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What Is The Healthiest Way To Cook Fish?

What Is the Healthiest Way to Cook Fish?

Fish is a really healthy food. Eating it regularly may lower your risk of a number of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and depression (1, 2, 3, 4).

Because of this, health professionals often recommend that people eat fish at least once or twice a week (5).

However, the way you cook your fish can change its nutritional composition, so some cooking methods may be better for your health than others.

This article explores how different cooking methods may change the nutritional value of your fish, and examines which methods are healthiest.

Why Fish Is So Healthy

Two Fish, Ice Cubes and Lemon Slices on a Platter

There are many types of fish, all with different nutrition profiles. In general, they are divided into two categories: lean and fatty.

Both are considered nutritious and a great source of high-quality protein, but fatty fish are thought to be especially important for health. This is because they contain some important nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D (6).

Currently, around 40% of people have low levels of vitamin D. This has been linked to a higher risk heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia and some autoimmune diseases (7).

The best way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure. However, fatty fish are one of the few food sources of vitamin D and can contribute a good amount (8, 9).

Your body and brain also need omega-3 fatty acids to function at their best. In fact, getting enough omega-3s has been linked with a number of health benefits, including a decreased risk of heart disease and some cancers (10, 11, 12, 13).

These special fats may also slow down the decline in brain function that people commonly experience as they age (14, 15).

Eating lean fish may also have health benefits. Some studies have linked it to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and reduced risk factors for heart disease (16, 17, 18, 19).

These are some of the reasons why health experts recommend eating fish at least once or twice a week (20, 21).

Summary: Fish is a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Health experts recommend eating fish at least once or twice each week.

Grilling and Broiling

Grilled Seabass Fish Tomatoes Onions and Mushrooms

Grilling and broiling are very similar cooking methods. They both involve applying dry heat to your food at very high temperatures.

The main difference between the two methods is that grilling applies heat from below and broiling applies it from above.

Both methods are a fast way to cook really tasty fish without adding any fats.

Unfortunately, both grilling and broiling are known to cause the formation of some harmful compounds called heterocyclic amines (HAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (22, 23).

These two types of compounds form when muscle tissue from meat or fish is heated to very high temperatures, particularly over an open flame (24).

However, the risks associated with these compounds have only been linked to high intakes of red or processed meat. Eating fish hasn’t been associated with the same risks (25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30).

Grilling and broiling may also result in the formation of compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

These compounds form naturally in your body as you age, but can also form in muscle-containing foods like meat and fish when they are cooked at high temperatures (31, 32, 33).

High levels of AGEs have been linked to a range of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s (34, 35, 36).

To reduce your exposure to these compounds, avoid cooking with an open flame, try to keep your cooking times as short as possible and avoid charring meat (37).

Additionally, applying a marinade to your fish before you grill it may help reduce the formation of HAs and PAHs (38).

Summary: Grilling and broiling fish can produce some harmful compounds. To minimize them, cook fish for the shortest time possible, avoid charring the flesh and add a marinade.

Pan-Frying and Deep-Frying

Two Fillets of Fried Fish

Pan-frying and deep-frying are high-temperature cooking methods that use hot fat.

Deep-frying involves submerging…

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