June 23, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Why you should add small fish to your diet

Many health-conscious consumers have already reduced their consumption of hamburgers, steaks and deli meats, replacing them with poultry, fish and seafood.

These protein sources are better than beef, and not just because they're associated with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. “Fish and seafood are much better for your health and the environment,” says Christopher Golden, assistant professor of nutrition and planetary health at the Harvard School of Public Health. However, instead of popular seafood options such as farmed/farmed salmon or canned tuna, it is better to choose small fish such as mackerel, sprat, anchovies or sardines, the expert notes.

They are excellent sources of protein, micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and improve blood lipid balance. “And since you often eat the fish whole (with small bones), it's good for your bones. Fish is rich in calcium and vitamin D,” says Golden.

Small fish are also less likely to contain substances such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) compared to larger species such as tuna and swordfish.. These and other large fish feed on smaller fish, collecting toxins.

The traditional Mediterranean diet, considered by many to be best for heart health, includes small fish such as fresh sardines and anchovies, Golden says. Canned fish of these species, which are widely available and cheaper than fresh fish, are a good choice. However, most canned anchovies are salted and therefore contain a lot of sodium, which can raise your blood pressure.

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