Frequently traveling together in large schools, mackerel are among the most common fish in the sea. Unlucky for them, mackerel can easily be caught, and are typically used as food for much larger fish. There are different types of mackerel found in the oceans across the world, and are commonly eaten among people of all nations.
We’re looking at the more common mackerel that’s eaten today, not like the king mackerel that are much larger and a lot harder to find in your average grocery stores. For being so small, these fish pack quite a punch in the nutrition department. To prove it, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional breakdown of mackerel, and the amazing health benefits you get from adding more mackerel to your diet.
Nutrition of Mackerel
If you’re looking for a low calorie food with a wide range of nutrition, you should really consider adding more mackerel to your diet. With under 175 calories per three ounce serving, mackerel delivers more than 30 percent of your daily recommendation for protein, with no carbohydrates at all. In terms of vitamins, vitamin B12 is the big standout here with over 120 percent of the daily recommendation.
Other vitamins in high amounts include vitamin D at more than 75 percent and niacin at 40 percent. Thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6 are all between 10 and 20 percent, while there are also small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K and pantothenic acid. As for the minerals, selenium is the most abundant at over 50 percent, while magnesium and phosphorus check in at nearly 20 percent. Iron and potassium are around 10 percent while smaller amounts include zinc and copper. Lastly, there are more than 2,200 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Mackerel is one of the best foods that you can eat for your heart, mainly due to that high omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 has been linked with lowering your chances of heart disease through a few different ways. For starters, mackerel can help prevent hypertension by controlling your blood pressure. Not only does the omega-3 help with that, but the high amount of potassium found in mackerel further aids in that department.
Omega-3 also increases the amount of blood flow in your body so that you can lower your chances of heart attack or stroke. Overall, people that eat more foods such as mackerel are found to have lower amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides while also increasing the HDL (good) levels of cholesterol. In other words, there’s nothing but positives that mackerel does for the heart.
The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K within mackerel adds a huge boost to your bone health. Vitamin K is one of those nutrients that is overlooked as a building block for your bones as they help you absorb more calcium and keep your bones more dense and strong. As for the omega-3 acids, they are linked to helping your joints tremendously and reducing your chances of rheumatoid arthritis.
Even if you already have arthritis, symptoms (that can include some severe pain) can be reduced by adding more omega-3. Iron, potassium and other minerals are also found in mackerel to give you a further bone boost. Elderly people that don’t have bone loss or problems such as arthritis are often able to prevent those problems by eating more seafood like mackerel, so make sure to consider changing your diet so that you’ll thank yourself later on.
Yet another huge aspect of omega-3 fatty acid is what it can do for your brain. Bone health can frequently deteriorate with age, but brain health is even more noticeable as you age. Omega-3 fatty acids help to increase your overall cognitive function, which reduces chances of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases.
While that is certainly great news for the long term, eating mackerel can also help you in your short term day to day life. Mackerel can improve your hormonal balances, helping to prevent the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even medications taken for signs of depression can get a boost from omega-3 fatty acids. One more bonus is that you can also increase your ability to both fall asleep and stay asleep, which is good news for insomniacs.
If you don’t eat a lot of seafood, one thing that you might be lacking in nutrition wise is selenium. This is a mineral that’s frequently found in foods like mackerel, and it gives a huge boost to your immune system. Along with other important nutrients, selenium aids in the function of your thyroid and has antioxidants that can prevent diseases both common or more serious in nature.
Getting the recommended levels of selenium in your diet prevent a wide range of specific diseases, and also boosts your kidneys. Eating a well rounded meal with vitamin C packed fruit with mackerel is one of the best dishes that you can create to help your immune system so that you don’t have to call in sick to work as often.
Because of the low amount of calories in each serving of mackerel, it makes for a great weight loss tool for that reason alone. Add in the fact that there is quite a bit of protein, and your body will be able to help build more muscle. The more muscle you have in your body, the more calories and fat you can burn, even when not exercising. Some of the highest rated diets out there are packed with seafood due to the high nutritional value and low calorie content, and mackerel is one of the more convenient ones out there, fitting right into the popular Mediterranean Diet.
Summing it Up
There are a lot of types of seafood that are considered incredibly healthy, but there are always some things you need to know about foods like mackerel. Mackerel is considered one of the healthier fish because of its high omega-3 fatty acid content, and is usually one of the safer fish because of its place on the food chain. That means that mackerel doesn’t have as much of a chance as being contaminated with mercury.
Declining numbers in mackerel levels have led to some problems, though, as it was removed off of certain ethical seafoods to eat. As for the negatives of eating a fish like mackerel, there isn’t really too much to be concerned about. Obviously, eating anything from the sea always carries that chance of mercury poisoning, even if it’s much lower in mackerel than any other fish. If you don’t have personal issues about eating fish, then mackerel makes for a great addition to your diet, especially the recommended two servings per week.