What makes fish such a healthy dinner option?

Gracewell  |  December 12, 2016
 British Dietetic Association

Adding more fish to your diet could have a number of important benefits.

It's long been known that fish is a key part of a balanced diet, but increasingly scientists are uncovering just how beneficial it can be. Loaded with essential vitamins found in few other foods, finding ways to eat more fish can be a great step in pursuing a healthier lifestyle. 

Important vitamins and minerals
As a good source of vitamin B, vitamin D, protein and selenium, fish is an excellent choice for a healthy dinner. More importantly, however, not only is fish one of the few foods to contain omega-3 fatty acids, but a single serving can be loaded with these beneficial fats. As the Daily Mail reported, humans can't produce these on their own, and fish like herring, mackerel and sardines are among the the richest sources for omega-3 fatty acids available.

Fish oil may be helpful in reducing cardiovascular disease, arthritis and other common ailments, but the National Health Service stated that the biggest benefit associated with omega-3 fatty acids is that it may lower an individual's risk for dementia. Though the NHS cautioned that further research is necessary, it is believed that eating fish at least once a week or more can help strengthen communication cells in the brain.

Older adults in particular, therefore, should look for ways to add fish to a diet. Even for individuals without a family history of dementia, this can be an easy step to combat the onset of chronic conditions common in old age.

Replacing other sources of protein
Fish is loaded with benefits that promote good overall health, but another reason it makes for such a nutritious dinner option is that it can replace proteins that can be loaded with bad kinds of fats, salt and cholesterol. A serving of halibut, tuna, salmon and many other common types of fish can have just as much protein as a steak or pork chop. When it's covered with batter and served with a side of chips, fish might not be particularly beneficial. Opt for simple preparations to maximise what fish can do for your health.

British Dietetic Association spokesperson Alison Hornby explained to the NHS that fish really is a great choice for eating well.

"The benefits of eating at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish, include keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level and improving blood lipids, both of which reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease: the biggest killer in the UK," said Hornby. "Remember that you can get your omega-3 from a range of oily fish. Tinned sardines and mackerel, for example, are an easy and cheap way to stock up the store cupboard. Eaten on toast with a side salad, this makes a quick, easy and nutritious meal."

Look for opportunities to add fish into your diet. Find a few favourite recipes and slowly replace less healthy dishes with nutritious fish.