Fish is a part of regular diet in many parts of India. Fish is available in big cities via superstores and markets while in rural India we still get to hear the reverberating calls of fishmongers. Though I was born and brought up in a city, which loves fish, I come from a very conservative and orthodox pure vegetarian family. Nevertheless, if my mother cannot stand the smell or sight of fish my in-laws cannot imagine a day without fish. I cannot remember when I began to eat fish and how I got the first taste of it. At this stage, I love fish and Seer fish and Pomfret are the only ones I eat.
The Benefits of Eating Fish
As a child, I was recommended cod liver oil tablets to improve my general health. It was essential as we never ate fish. Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids which play a vital role in improving brain health by reducing chances of stroke, increasing life expectancy, by preventing heart diseases and by improving your cardiovascular health.
Omega-3 fatty acids also helps to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Research also bears witness to fish oil’s positive role in eliminating chances of allergy, eczema and asthma if taken during pregnancy. Experts also claim that Omega-3 can improve Lupus symptoms, help with weight loss and also thwart Type I Diabetes in children. They also help to prevent breast, colon and prostate cancer. Fishes rich in omega-3 fatty acid content are salmon, sardines, tuna and shellfish.
Fish also contains a lot of protein, vitamins, and nutrients which are pivotal in enhancing your overall health. They are also low in fat and calories in comparison to (red) meat. Significantly, the essential amino acids in fish are easily digestible to people of ages. Shellfish is a species abundant in protein. Not to forget that fish and nuts are two great sources of unsaturated fat. To an extent, fish also contains minerals like iron, zinc and calcium.
The Drawbacks of Eating Fish
Almost all kinds of fish species contain traces of mercury. However, some kinds of seafood are high in mercury, the regular consumption of which may prove hazardous to your health. High levels of mercury increases the risk of heart attack and may prove detrimental to a developing fetus. It can bring about mental and physical retardation in the newborn. Examples of fish high in mercury include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and large predatory ocean fish while tuna, salmon, shrimp, pollock and catfish are low in mercury. It would be a relief to realize that the fish used in fish sticks and fish sandwiches have low mercury levels.
Fish consumption also exposes you to certain synthetic organic chemicals called Poly chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), methyl mercury, selenium and dioxin which can have harmful effects on the human body. Consumption of fish with such contaminants by expectant or breastfeeding women leads to ill effects on the babies..
To conclude, it is important to eat sea food that is low in mercury, Poly chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and the contaminants of the like. Always go for variety rather than sticking to the same type. Try out the smaller and younger fish to minimise the chances of contamination. Eat lean fish types like yellow perch, sunfish, and crappie which are generally found to have low PCBs and other harmful chemicals.