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People in countries where a lot of fish are eaten live longer and do not suffer from heart disease. But, on the other hand, fish contain harmful substances such as mercury, lead and dioxins. The research shows that we can eat fish grown in Poland - trout and carp, and ocean fish imported from China - pollock and s alt - without fear. B altic fish: cod, herring and salmon have more dioxins and we should limit their consumption.

Nutritionists, doctors, experts of the Food and Nutrition Institute recommend eating fish because of its valuable properties. Fish have a positive effect on eyesight, support the development of the fetus and baby, improve mental abilities and memory, have anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Fish prevent cancer, protect heart and brain

Fish contain fat-soluble vitamins A and E, which have a beneficial effect on our skin, hair and nails; vitamin D, which helps keep bones and joints in good condition; B vitamins, which protect against cancer, are responsible for the proper growth of children, and also help maintain mental balance.

In addition, fish contain many minerals, including large amounts of phosphorus, sodium, potassium and magnesium, and in smaller amounts zinc, fluorine, iodine, copper and selenium. One of the most important advantages of fish is the high content of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help to strengthen immunity, alleviate inflammatory processes, and prevent hypertension, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.

- Especially marine fish from the so-called cold waters. Fish from the northern seas contain more eicosopentaenoic acid (EPA), while those from the south - decosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In addition, fish living in natural environments are richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids from the omega-3 family compared to farmed fish - explains Dr. Renata Kazimierczak from the Faculty of Human Nutrition and Consumption Sciences at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Scientific research proves that eating fish can be a good way of cancer and heart attack prevention. Additionally, fish are recommended by dieticians in a slimming diet as a he althy and low-calorie meal.

Dioxins in fish

On the one hand, fish are recommended as a he althy food, but on the other hand, the media reports aboutharmful substances contained in fish. A few years ago, the Swedish Food Agency warned young women and children against eating the Swedish delicacy - fermented B altic herring.

This facility reported that high levels of toxic dioxins and similar PCBs were detected in B altic herring and salmon. The agency said the toxins could affect the immune and nervous systems as well as the reproductive capacity. Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs are substances that result from industrial contamination.

They are, unfortunately, present in large numbers in the environment. The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) states that their adverse effects on human he alth may result from chronic exposure to high concentrations of dioxins and PCBs, but if the ingested dose is below the critical level, the risk is not present. This risk is assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and national food safety authorities.

The bigger the fish, the more mercury in it

EUFIC reports that larger fish and predators that end the food chain, such as sharks, swordfish and large tuna, accumulate greater amounts of methylmercury - a toxic organic form - than smaller and herbivorous fish. Fish absorb it with water and food.

Therefore, you should limit the consumption of these species of fish, and children, pregnant women, nursing mothers or women planning to become pregnant should avoid eating these fish at all. - B altic fish and farmed fish entering the Polish market are characterized by a low mercury content in relation to the limit values ​​- explains Dr. Eng. Zygmunt Usydus from the Department of Food Chemistry and Marine Environment of the Fisheries Institute - National Research Institute.

You can eat fish grown in Poland without risk

It is worth looking at the research in which scientists checked the content of harmful substances in fish popular on Polish tables and whether this content exceeds Polish and European standards. The analyzes of the Sea Fisheries Institute - National Research Institute show that the B altic fish - cod, herring and salmon - have a low content of mercury, lead and cadmium in relation to the limit values ​​for fish, but the highest (among the tested fish) residues of total dioxins / furans and PCB.

Therefore, the World He alth Organization's temporary allowable weekly intake of a given toxic element or compound from all sources, without harm to he alth, could be exceeded (due to dioxins and dl-PCBs) if consumed within a certain period of time byconsumer weighing 70 kg approx. 100 g of B altic salmon, 400 g of B altic herring and approx. 1 kg of cod.

According to the current arrangements, eating two fish meals per week (approx. 0.3 kg) from various species of fish such as: cod, herring, Norwegian salmon, pollock, sole, flounder (from the flounder family), trout, carp , does not pose a threat to he alth and at the same time provides great pro-he alth benefits

The research also shows that fish farmed in Poland - carp and trout - and ocean fish imported from China - pollock and sole - do not pose he alth risks for the consumer. The high nutritional value of trout should prevail when choosing this species of fish in your diet.

Farmed fish imported from Vietnam and China - pangasius, tilapia - have the highest lead content among the respondents. However, they do not exceed 10 percent. the maximum allowable content (300 μg / 1 kg of tissue). The studies also did not confirm the presence of dyes or medicinal veterinary agents. So eating these fish in moderate amounts shouldn't be harmful to your he alth.

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How many fish do we eat?

Our fish are mainly pollock, herring, pangasius, salmon, mackerel, sprat and cod. A statistical Pole eats a little over 12 kg of fish a year, a Norwegian - 46 kg of fish, and a Portuguese - almost 60 kg.

In 2008-2012, the consumption of fish in Poland dropped from 13.5 kg to 11.7 kg per person. Last year it increased to over 12 kg. This is roughly half the EU average. And we eat much more meat - estimates of the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics show that last year pork consumption was 39.2 kg per capita, while poultry - 27 kg. (according to the news agency Newseria)

Less salmon, herring, sprats, more trout

Summarizing the research results, the National Research Institute of the Sea draws attention tosalmon ,herringandsprat . On the one hand, they have a high content of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3, and on the other hand - the highest content of dioxins and dl-PCBs among the studied fish species.

The he alth-promoting effect of fish fats results from the presence of significant amounts of EPA and DHA acids belonging to the omega-3 family of acids. Fish is the most important source of these acids. In order to ensure the dose of EPA and DHA acids recommended in the prevention of heart disease, during the week you should eat about 100 g of B altic salmon and about 130 g of sprat.

However, when consuming these amounts of the mentioned species of fish, we can take into account the intake of an excessive amount of dioxins and dl-PCBs. - The consumption of these fish should be solimited, and their consumption per week should be combined with other fish species with a lower content of these pollutants - says Assoc. Eng. Zygmunt Usydus.

Farmed trout turned out very well in the research. The weekly consumption recommended in the prevention of heart disease is approx. 200 g (in the case of a consumer weighing 70 kg) and this amount is safe for he alth, as the possibility of taking harmful substances is much lower than the tolerated weekly intake dose (PTWI). - According to scientific research, the consumption of fish is very important for the proper development and functioning of the human body.

In Poland, however, it is insufficient, so you should strive to increase their share in the diet. At the same time, it is recommended to be careful when consuming fish whose origin we are not sure of, focusing on the variety of selected products and eating alternately B altic fish with fish from other reservoirs and sea fish with freshwater - says Dr. Renata Kazimierczak.

Experts also urge us to choose responsibly when buying fish and to buy primarily those that come from sustainable fisheries. Every year, more and more of the world's wild fish resources are overfished. This problem affects more than 34% of fish stocks, the percentage is more than three times higher than in the mid-1970s. In order for the seas and oceans to run out of fish in the future, it is essential to use their resources responsibly. The fact that the fish come from sustainable fishing is confirmed by a special label - the blue MSC certificate.

Careful verification of whether the fish comes from sustainable fishing is now required by herring - one of the favorite fish of Poles, which is an indispensable element of the Christmas Eve supper in many homes. As a result of environmental changes and the lack of appropriate action, the MSC certification for herring has been lost in the Northeast Atlantic and the B altic Sea. Further fishing above the scientifically recommended levels could lead to a complete collapse of these stocks.

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What is the best way to prepare fish?

Following a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fresh juices, seafood and fish is especially recommended by nutritionists. Avoid frying fish, especially in deep fat. The he althiest way to prepare them is to steam them, bake them in aluminum foil or a casserole dish or stew them.

We should choose smoked and processed fish less often, e.g. fish fingers. Thermal processing, i.e. cooking, stewing and frying, as well as preparing fish dishes in microwave ovens, contributes to reducing the content of harmful dioxins and substancesdioxin derivatives.

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