The Scandi Diet Part 1 – Fabulous Fish

Welcome to my first blog.  I am Katie, Paul’s wife, you can expect to see me working in Baltzersen’s at the weekend but in the week I work as a Registered Dietitian in the NHS.  My job necessitates a great interest in food and its links to health and disease, in my blogs I will write about a balanced diet and the benefits of the ‘Scandi’ approach. .

Unlike Paul, I am quite new to the Scandinavian way of eating.  My only experience had really been eating Ikea meatballs – a guilty pleasure!  Our recent trip to Oslo, and endless talk with Paul about Baltzersen’s, has given me an insight into Scandinavian food.

This entry I am going to focus on oily fish.  You may have already seen Paul’s photo of his gravlax, well oily fish is a large part of the Scandinavian diet.  Scandinavians have been drying, salting, pickling and smoking fish to preserve for eating throughout the winter for over a thousand years.

Oily fish include salmon, herring, pilchards, mackerel, sardines, trout and fresh tuna.

Tinned tuna is not classed as an oily fish because in the canning process these fats are reduced to a level similar to other fish.  White fish contain omega 3 fatty acids but at a much lower level than oily fish.

Eating oily fish regularly can lower your risk of heart disease, helps keep joints healthy and, in pregnant women, aids in the healthy development of your baby.

The benefits of eating oily fish are thought to come from omega 3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

To get these benefits adults and children over 12 are recommended to eat 2 portions of fish per week (a portion is about 140g when cooked), one of which should be oily.

Despite the benefits of oily fish, there are limits for the maximum number of portions we should eat each week because oily fish can contain low levels of pollutants that can build up in the body. Girls and women who might have a baby one day shouldn’t eat more then 2 portions of oily fish a week. In general, this also applies to pregnant or breast feeding women. Women who aren’t going to get pregnant in the future, boys and men can eat up to 4 portions a week.

Oily fish is some of the freshest, tastiest and cheapest fish at the fishmonger/supermarket so we should all be making use of this fantastic resource.  For a healthier choice go for steamed, baked or grilled fish rather than fried.

So, why not try and make a change to your diet, include some oily fish and reap the health benefits!  Alternatively come and visit Baltzersen’s where (once we open) we will offer several fish options and would be delighted to give you some inspiration on how to get your hit of omega 3.

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Katie Rawlinson is a registered dietitian and her advice is taken from evidence based recommendations published by The British Dietetic Association.  Photos with thanks to Ramus Seafood.

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