We know the theory perfectly: the quality, the variety of nutrients and the balance are behind a healthy diet. However, there are still foods that we look at more out of the corner of our eyes than others due to multiple factors. Without going any further, in Spain we buy less and less fresh fish and, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Consumption, we do not exceed an average of 9.63 kilos per person per year, while we consume 44.74 kilos of meat per year. Meat options also seduce us for their protein content, but at this point a new finding related to fish and shellfish can make us change our minds.
A study by the Swedish Research Institutes published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment has found that fish such as salmon, anchovies or herring they contribute more protein than beef, pork, or chicken. This is an investigation in which they have evaluated the nutrient density of 41 different species of fish and shellfish and the greenhouse gas emissions that result from their fishing or extraction to establish a list of foods that provide a greater benefit to satisfy nutritional needs to a minor climate impact.
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Included in the study were 14 cultivated and 27 fished species that represent 27% of the volume of world production of fish and shellfish, including algae, with data from 2015 extracted from the official databases of Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the FAO. According to the researchers’ conclusions, which were based on analyzes of raw food productsAt the top of the table are oily fish, such as wild pink salmon or sockeye salmon, followed by small pelagic fish (anchovies and herring), and shellfish such as mussels and oysters.
What nutrients were analyzed?
Proteins are a type of macronutrient essential for the proper functioning of our body and are made up of amino acids, some of them essential and, therefore, impossible for our body to synthesize. Hence, we have to obtain them through food and that the animal protein intake is, in general, the most valued. Nevertheless, other desirable nutrients have also been assessed in the study such as omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, in addition to two undesirable: saturated fatty acids and sodium.
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What other nutrients does salmon provide?
The family of salmonidsespecially salmon (salt salm) has an exceptional nutritional profile, a highly appreciated flavor and great versatility in cooking. In addition to being a source of high quality protein, it is also a source of monounsaturated and unsaturated fatty acids, omega 3, vitamins from groups B, D and E, of which it covers from 23 to 71% of the recommended daily intake. It also highlights its content in minerals such as potassium or phosphorus, providing almost the optimal amount for one day.
Although it is a very fatty fish, your lipids are healthy and significantly reduce cholesterol levels, which is why it is recommended by the Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC), where they also highlight that it stimulates the production of HDL ―known as cholesterol Okay― and strengthens the heart muscle. Also containing antioxidants such as carotenoids, to which it owes its shine, it protects against free radical damage. Salmon prevents inflammatory processes and, although it is very caloric (182 calories per 100 grams), it is also very satiating and is a good option for diets.
The other nutrients of the anchovy
Although the consumption of the anchovy The most widespread in Spain is preserves, the truth is that in this format it loses properties and gains drawbacks, such as an excess of salt that is totally prohibited for some people. When fresh they are healthier and it is also a food rich in omega 3 fatty acids, with vitamins A, D, E and K, in addition to those of group B (B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12) and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium in large quantities.
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Anchovies are allies of good skeletal system maintenance (especially if eaten whole, so as not to discard the calcium from its bones) and the immune system, but they also take care of the cardiovascular system and provide large amounts of energy. Likewise, among other properties, it favors intestinal transit, prevents anemia and contributes to good vision health. They are also indicated in pregnancy for their contribution of folic acid and iodine, in addition to iron.
The properties of herring
Although more unknown in our country than the previous ones, the herring is very similar to the sardine and is found in the North Atlantic, in waters that do not exceed 15 degrees. Apart from its proteins, which in this case are encrypted in 18 grams of an edible portion of 100 grams, also contain monounsaturated and unsaturated fatty acids, omega 3, selenium, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, vitamins B6 and B12.
With 9% healthy lipids, the herring it is a heart-healthy fish and is a source of selenium ―it contributes to the protection of cells against oxidative damage―, phosphorus and potassium, like the two previous species. Also like them, the vitamin content is very significant, highlighting riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, B12 and D. According to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN), a serving of herring covers 183% of the recommended intake of vitamin D.
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