As most of us are aware fish is high in many nutrients
including being a great source of protein and various vitamins and minerals. The benefits of eating fish regularly far outweigh the potential risks (1).
However, some fish are considered even better than others, and oily fish are considered the healthiest because they contain essential fats. These fats are essential as they are needed by the body (just like Vitamin C) but they cannot be made by the body, and therefore must be consumed. Omega 3s are the essential fats we need in greatest quantity. These essential fats are needed for a child’s brain and may improve their sleep, reading and maths, as well as reduce their incidence of allergies (2).
Oily fish and marine algae have the highest levels of these omega 3s. The best oily fish are salmon, mackerel and sardines; while herring, trout and anchovies are also great sources. No other foods contain the same type of essential fats (DHA & EPA). On the other hand, plant foods contain a different type of essential fat (ALA) and the body has to make convert their fats into EPA and DHA. However, research clearly indicates that this conversion is extremely limited (3). Therefore relying solely on eating plant sources for one’s intake of Omega 3s is not optimal nutrtionally.
Ideally eating oily fish is the best way to get omega 3 versus supplements (4) as studies have shown that the absorption of the essential fats is just not as good as with real food (5).
What better way to get regular supplies of top-quality fish but from your local fishmonger? These are usually the experts at recommending what to buy, how to cook it, as well as preparing it for you.