In America, it’s standard to remove fish heads. They can make some people really squeamish! But in other parts of the world, eating fish head is totally normal. It is actually extremely good for you.
Remember, the head is just another part of the body. Eating fish head has these 5 beneficial effects on your body.
1. Contains Healthy Protein
It’s no secret that fish is a great source of protein. However, most people just eat fish fillet. If you keep the head, you’ll have more meat to work with. This instantly equals to more protein.
Compared to other meat sources, fish is healthier. It’s low in saturated fat, so it will not increase your cholesterol. In fact, if you replace red meat with fish, you’ll lower your risk for many chronic diseases.1
2. Rich In Omega-3 Fats
Benefits of eating fish head also include a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Again, this is simply because you are eating more meat. And besides the fish skin, the head is richer in fat than other parts of the fish.
Since your body can’t make omega-3, you’ll need to get it through food. It’s needed for healthy brain function and the prevention of mental decline. According to some studies, it may even manage depression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Omega-3 fats will also keep your heart healthy. It can reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure, two major risk factors for heart disease. The risk for other heart conditions – like stroke and abnormal heart beats – will also decrease.2
3. Richer In Vitamin A
The brain and fat in a fish head are rich in vitamin A. Of course, the whole fish is jam-packed with this nutrient. But if you want even more, chow down on the head.
Vitamin A is important for your immunity. And since it’s a natural antioxidant, it can fight free radicals and oxidative stress. This means that your body will have an easy time fighting disease and sickness.
You also need vitamin A for healthy vision. Eating enough will slow down visual impairment, which often impacts older people. Specifically, it’ll prevent age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of vision loss.3
4. Tastes Delicious
The fat in a fish head is actually delicious. The meat from a fish head is more tender with a delectable fatty texture. Keeping the fish head will also enhance the flavor. Though not popular in North America and much of Europe, the fish head is regularly used in curries in Southeast Asia.
5. Is Cost-Effective And Avoids Waste
Industrial fish processing is wasteful. Apparently, the scraps can contain up to 70 percent of the fish! But if the fish head is eaten, fewer scraps will be tossed out.4
If you toss out the meatier part of the fish, you are not getting the value for your money. On a greater scale, eating fish head benefits the environment. It eliminates the need for extra processing, so there will be less pollution from factories.
If you’re not sure how to cook fish head, search the web. There are many recipes that only use the head. You can even turn it into a nutritious stock for soups and sauces.
|↑1||Protein. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑2||Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑3||Vitamin A. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑4||Olsen, Ragnar L., Jogeir Toppe, and Iddya Karunasagar. “Challenges and realistic opportunities in the use of by-products from processing of fish and shellfish.” Trends in Food Science & Technology 36, no. 2 (2014): 144-151.|