Harvesting wild fish from fresh and marine waters and raising cultured fish in ponds were practices of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and other Mediterranean peoples.
The composition of fish may vary considerably—especially in their fat content—during certain growth periods and annual spawning or migration periods.
Fish are an excellent source of high-quality protein. Mollusks are generally lower in protein compared with finfish and crustaceans because of their high water content. The proteins found in fish are essentially the same as those found in the meat derived from other animals—that is, the sarcoplasmic proteins, the contractile or myofibrillar proteins, and the connective tissue proteins.
The fat in fish is mostly liquid, because it contains a relatively low percentage of saturated fatty acids. Fish belong in a special nutritional class because they contain the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid—which have been shown to protect against several diseases, including heart disease.
Fish provide a number of important vitamins and minerals to the diet. They are a good source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. The mineral content includes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.
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