Fish meat – a way to health
The developed world has known it already for a long time. We would not like to speak about the countries where fish consumption is enormous and reaches dozens of kilograms per person and year (such as Japan, Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Finland). The fish meat consumption has been rising, however, in all Western Europe, for a long time, in spite of the saturated foods market offering all possible as well as impossible combinations and attracting with their extravagant treatments. On the background of this trend accompanied with new types of products and semi-finished products of fish it is possible to see especially the verified experience indicating that together with fish the consumers in fact buy a piece of their future health, that they know what fish can bring to them and in what they can relay on it.
But let us say what actually is so precious about our freshwater fish. Already at the beginning it is possible to state that we can speak about fish as about a more or less well-balanced whole; the differences in fat contents are perhaps only a partial factor which can mutually differentiate among individual types of fish. All other nutrition criteria are, however, mutually well balanced, regardless of the fact whether you have carp or another type of fish on your plate.
The fish meat fat content is very low, which makes it possible to use fish meat instead of "omnipotent" drinks, pills and other medicaments to personal overweight reduction or reduction diets, without being exposed to health risks of nutrition imbalance.
The lower fish meat fat content is, however, only one of the large number of positive factors. Perhaps still a more important criterion is the quality of this fat, projected into the increased presence of at least polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is just these acids that are required by our body for reduction of serum cholesterol, and therefore also to heart attack risk reduction. These acids are partly represented in other fats as well, it is true, nevertheless fish meat is able to supply the largest quantity of these substances to human bodies. This mainly concerns polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 series, especially the eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Several years ago, Prof. Werner Steffens from Germany, who is a leading expert for freshwater fish, proved in an unambiguous manner that the largest content of these acids of the omega-3 series can be found, as far as freshwater fish is concerned, in the meat of silver carp and that it would actually be sufficient to eat regularly some 200g of meat of this fish per week in order to ensure almost a perfect heart attack prevention.
An immediate follow-up to the low fat content is formed also by a very good digestibility of fish meat. It is given by its more favourite structure , i.e. by shorter muscle fibres and negligible amount of indigestible endomysium. The meat of freshwater fish leaves our stomach already 2 to 3 hours after eating, which is in favour of reduction diets and nutrition schemes of sportspersons, old people and children. Fish meat contains also a number of mineral substances and vitamins, but its total value does not consist only in a favourable chemical, beginning with fat and ending with vitamins. In the case of fish, the nutrition arguments are complemented by taste impressions as well. The fine fragrance and taste of fish meat, possibility of its combination with a wide range of other ingredients and creation of numerous variants of gourmet experiences this way – all of this together would actually lead to the fact that freshwater fish manage to come very fast to the tables of the developed world.
The benefits of consumption of freshwater fish for human organisms can be specified in several points:
- Improvement of heart activity. Reduction of the risk of heart arrhythmia occurrence. It is especially necessary to point out that prevention is always better and more effective than expensive treatment.
- Reduction of the risk of thrombosis occurrence. Unsaturated fatty acids have important biological effects because they are precursors of highly active substances - prostaglandins, and their effects help to widen blood vessels (protective effects on human veins and arteries).
- Improvement of metabolism of lipids and lipoproteins
- Reduction of the atherogenous index and of the level of blood cholesterol as well as triglycerine.
- Positive effects are obvious also during diabetes prevention. This concerns again the effects of unsaturated fatty acids and it is also necessary to bear in mind the low caloric value of foods made of fish meat.
- Fish meat has important positive effects on intestinal cancer prevention. Fish fat contains a quantity of important vitamins D and A, whose importance is indispensable for mammals.
- The achievement of preventive effects is presupposed in the case of consumption of two to three fish meals per week
The text has been adapted from the publication "Czech carp not only on the plate" published by the Czech Fish Farmers Association.