is best to bake, grill, or steam fish to preserve its nutrients and health benefits.
Poaching can also be used as a method, except for flaky oily fish types, which, are most likely to disintegrate when poached.
When frying is unavoidable, opt for shallow frying and use healthy varieties of cooking oil made from vegetables or grains, this includes, olive, coconut and canola oils.
(It is important to note that fish sticks and fried fish is not healthy and is not considered whole food.)
Ways you can buy your fish
- Full of flavor and convenient to prepare and cook.
- Frozen fish with no coatings has the same nutritional content as fresh fish.
- Fish often comes breaded, battered and in sauce – choose those with lowest salt and fat.
- Keep as an essential in your store cupboard – ideal for making a meal when you’re in a hurry.
- Choose canned fish in mineral water over brine and oil.
(Note: Canned tuna does not contribute to a portion of oily fish as the fatty acids are destroyed during the canning process.)
Choose varieties with lower salt content.
Children, pregnant women or those planning to have a baby should avoid eating shark, marlin or swordfish as they contain high levels of mercury. Other adults including breastfeeding women should have no more than one portion per week.
Purchase as near as possible to when you are going to consume it as it is highly perishable. In the refrigerator, keep in an airtight container or on a plate covered with cling film. Do not put mussels, oysters or any other live shellfish into airtight containers, because they need to breathe. Place in bowl and put in the coldest part of your fridge.