Is fishing good for your health?

Düsseldorf / Hamburg (dpa / tmn) - For many they are a culinary delight, but fish and seafood are more than that. Their consumption is good for the human organism. Regularly eating fish can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and disorders of the lipid metabolism.

But not only that: eating fish is also beneficial for your cholesterol levels. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends eating one or two servings of fish every week.

High proportion of omega-3 fatty acids

Low-fat fish species include cod, saithe, plaice and redfish. The proportion of EPA and DHA per 100 grams of fish is between 280 and 840 milligrams. High-fat fish species such as salmon, mackerel and herring offer a much higher proportion of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

"Depending on the fat content, 100 grams of herring provides between 2000 and 3000 milligrams of EPA and DHA," says DGE spokeswoman Antje Gahl. According to current data, 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day are sufficient to have a positive effect on the body.

What else is in fish?

The high-fat fish species - with a fat content of over ten percent - also include eel, sprat and black halibut. The group of medium-fat fish species (fat content between two and ten percent) include sea bream, char, sole and carp.

Vitamins A (good for the skin, among other things) and D (for bone metabolism) are also present in significant quantities in the fillet of fatty fish. This is pointed out by Ute Schröder from the Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food (Max Rubner Institute) in Hamburg.

The vitamins niacin (energy supplier for the metabolism), B6 ​​(good, among other things, for the development of nerve cords) and B12 (among other things important for blood formation) are found in higher concentrations in the fillet of sea fish.

The same applies to selenium and iodine - both trace elements are important not least for optimal thyroid function. "In contrast to freshwater fish, marine fish contain high levels of iodine, so that the average daily requirement can easily be covered with a 150 gram portion of marine fish fillet," explains Schröder. According to her, good sources of iodine are cod, saithe, mackerel and turbot.

Benefits outweigh

In general, the red muscles of fish contain higher concentrations of vitamins and trace elements. Red-fleshed fish include herrings, mackerel, sardines and tuna. Speaking of tuna: it can be contaminated with mercury. The same applies to swordfish, cod, pike or hake.

But that shouldn't deter consumers from eating these types of fish. "If you consume one or two servings a week, the health benefits outweigh the negative consequences of a possible exposure to mercury and other pollutants," says Gahl.

Better to bake fish fingers in the oven

This wide range of fish species opens up a variety of taste experiences. There are also tons of ways to prepare the fish. One of the healthier cooking methods is steaming, i.e. cooking. "If fish is fried, oil should be used sparingly," advises Yvonne Knips from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center.

If the fish is breaded, the breading absorbs a lot of fat. Children in particular, who often like to eat fish fingers, then consume a lot of fat over a meal. Five fish fingers from the pan produce on average 80 percent of the amount of fat that children should eat at most during a main meal.

Alternatives to fish

But regardless of whether fish is raw, cooked or fried: there are people who just don't like to eat it. But don't worry, you can also cover your omega-3 fatty acid requirements through your diet. "Especially cold-pressed oils such as linseed oil, rapeseed oil or walnut oil are good examples of this," says Knips. Regular consumption of nuts and seeds can also cover the need for omega-3 fatty acids.

"Fish oil capsules as a dietary supplement are usually superfluous," says Knips. They do not prevent heart attacks or strokes. Omega-3 fatty acid products that are too high in doses pose considerable health risks. Interactions with other drugs cannot be ruled out either.