Why You Should Include Small Dry Fish In Your Diet
Hundreds and Thousands, School Age Boys, Matemba, Daaga, Omena, Kapenta, Yoyo, Kifin Miya! Those are all local names for an African ingredient that you either love or hate. Often referred to as a type of sardine, these small fish make an extremely nutritious, affordable source of relish.
Why small dry fish rock!
High in protein-
Gram for gram, a serving of small dry fish provides more protein than a piece of chicken or other meat of the same weight.
Provide Doses of B-vitamins
Feeling a little tired? You could be lacking some B-vitamins. Add a regular serving of small dry fish which provide generous does of B-vitamins, especially niacin, folate and Cobalamin. These particular B-vitamins are essential in cell and blood formation and help in the production of energy.
Terrific source of calcium and phosphorus – 2 nutrients that are essential for nerve and heart functions as well as the development of strong bones and teeth. Since some Africans are unable to tolerate milk and dairy products, the most common source of calcium, small dry fish can be a good alternative source of this vital nutrient.
Contain Vitamin D
Due to melanin, a pigment found in dark skin, people of African descent are unable to absorb much vitamin D from the sun. Small dry fish are rich in Vitamin D which helps the body absorb dietary calcium and phosphorus
Great source of Iron and Zinc
A 50g serving of small dry fish provides approximately 38% and 25% mg of the zinc and iron daily recommended amounts. Both of these play an essential role in building the immune system but iron is also responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. Zinc helps increase appetite and promotes growth, especially that of children. It is for this reason that some cultures pound and sprinkle small dry fish over a baby’s porridge.
Rev Up the Nutrition
1) Eat the whole fish to make sure that you get the maximum nutrients possible
2) Enhance iron absorption by adding a hearty serving of vitamin C from a veggies and a drizzling the fish with a little lemon or lime juice
3) If fish are dried with salt, reduce sodium intakes by soaking the fish for a few minutes and discarding the water before cooking
4) If using fresh fish , help your body absorb the vitamin A they provide by cooking with in a little oil.
Beyond Traditional Uses
- Pack small dry fish in your lunch bag and enjoy them as a protein filled, low fat snack.
- Sprinkle them over your salad
- Try them as a pizza topping with a variety of bell peppers.
Here’s to your health!
For more recipes and cultural stories, visit: The African Pot Nutrition
(Featured image courtesy of Wiki)