Despite the numerous health benefits derived from fish, barely half of Americans seldom eat fish or none at all. Some people simply detest the taste of fish, expensive access to fish stores, do not know how to cook fish, or the presence of toxins.
The absence of fish consumption in your diet deprives the body from the rewards of a healthy heart to depression.
Fish is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients, rich in protein and low in saturated fat. Fatty acids, or good fats, look after your heart, boost blood level function, and may reduce inflammation among others.
How to Buy High-Quality Seafood
Once you’ve decided on the type of seafood to buy, go to the best fish market in your locale for the freshest catch of the sea. If there’s none, frozen seafood is available at your grocery. Items marked “frozen fresh” maintain a superior quality, aquatic creatures are processed when picked from the water and then frozen maintaining freshness and grade.
Whether you’re shopping in a fish market or in a grocery, you need to know how to determine the quality of seafood for the best buy. Stale seafood will leave an aftertaste and a funky smell in your dish and sad faces from your guests.
Look at the eyes it speaks of freshness; these should be bright, clear and full. Avoid fish with eyes that are cloudy, pink, or deep-set. Other red flags to look for:
- The gills are bright red or pink, not dull-colored like gray, brown, or green,
- Free from slime.
- The meat should spring back when touched with fingers.
- Scales should be intact and shiny.
Fresh-cut fillets have meats that are elastic, moistly appearance without any browning around edges. The flesh separates if they are set aside too long. Packaged fillets should have minimum liquid, liquid deteriorates flesh quickly.
The shells of clams, oysters, or mussels should be closed, if there is a gape tap it to show movement. Their shells should be moist, flesh is plump, and covered with liquor.
Crabs and Lobsters
Crabs and lobsters should show activity, the lobster’s tail should curl and not hang when picked. Cooked lobster or crab should show bright-red color without any foul odor.
You’ll see movement of live shrimp in the fish market, shells should not have any dark edges or black spots, except for tiger shrimps with black lines between shells.
The meat of the squid should be firm, eyes are clear and full, skin should be untorn with creamy color and brown spots.
Health Benefits of Eating Fish
Aside from being delicious, fish has many therapeutic benefits that may help alleviate medical conditions of patients.
High in Important Nutrients
Fish provide nutrients that most people lack. A rich source of protein to maintain healthy muscles, organs and blood vessels.
The omega-3 fatty oil keeps the heart healthy. lower blood pressure, ease inflammation, improve heart rate and blood vessel function. Vitamin D and fatty acids help athletes recover from fatigue and muscle regeneration. Iodine prevents the swelling of the thyroid gland, or goiter, which lead to fatigue, muscles failing, and weight gain.
May Boost Brain Health
Fish is considered a brain food. Regular fish consumers had more grey brain matter, keeping the brain from shrinking and deteriorating that leads to brain malfunction such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Lack of omega-3 fatty acids were linked to faster brain aging, symptoms are cognitive impairment and memory loss.
May Help Prevent and Treat Depression
A study examined the link between depression and low intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Although fatty acids show favorable results in treating depression large-scale clinical trials are necessary to prove the efficacy of omega-3. The fats work the same way as some antidepressant drugs helping the brain to function more effectively.
A Good Dietary Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of bones and teeth, normal function of the immune system, upkeep of muscle function, and a role in the process of cell division among others.
A 4-ounce serving of cooked salmon or herring covers the daily intake requirement of vitamin D. If you don’t get much sunlight or not a regular fish eater, consider taking a vitamin D supplement such as fish oils.
The Bottom Line
While fish is a healthy food to maintain in your diet, you should know the type of fish and where it came from. These types of fish are high in mercury and should be avoided.
- Chilean sea bass
- King Mackerel
All fish have mercury but levels vary. Consuming 12 ounces of low-level mercury per week is safe. Just like all animal products, it’s important that your fish is fresh and cooked properly before consuming.