Super seafood - Omega 3

Wed 17th April 2019
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Is seafood a super-food? Many types contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids – a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids that play important roles in the human body. There is a lot of press about the importance of consuming these fatty acids – and we actively promote these at the Seafood School at Billingsgate.

It is thought omega 3 fatty acids, decreases the risk of developing diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, arrhythmias, high blood pressure and high trigylcerides.

One member of the omega-3 family: DHA is considered to be one of the most important type of omega 3 – fatty acids to protect the human brain, decrease the risk of depression, age related forgetfulness. Importantly – in developing brains and children, this is considered to be linked to IQ in children – also connected to the ability to sleep better.

So – with all of these important health issues to think about – just how easy is it to get omega-3 fatty acids in the diet? All oily fish are well documented as being high in omega-3’s – so mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies tick all the boxes – whether fresh, frozen, smoked OR canned. Lesser known are some shellfish – that contain good levels including oysters and crab. White fish too has some levels of omega 3 and shouldn’t be discounted – the answer is to mix it up.

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In my family – oily fish isn’t very popular and recommendations are that we eat at least 2 portions of seafood a week to hit the omega 3 target and one of these should be from an oily fish… I can just about get away with either canned or smoked mackerel. I mash this into a filling for pita breads or baked potatoes for lunch. Smoked mackerel can be skinned (easy enough as this pulls away easily) bones pulled away and then broken up with a fork into fromage frais for smoked mackerel pate – and this is hugely popular with my fussy eater 15 year old son…

At the Seafood School we serve a hot ‘fishy’ breakfast to all our early morning guests. This is very often hot smoked mackerel kedgeree with mango chutney or fresh mango…spicy and filling – this does make an excellent start to the day and converts many who are resistant at the thought of eating fish for breakfast. Another favourite breakfast – and one that I love – is jugged kippers… a traditional cold smoked herring – these can’t be beaten. We poach them in simmering water for 3 – 4 minutes, drain them and douse them with malt vinegar (very typical of the East end of London).  We recommend either sliced tomatoes or marmalade on toast to serve alongside… and this seems to work perfectly. Use a fork to pull away and locate the bones and always serve with crusty bread – this helps manage the bones better.

Then supper – it is easy enough as fish is the best ‘fast food’ – it is quite possible to get a family supper on the table in 20 mins as fish is so quick to cook. For easy family eating – crusted white fish with parsley and lemon and baked. Served with veg stir-fry  or noodles…

And then – shellfish – I love both crab and oyster and these are a real weekend treat. Crab can be simply dressed and served on crusty bready – or crab therimidor – a fab dish and great take on lobster therimidor.  Oysters are incredible as not only do they provide us with zinc – they are excellent both hot and cold.

So the challenge is – how much can you eat each week? Let me know on our twitter page @seafood school – and I will look out for your response.

CJ Jackson

Would reading this article encourage you to eat seafood?