Ooo.. Chunks of delicious smoked haddock and herring… fat slivers of smoked Salmon.
All rich in Omega3, yes.
But, is the smoked component in these cold water fish, good or bad for me?
Everybody knows that fatty fish from cold waters, are rich in omega3 and good for the heart.. but what if it arrives on your plate, smoked?
Well, studies have actually linked certain cancers, to eating too much smoked meat, particularly that of the stomach and colon. Smoked fish contains elevated levels of nitrates and nitrites, which are byproducts of the smoking process. High levels of these chemicals are associated with an increased risk of developing stomach cancer. Not only that, even heart disease is linked to eating too much smoked meat. The reason being that they contain a high sodium content which can exacerbate hypertension and worsen heart disease (they can sometimes contain up to 50 times more salt than an unsmoked version). Smoked haddock and mackerel etc all contain higher levels of nitrates and nitrites, two types of salts, as a result of being smoked.
An then, another big risks of consuming smoked fish, is food poisoning. Smoked fish are prone to becoming contaminated with bacteria and parasites and people who eat too much smoked fish, such as salmon, run the risk of developing food poisoning. Although the parasites contained in smoked fish rarely cause any serious disease, if you eat contaminated smoked fish you may develop considerable intestinal discomfort.
So the key message here is while you can eat smoked fish, just make sure you’re not having too much.
Also, so long as you are a healthy person who is exercising regularly and always eating healthy ie. a diet that is full of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, and you drink plenty of water per day, then you are fine. Everything in moderation.. life is meant to be enjoyed, and enjoyed to the fullest.. even smoked fish!