Benefits and Risks of Eating Cod

Aaron Kandola wrote . . . . . . . . .

High in protein

Like other types of fish, cod is naturally high in protein. Specifically, 100 grams (g) of cooked cod contains around 20 g of protein.

Protein is an essential part of any diet. Proteins support the “structure, function, and regulation” of cells, tissues, and organs in the body.

Protein contains amino acids. It is essential to get some of these amino acids from food, as it is not possible for the body to make them itself. Many plant-based sources of protein do not contain these essential amino acids, but fish does.

Cod is also a healthful source of protein. There are around 0.25 g of fat and 84 calories in 100 g of cod.

Evidence suggests that obtaining protein from more healthful sources could have a range of health benefits, such as reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Less healthful sources of protein are foods such as red meat and cheese.

It is important to eat protein every day, as the body stores protein in a different way to other macronutrients such as carbohydrates.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine advise that adults aim to include at least 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight in their daily diet.

Omega-3 fatty acid

The low fat content of cod mainly consists of omega-3 fatty acids. The body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids, so people must get them from their diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important to cell functioning and contribute to the functioning of the cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems.

These fatty acids appear to have many health benefits, such as protecting against cardiovascular disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids are less common than other fatty acids, such as omega-6. Fish, including cod, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamins

Cod is a good source of several vitamins, including vitamins E, A, C. It is also an excellent source of multiple B vitamins, especially B-6 and B-12.

Vitamins perform a range of important functions in the body, and a vitamin deficiency can have negative health consequences.

For example, vitamin B-6 is important for metabolic processes and brain development. Vitamin B-12 supports nerve and blood cells. It is also important for preventing health conditions such as anemia and maintaining energy levels.

Vitamin B-12 is mostly present in animal products and fish. A person can obtain other B vitamins from both plant and animal sources. Cod contains both vitamins B-6 and B-12.

Minerals

Cod also contains multiple minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.

Potassium supports the muscles and nervous system. Phosphorus is important for keeping bones healthy, regulating heartbeat, and maintaining kidney function. Selenium is important for thyroid function, reproduction, DNA production, and the immune system.

The body needs a range of minerals to function properly. As with vitamins, it is important to obtain minerals from the diet.

Potential risks

Consuming cod in moderate amounts is safe and generally without adverse effects.

Cod, like most types of fish, contains mercury. Excessive mercury consumption can be toxic and may cause neurological and behavioral disorders. It may be particularly problematic in children.

Fish naturally contain mercury, partly from consuming other fish. It may be worth limiting the consumption of large fish, such as swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. It is important to note that albacore tuna has significantly more mercury than canned light tuna.

However, cod does not contain high amounts of mercury. So, moderate consumption of cod should not cause problems in most people.

During pregnancy

In general, cod is safe for pregnant women to consume in moderate quantities.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that pregnant women consume 8–12 ounces (oz) of fish low in mercury. Consuming too much mercury can harm a fetus.

Cod is lower in mercury than many other fish. Eating between 8 and 12 oz of cod per week should be safe for pregnant women. Other examples of very low-mercury fish are sardines and herring.

Adding to the diet

There are many ways to add more cod to the diet, such as by consuming cod fillets.

The best method of eating a cod fillet would be to steam, grill, or bake it. It is also possible to fry the fillet, but this is a less healthful way of cooking.

Cod goes well with vegetables and in a curry. It is also possible to make cod into a pie, or to use breadcrumbs to coat the fish for added flavor.

A range of ready-made products also contain cod, such as fish cakes and fish sticks. However, these products are generally less healthful.

Summary

Cod is a highly nutritious food. It is a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is also low in calories and contains very small amounts of fat.

It is generally safe to eat in moderate amounts.

Pregnant women should consume no more than 8–12 oz of cod per week due to its mercury content.

The most healthful way to eat cod is to grill or bake the fish and combine it with a side of mixed vegetables.

Source: Medical News Today

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Infographic: Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) Scores

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Source: Dr. Fuhrman


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Video: The Power of Nutrition – How Food Determines Our Health

Learn about the power of nutrition and how certain diets have the potential to prevent and even cure diseases (subtitles in English, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, and French).

The Physicians Association for Nutrition (PAN) is a international medical organization that aims to raise awareness among health professionals, the general public, and policymakers about the role of whole food, plant-based nutrition in promoting good health and preventing and treating disease.

Watch video at You Tube (3:32 minutes) . . . . .


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Infographic: Sugar in Food

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Source: FDA

Current Food Label vs New Food Label


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The new food label is mandated to be implemented in 2020. The amount of added sugar to the food product has to be shown in the new label.

Source: FDA

Portion Control, Mindful Eating, and Why You Shouldn’t Exclude Chocolate, Potatoes, Wine or Bread from Your Diet

Anthea Rowan wrote . . . . . . . . .

How much should we eat? For maximum health, should we observe an unbending attitude to anything that isn’t healthy – chocolate cake, for example? Or should we approach food with some elasticity?

My grandmother lived by the adage, ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’. That meant a slice of excellent bread (not the whole loaf); a nip of good brandy (not the bottle); a few of the finest chocolates (never the whole heart-shaped box).

The phrase was made famous by a risqué music hall performer, Marie Lloyd, towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. She sang:

I always hold in having it if you fancy it / If you fancy it, that’s understood / And suppose it makes you fat? I don’t worry over that / ’Cos a little of what you fancy does you good.

“Little”, then, is the operative word, Though the “fancy” is key too; I don’t know about you, but I never fancied a bowl of broccoli.

And a lot of foods that get a bad rap – especially in these days of lean, clean, zero-carb eating – are actually essential to good health.

Both Canadian and British authorities delivered new guidelines in January on what to eat and how much. They are underpinned by quite different approaches. The British Nutrition Foundation’s Find Your Balance guide concentrates on portion sizes. It advocates five-plus portions of fruit and vegetables a day, three to four of carbohydrates, and two to three each of protein and dairy. It gives portion sizes as both weights and visually measurable sizes – two handfuls of dried pasta shapes, for example, are roughly 75g in weight.

Denise Fair is a Canadian dietitian registered in Hong Kong. Of the British guide, she says: “It’s good but not great. In my own practice, I use a fist for starches but the British guide alternates between handful (is this how much you can grab?) and two hands cupped together (is this heaped, flat or just how cupped?) and they use a fist as well. That is a lot of variation.” And so, one assumes, a considerable margin for error in interpretation.

Fair also notes that, while it describes how people need different-sized portions based on their body size and age, “their list gives what would be a universal portion – so it’s a bit confusing”.

In addition, she says: “The sample menu offered is heavy on fruits and minimal vegetables and includes juice, which is something I tell people to avoid at all costs.”

The Canadians and Americans are now switching to the plate method. Indeed, the new Canadian guide helpfully illustrates daily food group spread with a picture of plated food types – half the plate is dedicated to fresh fruit and vegetables, a quarter to protein and a quarter to whole grain carbs. The drink of choice? Water.

The Canada guide is good, says Fair. “It doesn’t talk much about portions, but looks at lifestyle – things like mindful eating, and eating with the family.”

The guide has been well received in Canada and lauded by experts and advocacy groups (the Canadian Medical Association, for example) as a better approach to healthy eating. It asks people to think about their eating habits – how they eat, why they eat, where/what/when they eat, and how much. Careful thought can lead to better choices and healthier eating habits.

It urges people to enjoy meal times – preparation and eating – to socialise over food, to cook from scratch more often. Food is central to our lives. It should be something we make informed choices about. Be mindful, says the Canadian guide, and make meal times meaningful.

The British portion size guide, says Hong Kong-based nutritionist Michelle Lau, founder of Nutrilicious, “is a general guideline for the general public [for healthy adults, based on a daily calorie allowance of 2,000 calories – the amount estimated for an average, healthy weight, adult woman]. One might need more if you are taller, more physically active, or going through puberty.”

Portion sizes have changed drastically, she says. “Did you know when McDonald’s first opened, a large portion of French fries was the same as the child’s size today? And it’s not only restaurant portions that have got bigger. Cookbooks have kept up with consumer demand for larger portions, increasing the calories from the original editions.

“It is no surprise that, as the portions have increased over the years, so peoples’ waistlines have been expanding as well.”

Lau also urges eating mindfully: downsize big portions when eating out, share a main course, skip appetisers or share a dessert; turn off screens during meals so you are less likely to eat mindlessly and overeat, slow down when you eat and try to put your knife and fork down between bites; use smaller plates and bowls for meals and always have serving dishes of vegetables on the table as they are higher in fibre and essential nutrients and lower in calories, and will keep you satisfied.

“Eat until you’re 80 per cent full,” she says.

In short, think about what you’re eating, when you’re eating, why you’re eating; never grocery shop when you’re hungry; and make sure your plate is colourful (as in fresh food colourful and not Skittles colourful).

A little of what you fancy

Here is a closer look at four foods that sit at the top of many no-no lists but could actually do you more good than harm – in moderation, of course.

Bread

These days it seems like everybody’s on a gluten-free diet. But not all flours are grown, or ground, equal. Dozens of studies demonstrate that foods containing gluten – whole wheat, rye and barley – are essential for good health, and for the 98 per cent of people that don’t have gluten issues, those same whole grains – which do contain gluten – are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Gluten helps boost the immune function. After less than a week on added gluten protein, volunteers in one study showed increased natural killer cell activity, which could help us fight cancer and viral infections. Another study found that high-gluten bread improved triglyceride levels more effectively than regular bread.

Yet another study found that a month on a gluten-free diet may reduce our natural, healthy gut flora and immune function, potentially setting those on gluten-free diets up for an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in their intestines. The components wheat-sensitive people have problems with, such as fructans, may act as probiotics and feed our good bacteria.

So have a slice of that delicious, freshly baked bread, infusing the kitchen with its warm, life-affirming scent.

Potatoes

Another innocent staple banished needlessly from the supper table by those no- and low-carb zealots, potatoes are a wonderful food: humble, generous, and the ultimate in warm comfort eating. Bake them with their skins on, split them open and add a drizzle of olive oil and mashed garlic, and you are transported to some safe, soul restoring place.

Low on phytic acid (which lowers mineral absorption), potatoes are easily digested but packed with vitamins and minerals, including B6. It helps your body produce neurotransmitters used for communication between nerve cells, and between nerves and muscles. Eating a large potato provides your body with 98 per cent of your body’s recommended daily intake of this important vitamin. They give you a quarter of your daily requirement of vitamin C, which helps protect you from cancer and stroke.

Potatoes also contain manganese – which supports metabolism and bone health – and potassium, imperative for muscle function and a healthy nervous system.

Recent studies suggest that potatoes may be an especially important food given our highly stressed contemporary lives. Scientists at the UK Institute for Food Research have identified kukoamines, compounds which reduce blood pressure, in potatoes.

Wine

We are perpetually at the mercy of the health police on this one: it’s OK to have a rare drink; it’s best avoided at all costs; it’s imperative to health to drink a small glass nightly.

More than 100 studies have established that a drink or two a day is linked to reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiac-related problems. One – which followed more than a quarter of a million people for over a decade – found that light to moderate drinkers were over 30 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

While there’s no need to start drinking just for your health, those of us who do enjoy the odd tipple can remain smugly confident that wine is rich in antioxidants which shield cells against damage from free radicals, can reduce LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, help balance blood-sugar levels, and potentially promote longevity thanks to the presence of resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps mop up disease prompting agents in the body.

Plain chocolate

There are plenty of good reasons to eat it in moderation – chocolate contains flavonoids, substances known to have anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties. It’s also full of the amino acid tryptophan, which is an essential ingredient in the production of the happy hormone, the neurotransmitter serotonin. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine which the body converts to dopamine, which helps us experience pleasure.

Researchers in Switzerland report that eating plain chocolate every day for two weeks reduces stress hormones, including cortisol, even in super anxious people. There is an abundance of global research that proclaims chocolate is a sound dietary choice: the Swedes established that eating 45g a week reduced stroke risk.

Cambridge researchers seem to agree; a team of Italian scientists found that eating small amounts increases insulin sensitivity which reduces diabetes risk; German scientists believe that the flavonols in plain chocolate could protect women’s skin from the sun’s UV rays.

The last word must go to Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who was born in 1875 – long before people conceived of green, clean, gluten-free, low-fat food – who reportedly ate a kilogram of plain chocolate every week and lived to be 122.

Source: SCMP