Living on the Maltese islands comes with its perks. One main advantage is that we get to consume freshly caught fish on a weekly basis, all year round. So it’s no surprise that many restaurants in Malta specialise in seafood dishes. Needless to say, Marina Club is no exception. We boast of serving a delectable selection of seafood dishes, including our signature tasty seafood platter. Therefore we wanted to look into the importance of eating fish for a healthier well-being
Apart from being a great source of lean protein and nutrients, fish has a reputation of being low calorie “brain food,” thanks to the long strands of polyunsaturated essential omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Eating fish biweekly can be enough to reap such benefits. If the heart-health-boosting, waist-slimming properties weren’t enough reasons to increase your fish intake, we decided to provide you with nine more reasons to add a dose of fish into your diet.
1. It contains Important Nutrients
The majority of fish is rich in many nutrients most people don’t get enough of. These include high-quality protein, iodine and various vitamins and minerals. Nevertheless, some fish are better than others, and the fatty types of fish are considered the healthiest. This is because fatty fish (like salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and mackerel) are higher in fat-based nutrients. Such fish include the fat-soluble vitamin D, a nutrient that most people are deficient in. It acts like a steroid hormone in the body. Fatty fish are also much higher in omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for your body and brain to function optimally, and are strongly linked to reduced risk of many diseases
2. Lower the Risk of Heart Attacks
Fish is generally considered to be among the best foods you can eat for a healthy heart. Heart attacks and strokes are the two most common causes of premature death in the world. Not surprisingly, studies have proven how people who eat fish often seem to have a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease.
The omega-3 fatty acid in fish is acknowledged to protect against cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure and the cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood. Triglyceride is a form of fat and resembles LDL (bad cholesterol), which is high in fat and low in protein content. A raised triglyceride level, especially together with high cholesterol, increases the risk of heart disease. In addition, fish oils reduce life-threatening post-heart attack abnormal heart rhythms.
3. …and Strokes
Fish oils are also effective in reducing blood clotting by preventing the thrombocytes in the blood (blood platelets that concentrate the blood in the event of bleeding) from adhering to one another. Otherwise, blood thickening can lead to narrowing of the arteries. In turn, this can lead to many organs in the body—especially the heart, brain, eyes and kidneys—receiving an inadequate blood supply, function deceleration and eventually, loss of function. Omega-3 fatty acids also play an important role in the production of the molecule haemoglobin, that carries oxygen in the red blood cells, and in controlling the nutrients passing through the cell membrane.
4. Increase Grey Matter in the Brain
Interestingly, many studies have shown that people who eat more fish have slower rates of cognitive decline. One mechanism could be related to grey matter in the brain. Grey matter is the major functional tissue in your brain, containing the neurons that process information and store memories. Studies have shown that people who eat fish every week have more grey matter in the centres of the brain that regulate emotion and memory. Additionally, it has been shown that fish oil reinforcement can reduce symptoms of depression and schizophrenia and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Prevent and Treat Depression
Although it isn’t talked about nearly as much as heart disease or obesity, depression is currently one of the world’s biggest health problems. Studies have found that people who eat fish often are much less likely to become depressed. Research has also found that omega-3 fatty acids increase the effectiveness of antidepressant medications significantly. This implies that fish can quite literally make you a happier person and improve your quality of life.
6. A Good Dietary Source of Vitamin D
This important vitamin actually functions like a steroid hormone in the body and fatty fish like salmon and herring contain the highest amounts. Some fish oils, such as cod liver oil, are also very high in vitamin D, providing more than 200% of the recommended intake in a single tablespoon. Saltwater fish is a sun-less source of vitamin D, which scientists say can help ward off disease, promote bone health, and with the help of the omega-3s in fish, ward off cognitive decline. Just one three-ounce serving of salmon contains 75% of your daily recommended amount of the vitamin.
7. Reduce the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissues in our body. A key example is Type I diabetes, which involves the immune system attacking the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The results are preliminary, but researchers believe that this may be caused by the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fish and fish oils. Some believe that fish consumption may also lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, but the current evidence is weak at best.
8. Improve Sleep Quality
Unfortunately, sleep disorders have become incredibly common worldwide. Some researchers believe that vitamin D deficiency can also play a role. In a 6-month study of 95 middle-aged men, a meal with salmon three times per week led to improvements in both sleep and daily functioning. The scientists speculated that this was caused by the vitamin D found in salmon.
9. For Healthy Skin and Hair
If you follow a low-fat diet, the downside is, you often deprive your skin and hair of the healthy fat it needs, leaving it dull and dry. The omega-3s in fish are just the kind of healthy fat to eat to keep your skin looking nourished and your hair shiny. Research has also linked fish and omega-3 consumption to treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis.
So for anyone who appreciates a delicious and freshly prepared seafood meal, come and sample one of our delightful fish dishes cooked by our expert chefs – pop by to Marina Club, located at the superb Valletta Waterfront.