Oily Fish: Pack it in like Sardines

Throughout my teens I rarely ate fish. By that, I mean fish that wasn’t coated in breadcrumbs with a dollop of ketchup on the side. This was partly due to my dislike of the taste but also due to my lack of knowledge about how beneficial to health it can be. Today, I love the taste of sardines, salmon and mackerel, and being aware of the goodness I’m receiving makes them even more satisfying.

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Why should I include it in my diet?

I’m sure that I’m not the first person to tell you that eating fish is good for you, I certainly won’t be the last. But, I do think it deserves its highly esteemed reputation. Consuming oily fish supports healthy ageing1, boosts heart health1 (Healing Foods, 2o13), lowers insulin resistance2, and increases LDL particle size whilst decreasing the amount of oxidised LDL particles3 (“bad” cholesterol), improving cholesterol balance.

Oily fish, in particular wild alaskan salmon, sardines and mackerel, contain high amounts of omega 3 fats in the form of EPA and DHA. These are absorbed far more efficiently than the omega 3 fatty acid ALA, found in plant sources such as walnuts and flaxseeds4. These fish also contain a low level of mercury5 so are an ideal choice.

 

How can I include it in my diet?

When it comes to oily fish, a few fresh herbs and spices go a long way. With sardines, I opt for rosemary or coriander with lemon; with salmon I find that spices such as ginger, cumin and turmeric work well; when I eat mackerel I usually stick to lemon and thyme due to its strong distinctive flavour. Really, it’s worth trying different flavour combinations and finding which you enjoy most. Since I have learnt how to flavour and cook fish properly, I have discovered just how delicious it can be. One family favourite at the moment are my sardine and black olive fish cakes.

 

G.

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