Fish and seafood

Fish and seafood

By
Dale Pinnock
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849499538
Photographer
Issy Croker

Fish and seafood as a group of ingredients are so often overlooked in the diet here in the UK, which is a travesty: not only are they utterly delicious, but they contain some of the most important nutrients for our long-term health.

Seafoods such as shellfish, for example, are very rich sources of the mineral selenium, a nutrient that is seriously lacking in the West. This is due not only to a lack of consumption of seafood, but also to the fact that selenium in the soil is often depleted in modern intensive farming. Selenium is used by our body for several important functions. One of the main things that it does is help our body to manufacture its own inbuilt antioxidant enzyme family – glutathione peroxidase. This antioxidant compound helps to disarm free radicals in the body that can damage cells and trigger disease. Selenium is also important in regulating the function of the thyroid.

The second vital nutrient group found in fish in particular, especially the oily varieties such as salmon, tuna and mackerel etc., is omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are vital for almost every aspect of our health. Firstly they are anti-inflammatory. Fatty acids that come into our body from our diet are converted into compounds that regulate numerous chemical processes in the body. The most common group of communication compounds derived from fatty acids are called prostaglandins. These regulate, amongst other things, inflammation in the body. There are three types of prostaglandins: Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3. Series 1 and 3 are ANTI-inflammatory, and Series 2 switch ON inflammation in the body. Different dietary fats contain different fatty acids, and different fatty acids produce different prostaglandins. The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, particularly one called EPA, produce the powerfully anti-inflammatory Series 3 prostaglandins. So why does any of this matter? Well, inflammation in the body is an important response in immunity and managing infection, but excessive inflammation can begin to damage tissues. We know, for example, that inflammation can damage the walls of our blood vessels. When this happens, circulating cholesterol can get embedded in the blood vessel walls, our immune system gets involved, and before we know it a plaque has formed which is an indicator of the early stages of heart disease. Long-term inflammation within tissues is also associated with many cancers, and inflammation can sometimes trigger certain genes that cause uncontrolled growth and replication of cells to switch on. So, managing inflammation is a vastly important part of looking after our long-term health and helping to prevent some of the most serious health problems we face in the modern world. Obviously, regulating inflammation can help with issues such as joint problems and injuries too.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to maintain the health of our brain and nervous system, can lower LDL cholesterol and contribute to healthy immunological health. Taking into account all of the above, I stand by my recommendation that increasing our intake of fish and seafood can be one of the most important dietary steps we can take towards greater health.

Recipes

Snappy citrus tuna

Asian-style mackerel foil parcels

Salmon curry

Salmon with avocado and dill yogurt sauce

Miso salmon with garlic spinach and carrot ginger puree

Cod with green olive tapenade and Puy lentils

Sesame-crusted tuna with lime, mango and chilli coulis and wilted pak choi

Sea bass with smashed pea and feta crust and garlic cavolo nero

Spiced griddled squid

Scallops and chorizo with celeriac puree

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