Mackerel commonly known as bangada in Hindi, is one of the most extensively consumed fish variety in India as well as throughout the world. Although bangada fry and curry are most preferred options, health conscious people can consume this fish in baked, steamed or grilled form. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and high amount of proteins, consuming this fish offers a wide range of health benefits. Here are few of the reasons why you should start eating mackerel fish.
1. Prevents heart disease
One of the most effective methods to prevent heart disease is to consume diet containing good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. Mackerel fish is not only rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids but also is also low in saturated fats. Hence frequent consumption of this fish helps to lowers your risk of heart complications like stroke, atherosclerosis, heart attacks and arrhythmia.
2. Lowers risk of diabetes
Mackerel consists of good amount of healthy fats namely monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which play a key role in the prevention, as well as control of blood sugar levels in diabetics. Consuming this fish on a regular basis not only controls blood sugar levels in the body, but it also lowers visceral fat, thus lowering your risk of diabetes.
Mackerel strengthens the immune system. It supports the functions of organs that have been weakened by sickness. Omega-3 fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent. They help in the management of arthritis. They also help to lower the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Coenzyme Q10 protects cells from damage that increases the risk of cancer. It also boosts the body’s capacity to fight infections. It is a great item to be included in the diet of convalescents and those undergoing various treatments.
4. Controls blood pressure levels
In case you are a non-vegetarian by nature and suffer from hypertension, consume mackerel fish on a daily basis to keep your blood pressure levels within control. High levels of potassium present in this fish helps in maintaining normal blood pressure in addition to lowering the risk of health complications associated with the condition.
5. Reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Mackerel consists of anti-inflammatory compounds which help in lowering the joint pain and stiffness of muscles in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Including this fish in your diet while on medication is found to improve your condition by enhancing the efficacy of the drugs.
6. Help Prevent Cancer
Mackerel fish is rich in coenzyme Q10, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats. Coenzyme Q10 help get rid of cancerous agents attached to cells; antioxidants can help lower risks of cancer by eliminating free radicals in your body; omega-3 fats can help prevent breast, prostate, renal and colon cancers. Apart from that mackerel fish is also rich in vitamin B12 and selenium that are helpful in treating cancers.
7. Lose weight
Content of omega 3 in the puffer fish is believed to help people lose weight. Research has shown that regular consumption of fish oil bloating combined with regular exercise can reduce abdominal fat expressively. It can also help regulate the body’s metabolism, and can help reduce blood sugar in overweight people.
8. Lower Cholesterol
Fish oil found in mackerel helps lower your bad cholesterol particles, and increase your good cholesterol levels. The fish oil works by preventing cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine, which at the mean time can also help lower blood pressure.
9. Improves cognitive function
Research studies have proved that people consuming high levels of omega-3 fatty acids are at a lower risk of getting affected by depression. Therefore, by adding mackerel to your daily diet, this food not only aids in reducing mood swings common in individuals suffering from depression, but it also improves the activity of antidepressant medications. Mackerel is overloaded with DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and consuming this fish lowers your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
10. Increases survival chance of bowel cancer patients
Mackerel is one of the very few natural sources containing good amounts of vitamin D that is known to up the survival chances of bowel cancer patients. Research studies have proved that cancer patients with high blood levels of vitamin D are more likely to survive the disease, in addition to improving their health condition.
How to Eat
Mackerel can be baked, broiled, pan fried, poached, and grilled.
Mackerel cooks fast and easily. Marinating it in the refrigerator increases its flavor and taste.
Mackerel can be used along with other combinations to add to its taste. One such combination is flaked smoked mackerel, apple and chive pate.
Traditional uses and benefits of Mackerel Fish
Mackerel is known to make a person’s blood fresh by working as a blood purifier and thinner.
It offers better functioning of the heart, thus preventing cardiovascular disease.
It strengthens the immune system and provides support to the organs’ functioning which has become weak due to illness.
It improves brain activity and increases the memory capability.
It works in reducing the LDL and helps in lowering the blood pressure.
It is helpful in bringing relief during pain in arthosis, arthritis, and Migraine.
It works in regulating the hormone level and in bringing elasticity to the capillaries and blood vessels.
It helps in eliminating cancer causing agents in cells.
Mackerels are carnivores (meat-eaters). Their diet consists of copepods, small fish, shrimps and squids.
They are diurnal animals (active during the day).
They are fast and agile swimmers. They can swim at the speed of 5.5 meters per second.
They have numerous natural enemies. Tunas, whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, tortoises and pelicans often consume mackerels.
It migrates toward the shallow water (close to the shore) during the spring, when mating season starts.
Mackerels have long lifespan. They can survive up to 25 years in the wild.
Buying & Storage Tips
The eyes of fresh mackerel appear bright and clear. The gills should be clean and the skin moist, with tightly adhering, shiny scales.
Select mackerel that is stiff and does not bend by its head or tail.
While purchasing mackerel fillets or steaks, select the ones with moist, translucent flesh.
While storing mackerel, eliminate it from the packet and wash well under cold water. Pat with paper towels and pace it on a cake rack, in a shallow pan filled with crushed ice. Cover with a foil and refrigerate in the coldest part.
Wrap the mackerel well and store in the freezer for 2 months or deep-freeze it for 3 to 4 months.
To melt the fish, wrap and place it in a pan, uncovered. Leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
To get a strong taste, marinate the mackerel with a citrus or vinegar marinade, for 15 to 30 minutes.
To bake mackerel, place it in a greased baking dish. Brush with some oil or butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, at 450 °F (230 °C), until evenly cooked.
Mix together flour, crumbs and cornmeal. Coat the mackerel fillets with this mixture and place on the rack above the baking dish, 3 to 4 inches away from the element. Brush with melted butter or oil and broil for about 3 to 10 minutes, till the fish gets moist in the center.
Combine mackerel with seasoned flour, crumbs or cornmeal. Fry the fish in hot butter or oil. Cook on both sides until opaque and moist inside, say for about 4 to 8 minutes.
Since mackerel contains methyl mercury, pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid it.
Mackerel should not be consumed regularly by pregnant women, otherwise it harm a child’s developing nervous system and pose risk to mothers as well.