Health professionals and dietitians agree that adding fish to your diet is one of the best things you can do, as it offers a lot of health benefits. In fact, the American Heart Association suggests eating no less than two servings of fatty fish per week to boost your heart health. Alongside the well-known champions like herring, salmon and tuna, mackerel are a touted fish. Mackerel is oozing with micronutrients, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Keep reading to learn more!
What is Mackerel?
If you often eat at sushi bars, you may know mackerel as the saba fish. You may have also unintentionally passed by it at the store, sitting right next to canned sardines or anchovies. Mackerel is a saltwater fish that actually has about 30 different species, including Atlantic mackerel, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and Pacific mackerel. Available both canned or fresh, this fish is a favourite among seafood enthusiasts. It’s versatile, flavourful and packs a punch of nutrients. Research suggests that regular consumption may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, tighten waistlines, fight depression and keep bones strong and healthy.
Because of its many species, it can get overwhelming trying to decide what to buy at the store. King mackerel has a lot of mercury in it, which can be dangerous and even poisonous if too much is consumed. Spanish mackerel also contains cautionary mercury levels. Atlantic mackerel, however, has lower mercury levels but maintains that concentrated protein and omega-3 fatty acid content that we love. Canned mackerel is the most convenient and popular choice, but be sure you buy from a brand that uses BPA-free cans.
Nutritional Content of Mackerel
Mackerel is rich in nutrients and has lots of protein, micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids with a low amount of calories. The fish is particularly high in phosphorus, niacin, selenium and vitamin B12. One 3 oz. serving of cooked Atlantic mackerel may contain about:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin B12||16.1 micrograms||269%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.8 milligrams||8%|
Aside from the aforementioned nutrients, mackerel also contains some vitamin A, copper and zinc.
Health Benefits of Mackerel
Here are some of the most amazing health benefits of mackerel:
- Helps promote weight loss. There is an ample amount of protein and fat in mackerel, which helps keep you feeling full and speeds up weight loss. Furthermore, studies show that fat and protein may reduce the levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger.
- Helps strengthen bones. Just like any other type of oily fish, mackerel is a good source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, but it can be hard to meet your dietary needs without resorting to supplements. As a matter of fact, about 50% of the population is vitamin D deficient.
- Helps fight depression. Mackerel has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids – a healthy kind of fat connected to a lot of amazing health benefits. As a matter of fact, some recent studies found out that omega-3 fatty acids may even help protect you from depression.
- May help reduce cholesterol levels. We know that cholesterol is a kind of fat present in the body. Though you need cholesterol, an excessive amount may build up in the body and cause arteries to get narrow and hard. Including mackerel in your diet may improve heart health by lowering these cholesterol levels.
- Helps lower blood pressure. High blood pressure may force the heart to work harder in order to pump blood, thus increasing the risk of heart disease. Mackerel is known for its ability to boost heart health and lower blood pressure. This is one of its best health benefits.