Fish – the Brain Food

Our national dish of Fish & Chips is now a global phenomenon, and recently regained the title of most popular takeaway food in the UK, a title that had for several years been upheld by chicken tikka masala. No longer sneered at as the national dish of that nation that knows nothing about food, it is now lauded the world over. But you don’t have to be a dietitian to know that however delicious a piece of fish in batter is, it isn’t advisable to eat this dish every night. And for many years that was the one and only way a lot of us ate fish. The criticisms of our diet from overseas may not always have been unjustified, but a lot has changed in recent years. We now know much more about the food we eat, and the food available to us now, compared to then, is hugely different. And that goes for fish as much as any other food group. The better informed we are becoming can hopefully help us and our families to live longer and healthier lives.

The Japanese are considered to live longer than any other nation, and fish is a major part of their diet. There are thought to be a multitude of benefits to our health from eating fish, particularly fish high is Omega-3 fatty acids (examples – salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring), from lowering blood pressure, to preventing dementia and even Alzheimer’s; there is limited evidence to suggest that they may prevent certain cancers and arthritis too. Oily fish can help lower cholesterol, and in so doing prevent heart attack, and is good for our skin and our hair, and even our eyesight. It can relieve the symptoms of diabetes, and even prevent diabetes altogether. So it’s a no brainer really that we should be eating more fish, and particularly those high in Omega-3s.

If you are unfamiliar with cooking fish then don’t be put off, just give it a go. There is a lot of help and information out there. Speak to the people behind the fish counter at your supermarket or fishmonger, they are there to help. There is a ton of videos on the internet that can give you methods and tips too.

Try this simple recipe – warm some extra virgin olive oil in a pan, and add a drained can of butter beans, break the beans up with a fork in the oil until crushed and warm through, then stir in the zest of a lemon and a few torn basil leaves and salt and pepper. In a frying pan add a drizzle of oil and pan fry a smoked mackerel fillet for a few minutes on each side, then serve on top of the crushed butter beans.


Adrian Brett – owner of catering company Grand Union Dining Den (GUDD)

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