The Value of "Poor Fish"

Fish, a food source rich in proteins with high biological value, specific vitamins, and minerals, is categorized into various classifications. Among these classifications is a subset known as "poor fish," a term that goes beyond mere commercial value to encompass a broader meaning.

Defining "Poor Fish"

"Poor fish" is a colloquial term that refers to inexpensive fishery products. However, this term holds a more profound significance than just the economic aspect. To be classified as "poor fish," these products must possess certain essential characteristics, including:

  1. Eco-sustainability: The species involved have a life cycle that allows for massive harvesting by humans. The fishing techniques used have a low environmental impact, characterized by low technological level, selective fishing tools, and minimal fuel consumption.

  2. High nutritional value: Poor fish are rich in essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

  3. Low level of pollution/contamination: These fish species have minimal exposure to pollutants or contaminants, making them safer for consumption.

Nutritional Properties of Poor Fish

Despite being categorized as "poor," these fish are nutritionally rich. They contain high levels of biologically active omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin D, and iodine. These nutrients are not found in comparable levels in other meat sources.

Poor fish are low in energy, mainly due to their modest lipid concentration. The calories they provide come primarily from proteins, followed by variable but not excessive concentrations of lipids, and possibly traces of simple carbohydrates. These fish are also rich in water-soluble vitamins of group B, especially niacin, pyridoxine, and cobalamin. They also contain excellent levels of the fat-soluble vitamin calciferol, while the presence of alpha-tocopherol or tocotrienol is relevant but not significant.

Poor Fish in the Diet

Poor fish, due to their high nutritional value and low-calorie count, are suitable for most diets, including weight loss diets. They are also ideal for individuals with increased needs for essential amino acids, such as athletes or malnourished individuals.

The presence of EPA and DHA, semi-essential but biologically active omega-3s, in poor fish makes them beneficial for various health aspects. These include the constitution of cell membranes, the health of the nervous system and eyes, the prevention and treatment of some metabolic pathologies, maintenance of cognitive functions in old age, and the reduction of some symptoms of neurosis.

Pollution Concerns

Despite their many benefits, poor fish, like other fishery products, are susceptible to the accumulation of certain pollutants/contaminants. These include heavy metals like methylmercury and lead, and residues of plastic catabolism such as dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls. The accumulation of these unwanted substances primarily occurs in adipose tissue and organs and is closely related to the fish's age, size, and position in the food chain.

Conclusion

"Poor fish," despite their name, are a treasure trove of essential nutrients. Their high nutritional value, coupled with their eco-sustainability and low pollution levels, makes them an excellent addition to most diets. However, like all food sources, they should be consumed in moderation, considering the potential risks associated with pollutants and contaminants.

Article Disclaimer