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Why Oily Fish Is So Good For You

Oily fish has been scientifically and medically proven to provide a wide range of health benefits, including improved cognitive function and health, as well as a reduced risk of cancer, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Written by

Diets2Go

24/09/2021

Oily fish has been scientifically and medically proven to provide a wide range of health benefits, including improved cognitive function and health, as well as a reduced risk of cancer, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

If you are wanting to make sure that you are getting enough oily fish in your diet, or are hoping to develop a healthier, balanced diet, here is everything you need to know about oily fish and exactly why it is so good for you. 


WHAT COUNTS AS OILY FISH? 

When we consider the wide variety of fish that we eat, this multitude of fish is commonly separated into a few different categories, with every category having different health benefits when consumed. The most popular way to categorise them is oily fish, white fish, and shellfish. 

Examples of white fish include cod, haddock, plaice, pollock, flounder, red mullet, gurnard, and tilapia. The category of shellfish includes prawns, mussels, scallops, squid, and langoustine. Saving the best until last, let’s take a more in-depth look at oily fish.

There are many types of oily fish that you can incorporate into your diet if you haven’t already. According to the official NHS Eat Well website, the different types of oily fish include: 

  • Herring, including kippers 

  • Pilchards

  • Salmon, including wild salmon

  • Sardines

  • Sprats 

  • Trout

  • Mackerel, including king mackerel and Atlantic mackerel  

Interestingly, the NHS also states that fresh and tinned tuna do not meet the requirements for the oily fish list. However, many other studies do include tuna on their list of oily fish, as well as eels and whitebait. 

Oily fish are the species of fish that have certain oils within their soft tissues and the coelomic cavity around the gut. When filleted, their fillets can contain up to 30% oil, though this can vary greatly both within and between the species of oily fish. 

On the other hand, white fish only have these oils in their liver, and in greatly reduced quantities compared to oily fish. The main difference between white and oily fish is that white fish live near the seafloor, whereas oily fish are pelagic (or, in other words, not at the bottom!). 


WHY IS OILY FISH GOOD FOR YOU? 

Oily fish is very good for you, and it is recommended that everyone eat at least two portions of fish per week, including one portion of oily fish, as part of a balanced diet. One portion is constituted as around 140g or 3.5 ounces of cooked fish, or three-quarters of a cup of flaked fish. 

However, two portions of oily fish per week should be considered a hard limit if you are a young girl, trying to get or are currently pregnant, or breastfeeding. This is because oily fish can sometimes contain pollutants that can become harmful to women (and people who possess wombs) when eaten in excess over a long period of time. 

Nevertheless, if you are lacking oily fish in your diet, your doctor, dietician, or other healthcare professional might recommend trying new oily fish recipes or taking fish oil supplements. This is because fish oils are an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D, which are essential for our bodies. 

Oily fish are also rich in omega 3, including linolenic acid, which also boasts a whole host of health benefits. They also contain the two fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

It is due to the fact that oily fish are so rich in all of these fatty acids, vitamins, and other good stuff that it is a vital part of our diet. Not only that, but fish is also a fantastic source of lean protein, especially when compared to red meats, so it can be a great way to introduce leaner meals into your diet.  


HEALTH BENEFITS OF OILY FISH 

Due to the fatty acid profiles, oils, and vitamins that oily fish contain, oily fish intakes offer a wide range of health benefits. 

Heart health

The consumption of fish, especially oily fish, has been proven to aid those with cardiovascular disease, prevent heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attacks, even during times of mental stress. 

Inflammation

Omega-3 can reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, and it can also improve inflammation for those with arthritis or other health problems.  

Cancer 

Oily fish has shown that it can potentially protect against both early and late-stage oral and skin cancers, as well as reduce the risk of dying from colorectal cancer. In women, oily fish can also reduce the risk of breast cancer. However, it is also worth noting that some studies found that, in men, higher quantities of omega-3 in the blood can actually increase the risk of prostate cancer, so it might be best to consult a healthcare professional if you are genetically more at risk to this type of cancer.  

Cognitive 

The consumption of oily fish can not only help to protect vision and memory in adults, but it can also have a positive effect on childhood development, including sensory, cognitive, and motor development.

Stroke

Eating at least two servings of oily fish per week has also been proven to moderately reduce the risk of stroke in adults.

Asthma 

When pregnant women consume oily fish during pregnancy, this can reduce the risk of asthma in the child once it is born. 


FISH MEAL OPTIONS THAT ARE AVAILABLE AT DIETS2GO 

Though they might not contain as much as oily fish, some white fish can also be an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Shellfish and a variety of seafood can also contain essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. 

With this in mind, we have put together some of our favourite fish dishes, including oily fish, fatty fish, white fish, and shellfish. 

Salmon is one of our favourite and best oily fish options out there. Marinated for 48 hours in our fiery chipotle honey sauce, the salmon fillets are baked and crisped on the flat grill for an explosion of flavours and textures. The melt-in-your-mouth salmon is accompanied by simple, dressed noodles and a spinach garnish to really let the zing of the chipotle chilis shine. 

Sea bass is one of the best sources of omega-3 out of all white fish, whilst being very low in fat. We season each fillet of sea bass with a carefully selected blend of fresh herbs and spices, before grilling the sea bass until the skin is crispy. Rested on a bed of brown rice and topped with an in-house vegetable relish, this dish packs a punch without piling on the calories.

Our lemon pepper sea bass is perfectly seasoned with lemon juice, black pepper, and garlic, and cooked until succulent and flaky. Paired with notes of coconut, a side of basmati rice, and a fresh and invigorating avocado, coriander and lime dip, this dish makes for a vibrant lunch or a refreshingly light tea. 

Shrimp is very low in fat, and it is a fantastic source of selenium, zinc, iodine, and copper. We coat our shrimp in a classic salt and pepper seasoning until cooking it to perfection, leaving them crispy, juicy, and bursting with flavour. The shrimp are then served with our famous sweet potato wedges and crisp, fresh string beans. At only 207 calories, who could resist? 

  • Tuna Pasta | 252 kCal, 20g protein, 38g carbs, 2.5g fat 

When it comes to tuna, it all depends on where you look as to whether it gets to be classed as a fatty fish or in an oily fish list. However, one thing that everyone can agree on is that fresh tuna is better than canned light tuna, as the tinning process removes most of the omega-3 content. Our West African take on a classic tuna pasta is completely unique and utterly delicious. 


GET IN TOUCH WITH DIETS2GO TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR MEAL PLANS

Diets2Go offers order meal prep to suit all diet goals, including weight loss, overall wellbeing, and bodybuilding meals. With our meal prep options, you will be able to benefit from healthy meals as many days of the week that you need with no extra hassle. 

Not only are our fish meals rich in omega 3, fatty acids, and essential vitamins, but they are also fantastic sources of lean protein, which is perfectly balanced into pre-portioned meals. You can even get the meals delivered to you wherever you are, be it home, work or elsewhere.

We also cater for a wide range of dietary requirements, including pescatarian, halal, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. In fact, our delicious tuna pasta comes with gluten-free penne as standard! 

For more great options tailored specifically to your diet goals, and for personalised meal prep prices, get in touch to speak to one of our expert advisors today.



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