Fish & Nutrition: A Complete Guide

fish and other seafood

Fish is healthy. From a health point of view it is beneficial that the consumption of fish, both lean and fatty fish increases. We should eat more fish for lunch or dinner, and it is important to vary between different species.

In a public health perspective, the main challenge is that many people eat less fish than desirable. Norwegians eat, on average, equivalent to 455 grams per week, equivalent to 455 g per week (about 2 meals). Looking at the oily fish intake is 133 grams per week, which is about a two-thirds meal per week.

Eating more than two meals of oily fish a week with the current levels of dioxins and PCBs over many years can lead to a moderate excess of the tolerable intake of these substances. To stay under the tolerable intake is important for the entire population, but particularly important for girls and women of childbearing age. But even these can increase their intake of oily fish as young women on average eat less than half a meal of oily fish a week.

Fish are an important source of essential nutrients and fatty fish have a beneficial fatty acid composition. There is good evidence that consumption of fish, especially oily fish is beneficial in relation to cardiovascular disease. Consumption of fatty fish may also be beneficial for pregnancy and fetal development, including growth and neurological development.

Fish have beneficial nutritional composition

Fish have a high content of many essential nutrients. Fish is a good source of protein, vitamin B12, selenium and iodine. Oily fish and cod liver oil are the main sources for the long polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and vitamin D.

The supply of vitamin D from oily fish is important because much of the population has a vitamin D intake that is lower than recommended. Fish fat has a more favorable fatty acid composition of fat than dairy products and meat.

Fish fat has a much lower content of saturated fat and a much higher content of polyunsaturated fatty acids than fat from milk and meat. As the consumption of meat in the population is about twice as high as the consumption of fish, we believe that most advantageously replace a part of meat with fish.

Fish and cardiovascular disease

Diet composition, especially fatty acid composition of diet, is important in relation to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. High cholesterol levels in the blood increases the risk

for cardiovascular disease. Polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats reduces the blood increases

cholesterol levels.

It is therefore beneficial if you replace fat with dairy and meat products contain much saturated fat, soft margarine, cooking oils and oily fish contain much polyunsaturated fat. There is also evidence that fatty fish and long polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids from fish may reduce the risk of fatal heart attacks, especially among those with higher infarction risk or a history of myocardial infarction.

The World Health Organization (WHO) concludes that there is convincing evidence that consumption of fish and fish oil reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association (American Heart Association) recommends that everyone should eat fish at least twice a week, and that those with heart disease should also ensure a daily intake of 1 gram of long polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA), preferably from fatty fish 2.

How much fish should we eat?

Research provides us new knowledge about the different biological effects of fatty acids. A number of studies suggest that consumption of fish and fish oil may have beneficial health effects in relation to many different health problems.

Fish may contain undesirable substances such as pollutants. From a toxicological point of view there is generally no qualms associated with eating fish and other seafood when consumption is varied. Eating more than two meals of oily fish a week with the current levels of dioxins and PCBs over many years can lead to a moderate excess of the tolerable intake of these substances. To stay under the tolerable intake is important for the entire population, but particularly important for girls and women of childbearing age. But even they can increase their intake of oily fish when young women on average eat less than half a meal of oily fish a week.

From a health standpoint it is beneficial for the consumption of fish, both lean and fatty fish, is increasing. We recommend that you eat fish for lunch and dinner, and that it varies between different fish species.

The consumption of fish and other seafood in Norway is different from many other countries in that consumption is high, the proportion of lean fish consumed is large, and the population eats more fish in the form of cold cuts and spreads since several meals per day consist of open-faced sandwiches.

Most of the fish intake is in the form of lean fish and fish products. Only about 30 percent are in the form of fatty fish and fish toppings.

Children, adolescents and young adults eat significantly less fish than adults. There are relatively few (less than 2 percent) of adults who do not eat fish, but as many as 10 percent who do not eat fatty fish and fish toppings. The proportion who do not eat oily fish or fish spread is about twice as high among the young as they mature.

Young women are among those adults who have the lowest intake of fish both in total and of oily fish and fish toppings. A very large proportion of young women do not eat or eat very little fat fish (figure). Half of the young women ate less than 50 g of fatty fish and fish orders a week (equivalent to less than a quarter of one fish meal a week). Ninety percent of the young women eat less than 200 g fatty fish and fish orders a week (equivalent to less than one fish meal a week).

It is unlikely that fish consumption in Norway could lead to a harmfully high intake of vitamins and minerals or marine n-3 fatty acids for any age group. Therefore, interest is focused on the consequences of low intake, especially the consequences of not eating fish at all and of low consumption of fatty fish. Estimates show that even an average fish consumption equivalent to two meals per week (2/3 lean and 1/3 fatty fish) only provides approximately 25% of the recommended D vitamin intake. To meet the vitamin D requirements, dietary supplements and/or exposure to sunlight is necessary. A low intake of fish also leads to a low intake of marine n-3 fatty acids, which in turn results in the person missing out on the recognised health-promoting effects of these nutrients.

  • Eat fish for dinner two to three times a week
  • Also use fish as toppings.
  • This corresponds to a total of 300-450 grams of pure fish a week.
  • Six orders of fish equals about one dinner portion.
  • At least 200 grams should be oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel or herring.
  • Choose preferably keyhole-labeled fish products

Fish Products and Diabetes

Oily Fish

Absorption Rate of Sugar

Notes: Oily Fish are high in OMEGA 3 FATS and are recommended for a healthier heart.

Anchovies (sprat)

Very Slow

From taste they are very salt.

Carp

Very Slow

 

Herring

Very Slow

 

Kipper (Smoked Herring)

Very Slow

Kipper like many smoked fish may be high in salt.

Mackerel

Very Slow

In tomato sauce they have a small amount of carbohydrate.

Salmon

Very Slow

Canned or Fresh: excellent source of Omega 3 fat. Red Salmon: contains more fat (and Omega 3 fat).

Sardines

Very Slow

In tomato sauce they have a small amount of carbohydrate.

Swordfish

Very Slow

 

Trout

Very Slow

A little lower in Omega 3 Fat than many other oily fish. Trout is also less rich in other fats (and calories) than other oily fish.

Tuna

Very Slow

Tuna is an oily fish, and canning removes most of the fat. Only fresh (or frozen) Tuna is a source of Omega 3 Fat. Canned tuna: excellent low fat, low calorie alternative.

Fish Products

Absorption Rate of Sugar

 

Fish Fingers, Fish Cakes, Breaded Fish, Battered Fish e.i.

Unknown

Unfortunately most of the bread, potato or batter in these products is usually highly refined and quickly converted to blood sugar. They may also be high in fat.

White Fish

Absorption Rate of Sugar

 

White Fish

Very Slow

Cod, Coley, Haddock, Halibut, Hake, Plaice, Sole, Turbot, Whiting e.i. White Fish is recommended as healthy low fat, low calorie options. Cod and Halibut Liver oils are also good sources of Omega 3 Fat

“Sugar Absorption Rate”column refers to the speed at which food is converted into blood sugar (glucose). Replacing some of the quick rated foods with slower rated foods can help lower blood sugar levels.

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