Vitamins and minerals in fish
Monday, May 11, 2009
Vitamins are natural substances found in food that are necessary to keep the body healthy.
There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and water soluble (C and the B complex). Vitamins A and D are found in fish liver oils and in small amounts in the fatty tissues of fish. A vitamin deficiency is a medical condition caused by lack of vitamins. Seafood is generally low in fat, and we usually don't consume fish liver oils; therefore, seafood is not considered a significant source of the fat-soluble vitamins. There is little Vitamin C found in seafood, but it is considered an excellent source of the B complex vitamins, particularly niacin, B12 and B6. Thiamine is also found in seafood but in fair amounts.
Seafood is also an excellent source of minerals. Fish are one of the most important sources of calcium. The soft bones of small fish such as sardines and smelts and canned varieties like salmon are especially valuable sources of calcium. Other minerals in seafood include Zinc (oysters and crustaceans), Iron (oysters, bluefish, and shrimp), Copper (oysters, crabs, and lobster), Potassium (mussels, scallops, and clams), Iodine, Phosphorus, and Selenium.
Fresh seafood is low in sodium. For those who have to restrict the intake of sodium, fresh seafood is an excellent choice; although they should limit their intake of processed seafood such as smoked, cured, and most canned seafoods. Salt is added in the processing of these seafood products as it is in imitation seafood products.
Cholesterol is also a substance found in the blood and the cells of the body. Its level is not significant in most seafood products. Finfish are generally quite low in cholesterol, with shellfish having low to moderate amounts. In the past, shellfish have been excluded from low cholesterol diets because they were believed to be high in cholesterol. New sophisticated measuring techniques have indicated that cholesterol levels of many molluscan shellfish are much lower than was previously thought. In fact, molluscs, such as clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels were found to have a large percentage of noncholesterol sterols present that appear to have a positive effect. These sterols inhibit the absorption of cholesterol eaten at the same meal. Cholesterol levels in such crustaceans as crab sand lobsters are similar to that found in the dark meat of chicken.
While the cholesterol in shrimp varies considerably by specie, it generally is 1-1/2 to 2 times higher than in the dark meat of chicken, but far less than in eggs. Because shellfish contain very little saturated fat, they are no longer excluded from typical low cholesterol diets.
Author: By Amadou Jallow