Not Fishy Enough: Healthy Oily Fishes in Japan and the Benefits

Eat healthy fish in Japan

Not Fishy Enough: Oily Fishes and Health Benefits

We’ve all heard that fish oil is beneficial to our health and including more fish in our diet is encouraged. Among other benefits, fish consumption helps to lower cholesterol and reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease. In addition fish oil is considered to be helpful in brain development and therefore good to consume in moderation while pregnant or nursing.

That being said, there’s a lot of fish in the sea. So, which of the many varieties should you choose? What you want to be looking for are the healthy oily fishes in Japan. Oily fish doesn’t sound too healthy, but the oil is what contains much of the benefits for your health. Beneficial components of the oils are DHA and EPA, which are unsaturated fats – so called “good fats”.

Particularly the blue-backed fish – compared with white-meat fish – are the ones that contain more of the oil. Look for sardines, mackerel, saury, anchovies, herring, and others. These fish have a blue-black back and a white underbelly.

In Japan, being an island nation, fish are a big part of the daily diet. Blue-backed fish, called “ao-zakana” (青魚), compose a good portion of fish choices. These blue-backed fish also tend to be cheaper than white-meat fish like cod, and are readily available in Japanese supermarkets. Therefore, it’s more common to see these healthy fish at the table during meals.

The most common types you see today in Japanese stores are:

“Iwashi” (sardines)

“Saba” (mackerels)

“Aji” (horse mackerels)

“Sanma” (saury) – Fall season

These are usually sold fresh, either whole or filleted. Cook it however you want or even enjoy it as sashimi. It’s easy on the wallet and it’s fresh! So take advantage of it.

 

above image courtesy of  Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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