The benefits of opting for fish when you eat out

Happy customers at The Oar House, Howth

Happy customers at The Oar House, Howth

Fish is a really nutritious food to opt for when eating out, being rich in protein, vitamins and minerals which are essential to maintain good health.

There are three types of fish: oily fish, white fish and shellfish.

Fish is one of the most beneficial protein sources for your diet. It’s filled with essential nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, and is a great source of protein to keep your body lean and your muscles strong. Fish doesn’t only impact your waistline, but also other functions of your body including your liver, brain, and even your sleep.

Here at the Oarhouse restaurant in Howth, we long know fish is a superfood. Packed with vitamins and minerals, and a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish can help to protect against a range of diseases, from cancer to heart disease, depression to arthritis.

Six benefits of eating fish

1. It can help to fight heart disease

No wonder the Government wants us all to eat more, with the Food Standards Agency recommending at least two portions a week of fresh, frozen, or tinned seafood (one of them of oily fish).

The Irish Heart Foundation says eating oily fish can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve your chances of survival following a heart attack. Fish does this by lowering levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood – raised levels are associated with heart disease. Fish oils also appear to help reduce blood clotting and abnormal heart rhythms after a heart attack.

2. It can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s

Polyunsaturated fatty acids found in many fish may prevent damage to brain cells. Eating fish can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which is linked with dementia. A French study of 2000 people showed that those who ate seafood at least once a week had a significantly lower risk of dementia over a seven-year period than those who didn’t.

3. It has cancer-fighting properties

A Swedish study of 6000 men over a 30-year period showed that those who didn’t eat any fish had between double and treble the risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to those who ate moderate or large amounts. Shellfish, such as crab and lobster, also contains selenium, thought to have cancer-fighting properties.

4. It can ease depression

It’s been reported that fish can help to ease depression. Again, it’s down to omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to raise levels of the brain chemical serotonin.

5. It can reduce and relieve arthritis

Population groups that eat a lot of fish – Inuits in Greenland, for example – have low rates of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Studies have also shown fish oils to be useful in relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

6. It is good for your skin

According to dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, author of The Perricone Prescription, a salmon-packed diet can help smooth out age lines.

Which fish should you eat to get the most health benefits?

White fish, like cod, are a good source of low-fat protein and minerals.

Oily fish, such as sardines, pilchards, salmon and mackerel, have the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids.

Crab, lobster and mussels come into the shellfish group and contain selenium – thought to have cancer-fighting properties.

Here at the Oarhouse, we source most of our fish from the trawlers you see outside our window. Indeed our own trawler “Celtic Fisher” skippered by Sean’s brother Padraig is our primary supplier of the famous Dublin Bay Prawns and most of the whitefish served here. Indeed the specials board is effectively a list of fish landed in Howth that morning!

The Oarhouse is the ideal restaurant for a casual lunch or dinner, or a special celebration. We offer modern Irish food prepared with quality fresh local produce. Our speciality is seasonal seafood, but diners have plenty of choice, from meat to vegetarian dishes.

Barbara Shanahan