Monday, May 24, 2010

Is Fish Good for You and Your Little Ones?

My previous article was about fish becoming a luxury food in the future because there will just not be any fish in the sea to catch. This article is about the goodness of fish and what is not so good about fish.

There are no recipes with this article. But it could help you with some information when preparing a fish meal with your child.  Tell it to them like you would a story.

The Good

Fish is an excellent source of lean protein and omega fatty acids (or DHA)

A diet rich in fish oil may help reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are also essential for brain and eye development.

The American Heart Association suggests that we each eat at least two servings of oily fish each week to help keep our hearts healthy.

The Not So Good

The problem is that a lot of fish is contaminated mercury.

While healthy adults can get rid of the mercury from their bodies, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid some types of fish and shellfish to reduce the risk to mercury exposure.

The fish that contain the highest level of mercury are larger and older sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Replacing these fish with shrimp, pollock, canned light tuna, salmon and catfish, may be an idea because they contain much less mercury.

Did you know that deep-frying fish may increase the concentration of mercury in fish.

Fish should also be cooked properly which if uncooked can cause parasite infection.

When cooking fish at home, make sure you cook your fish until it is flaky and tender; the meat should show no signs of translucency.
Fish Grilled & Smoked: 150 Recipes for Cooking Rich, Flavorful Fish on the Backyard Grill, Streamside, or in a Home Smoker
And of course the cardinal rule in cooking is to ensure we don’t raw fish with uncooked or ready to serve foods; use separate utensils and plates for handling each. In fact it works for all meat too.

Alternative to Fish

If you don't want to eat fish, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from canola oil, flax seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. The type of omega-3 fatty acids found in plants is called alpha linolenic acid. It is not exactly the same as the fats found in fish, but your body has the capability to transform alpha linolenic acid to both EPA and DHA.

Dietary supplements with omega -3 oil help too.

Happy Cooking and Teaching!

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