Fish is a major source of protein in our diet. In the riverine areas of any country it is the main source of protein. At a time in Nigeria, it was the cheapest source of protein; okweko, kote, or simply ice-fish was well known. Though there may be no scientific basis for this; people who live along the river side tend to have healthier weight than those who live upland and to an extent, healthier skin. Like I said it may just be an observation that has not been subjected to scientific challenge.
However, fish apart from being a provider of protein which is essential for growth and development, contributes immensely to our health because it has a lot of other nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (D and B2) and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Not every fish is good; some contain mercury as a contaminant which is not good for consumption. The good ones are the oily ones like sardines, salmon, kote, icefish etc.
Below are some of the gains of eating fish regularly.
1. Less risk of heart disease.
Fish has a kind of fat called omega-3, this fat prevent the blood from getting too thick, if it gets too thick then it cannot flow freely in your blood vessel and that can affect the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart leading to heart disease. This omega-3 is also said to help lower a substance in the blood called cholesterol which can narrow the blood vessels after sometime; this can also cause heart disease. This problem is reduced if you eat fish regularly.
2. Less risk of high blood pressure and stroke
When the blood is too thick, it can stop the flow of blood to a part of the brain, the result is stroke. Again, if the blood vessels are too narrow the heart finds it more difficult to pump blood through them; the heart then has to pump harder leading to high blood pressure.
Fish also contains a lot of potassium and magnesium which help to control blood pressure.
Just eat fish twice a week and the risk is reduced.
3. Less risk of joint pains
The omega –3 and phosphorus in fish help reduce the risk of joint diseases such as arthritis, also joint stiffness and bone pain. The calcium in fish also helps maintain the strength of bones.
4. Better control of diabetes
Fish gives less energy than other sources of protein such as meat and chicken in the body; excess energy is converted to glucose. Thus a diabetic can eat as much fish as he or she can afford.
5. Less risk of stress
Omega-3 contained in fish is said to help protect against depression and also lowers certain chemicals in the body that are associated with stress.
6. Easy maintenance of a healthy weight.
Fish gives less energy than other sources of protein such as meat and chicken in the body that can be stored for future use.
Excess energy is usually stored in fat cells in the body-abdomen, buttocks and thighs. The number of fat cells is almost limitless, the more the energy that is available for storage, the more the number of fat cells. Consequently those who eat a lot of fish are less likely to be obese.