Fish and shellfish supply high quality protein, as well as containing useful amounts of B vitamins and many minerals. White fish and shellfish contain very little fat, and the relatively high levels of fats found in oily fish are in the form of desirable omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating Raw Fish
Once central to the diets of traditional coastal communities everywhere, raw fish is exceptionally nutritious and high in protein, although it should never be eaten unless it is absolutely fresh and from clean waters. The Japanese have turned raw fish into an art form with the creation of sashimi and sushi – raw fish delicacies that are carefully cut and prepared by skilled chefs. Japanese chefs have been trained to spot and remove any parasites; nevertheless, the Japanese have the highest incidence of parasite-related digestive disorders.
Parasites occasionally infect saltwater fish but are generally harmless varieties that do not infect humans. Freshwater fish, such as bass and trout, may contain disease-causing parasites and should never be eaten raw or undercooked.
EXCESS PROTEIN IN THE DIET
The body’s protein requirements can be met by relatively small amounts of protein-rich foods. A diet that is consistently high in protein from animal sources has been linked to a number of health problems, such as:
Surplus protein drains calcium from the body –> Increased loss of calcium from bone –> Increased risk of osteoporosis.
Extra burden placed on the kidneys as they deal with excess protein –> Potential problem for diabetics and those with kidney problems.
The body cannot store protein for later use so it is either used directly for energy or converted into fat by the liver and kidneys and stored in the adipose tissue beneath the skin –> Excess weight gain.
Many people over-estimate their protein needs, and also base their protein intake around animal sources. A breakfast of cereal with skimmed milk; two slices of bread (either eaten at breakfast or during the course of the day); and a main meal of salmon, served with vegetables, would provide an adequate daily intake of protein.