As most fish is made up of 15-20% protein, it`s a great source of this nutrient, and one portion of fish provides you with one third to half of your daily protein requirement. Essential for the growth and maintenance of muscles and body tissue, proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids, eight of which must be present in your diet. They are essential because your body can`t manufacture them by itself – they have to come from your diet.
Protein can be derived from plant and animal sources. However, unlike animal proteins, plant proteins may not contain all the essential amino acids in the necessary quantities.
Vitamins in fish
Vitamins are essential nutrients needed in small amounts and their job is to assist the body`s metabolism, growth and physical wellbeing. Most vitamins are not produced by the body and needs to be ingested through food.
Oily fish is a better source of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and E) than white fish or red meat. In fact, oily fish is the best food source of unfortified vitamin D. Essential for bone health and proper immune function, vitamin D isn`t found in many foods and tends to be a nutrient that vulnerable groups (such as teenage girls and the elderly) go short of. Although it can be made in the body through getting sufficient sunlight on the skin, many people still don`t take in enough vitamin D.
Fish is also a great source of the B-vitamin group, which is responsible for converting food to energy in the cells of your body. These vitamins also help with the proper functioning of nerve tissue.
Minerals in fish
Most of the minerals we need to function healthily come from plants that absorb minerals from the soil. Other sources include minerals from animals and water. Fish is brimful of macro-minerals, including calcium, potassium and magnesium, and also contains trace elements such as iron, iodine, copper and zinc.
Iron: Helps to prevent anemia. Women with heavy menstrual periods and those who don`t eat red meat sometimes have an iron deficiency, especially if they don`t make an effort to include.