Summer has arrived! And with it, the long days and hot nights that invite to a snack!
I already wrote that Portugal is the biggest consumer of fish per capita in Europe and the third in the world! However, it is in the summer that the Portuguese eat fish more often:
The stoves are lit, where sardines are queens!
According to PORDATA, in 2021, the most fished marine species was sardine, followed by mackerel and horse mackerel! The life cycle of these species means that, from late spring to late summer, they increase their body fat content in order to prepare for the breeding season! In this way, it is in the summer that they become so tasty, being the fat that gives them their appreciated flavour!
So, is it healthier to eat fish in the summer?
Generally speaking, we can say yes, as it is in this season that most species on the Portuguese coast are richer in healthy fat:
The polyunsaturated fats of the omega-3 family!
More than healthy, ómega-3 fats are essential to our health: they play a particularly important role, acting as anti-inflammatory, hormonal and immune modulators, blood pressure regulators and even blood clotting agents.
They are also recognized for their different therapeutic capabilities in the treatment and prevention of various conditions:
- Diabetes – improving glucose tolerance;
- Neurological diseases (eg. Alzheimer’s);
- Cardiovascular diseases – promoting an increase in good cholesterol and a decrease in triglycerides;
- Carcinogenic diseases;
- Autoimmune diseases;
- Skin and liver diseases.
Omega-3s also play essential roles during pregnancy, especially in the development of the fetus’ vision and neurological system! It is known that babies whose mothers had a higher intake of these fats during pregnancy tend to have better concentrations, memorization and reasoning skills.
So, how much fish should we eat to get these benefits?
Depending on the age group, the intake recommendations vary a lot, or even according to the state of heat and degree of stress (eg. athletes). However, in a global way, we can say that the daily recommendation of omega-3 fat varies between…
Recommended Daily Dose: 250mg to 3000mg/day
Now for the good news: In summer just 15g of sardines are enough to provide 500mg of polyunsaturated fatty acids! On average, 100g of sardines contain 3.3g of omega-3!
Enjoy summer with health, eating sardines, marckerel or horse mackerel at least 3 times a week! Whether grilled or in the delicious Comur preserves, fatty fish should be part of your summer dishes and salads!
Dietitian Catarina Cachão Bragadeste
Clinical Nutrition Specialist
Order of Nutritionists 0402N
Blog of a Dietitian®