Seafood is not appealing to many. However, there is nothing more lip-smacking than a fish meal for those who love it. Typically, those who have lived in the coastal area are familiar with seafood. It may well be because of the availability of fresh seafood, which is the best way to eat it. Unfortunately, in most cities not close to the coast, you only find the frozen varieties that do not taste as good.
In India, fish-lovers are seen across the country, whether coastal or not. The fishy tales of Bengal and Kerala are popular. You even find holiday packages that include ‘catch your own fish’ kind of things. A few Punjabi and Mangalorean fish dishes are equally popular. However, many other states are not far behind in their love for fish consumption. Also, some reports peg Indian fish consumption above that of meat.
Many of us relate fish to Omega-3 fatty acids. However, they are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are a rich source of protein and Vitamin D, essential for bone health. It also contains a few other essential nutrients. Among these, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, etc., are the healthiest.
Studies have shown that people consuming fish regularly are at less risk of having heart attacks and strokes. The Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our brain and eye development. Interestingly, another study has concluded that people consuming fish are less likely to be depressed. Fish intake has also been linked to a possible reduction in autoimmune diseases and lowering the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. One study has indicated that fish consumption reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration in women by 42%. It is also known to help with sleep disorders.
However, what’s notable are the findings that link fish consumption to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This bit is a heartening input for seniors, especially those who eat fish. Perhaps, if they have not been eating it regularly, they can start doing so.
Understanding the fish and brain link
Brain scans of fish-eaters have shown that they are less likely to have dead cells in that part of the brain linked to short-term memory. It means that they are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. It could be so for people eating fish once a week. Apart from the fish-eating habits, many other factors like age, obesity, gender, physical activity, etc., of the participants were considered for the study. Despite all these, scientists established a clear connection between fish-eating habits and brain cells. Recently, scientists have mentioned fish as the single most dietary input helping lower cognitive impairment. Even veggies are second to this. So, there is a lot of scientific evidence to back the inclusion of fish in your diet.
The what and how
One of the best fish-inclusive diets is the Mediterranean diet. Atlantic mackerel, catfish, clams, cod, crawfish, haddock, lobster, scallops, shrimp, skate, sole, squid, tilapia, etc., are good fishes to eat. However, avoid fishes like swordfish and bigeye tuna as they have high mercury content that can be harmful.
Purchase fish from hygienic places with surety of freshness or organic preservation. Grilling and boiling, both of which use dry heat, are the best methods to cook fish as the healthy fats are preserved. It is best to marinate the fish before cooking. Avoid deep-frying of fishes though they are tasty. For healthy eating, fishes need to be pan-fried, smoked, or poached, all of which preserve the fats. Even microwaving fish is not a bad idea as some healthy fats are retained.
Some Indian fish dishes like cooking at low temperature by covering it inside something is an excellent way to cook it. Fishes need to be chosen and cleaned correctly and also cooked right. Many places that sell fish also clean and provide you with the same for those who do not like cleaning the fish at home. Use flavours that go well with the particular fish as some fishes have unique flavours. If you add more spices that don’t suit it, the dish is ruined. Also, always check to see that the fish is fully cooked before eating it. The raw taste leftover in-between can be a big put-off and also not safe for the stomach.