Mackerel is one of the highly recommended oily fish for a healthy diet. It is also known as maccarello. The slim torpedo-shaped fish is found in deep temperate and tropical waters. It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and minerals. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids occur in high quantities in this fish. It contains vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K. Various minerals also occur richly in the fish. These include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and selenium. Trace minerals include zinc and copper. The fish also contains protein and the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10. The fish has several benefits to health.
Anti-carcinogenic: Coenzyme Q10 helps to eliminate cancerous agents from afflicted cells. This improves cellular health. Antioxidants reduce the risk of some cancers. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent breast, prostrate, renal and colon cancers. It has also been established that marine fatty acids hinder the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Several studies have concluded that essential fatty acids reduce the risk of breast cancer. The oily fish contains good amounts of vitamins B12 and selenium, which have been found helpful in the treatment of cancer.
Immunity: Mackerel fortifies the immune system. It supports the functions of organs that have been weakened by sickness. Omega-3 fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent. They help in the management of arthritis. They also help to lower the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Coenzyme Q10 protects cells from damage that increases the risk of cancer. It also enhances the body’s capacity to fight infections. It is a great item to be included in the diet of convalescents and those undergoing various treatments.
Cardiovascular: Inclusion of oily fish in the diet improves the condition of the blood. This promotes better heart health. Essential fatty acids help to thin the blood. This improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. It prevents build-up of cholesterol in the blood and prevents constriction of arteries. Essential fatty acids reduce bad cholesterol levels yet maintain good cholesterol levels. They make blood vessels more elastic, which facilitates improved blood flow. Cleaner, thinner blood reduces the risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease. The rich calcium content in the fish also helps to normalise heartbeat and regulate blood pressure. To reduce the risk of heart disease, it is recommended that two servings of oily fish are included in the diet each week.
Brain and nerve development: High concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the brain. It has been established that they play a vital role in cognitive and behavioral functions. This enhances memory and performance. It also prevents the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Essential fatty acids help to prevent problems of the central nervous system. They also facilitate the efficient transmission of nerve impulses. Essential fatty acids have been found helpful in the prevention of depression and dementia.
Although mackerel is a highly nourishing fish, it is recommended that pregnant and nursing mothers avoid it. The fish may contain elevated mercury levels, especially if sourced from polluted waters. When consumed by pregnant women, it could damage the child’s developing nervous system. It also poses risks to the mother’s health.
Source: Punch Newspaper.