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We all know that a balanced diet is important for our health but the National Health and Medical Research Council Dietary Guidelines recommend that we should eat more fish. That’s because eating two or more servings of fish each week has been shown to reduce the incidence of many diseases from childhood asthma to cardiovascular disease.

So what’s in fish that makes it such an important element of your diet?

Nutritional value of fish

Everyone needs to include regular protein in their diet because it’s vital for maintaining healthy muscles, blood vessels and organs. Fish is a good source of easily digestible, low-fat protein, which makes it the perfect addition to your diet.

It’s not just the protein of fish that makes it such an important part of your diet, however, it’s also a powerhouse of nutrients and essential fatty acids, all of which are critical for a healthy body.  In fact, oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel have extremely high levels of omega-3 and fat-soluble vitamins A and D.

So why are these nutrients so important?

Omega-3 fatty acids

Fish, in particular oily fish, are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are unsaturated fatty acids that reduce the risk major implications from cardiovascular disease. That’s because a diet high in excess calories can result in high triglyceride levels. This can lead to atherosclerosis, which ultimately can cause a stroke, heart disease or heart attack.

High triglyceride levels can also lead to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (the latter increasing your risk of heart disease). The best way to reduce your triglyceride levels is to exercise regularly, avoid simple sugars, lose weight and eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin A

Fish and seafood with the highest levels of vitamin A include eels, tuna, oysters, sturgeon, mackerel, cuttlefish and clams. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s important for maintaining your reproductive health, immunity, bone health and vision. It’s also vital for the correct growth of babies before they’re born. The type of vitamin A found in fish and seafood is immediately available to your body, whilst that found in plants needs to be converted by your body into a more usable form.

Vitamin A is so important to your eyesight that one of the first signs of a deficiency is night blindness. It may also help to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration of your eyes and help your skin, reducing or even healing inflamed acne.

Vitamin D

Fish high in vitamin D include salmon, whitefish, mackerel, sturgeon and trout. Vitamin D is another fat-soluble vitamin that’s essential for your immunity and the health of your bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, both of which are important in preventing osteoporosis and in maintaining healthy teeth. Some research has also suggested that Vitamin D may help prevent diabetes, treat hypertension and reduce depression.

Given all these benefits of fish, you can understand why the NHMRC recommends at least two servings every week.

Check out our Seafood Market for some of the freshest fish in South Yarra!

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