There are many health benefits from eating fish twice a week, particularly lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. While pan frying is the most popular method of cooking fish, many people would grill or bake it to avoid adding extra fat.
Now Spanish researchers that pan frying lean fish such as cod in polyunsaturated oil makes the omega-3 fatty acids more easily consumed, so that more of them are eaten in the same serve of fish.
The results of the study by researchers from University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Food Science published by the Institute of Food Technologists.
Deep Frying Fish Reduces Omega-3 Effectiveness
Led by Dr. Diana Ansorena, the Spanish researchers compared two methods of cooking fillets of cod and salmon – deep frying and shallow (pan) frying.
They knew from other research that deep fat frying reduced the availability of omega-3 fatty acids in fish, and changed the fatty acids in a way that reduced their protective role against cardiovascular problems. However, little was known about how pan frying affected the fatty acids.
Pan Fried Cod and Salmon Fillets
The researchers used fillets from freshly caught cod and commercially farmed salmon, cut into identical pieces about 1.5cm (half an inch) thick.
Both the salmon and the cod fillets were divided into three batches. One batch of fillets was analyzed raw, the second was analyzed after pan frying with extra virgin olive oil, and the third one after frying with sunflower oil.
The fillets were fried in a 25 cm (9 inch) diameter frying pan for about four minutes, (two minutes for each side) using 10 mL (two teaspoons) of oil per 100 grams of fish, and fried them at 180 degrees C (360F).
After frying, the fish fillets were drained gently on stainless steel grills and allowed to be air cooled before being analyzed for omega-3 content.
Lean and Fatty Fish Better Fried with Polyunsaturated Oil
After pan frying, the salmon showed slightly higher levels of omega-3 than the raw fillets, regardless of whether sunflower oil or olive oil was used. When cooked in olive oil, however, its overall fat content rose higher than when it was cooked in sunflower oil.
The pan fried cod fillets also showed a higher fat content when cooked in olive oil, and a much greater increase in the availability of the omega-3 fatty acids after frying in either type of oil.
“It is possible to conclude that, regarding the intake of omega-3 fatty acids, pan frying lean fish with sunflower oil may be more beneficial than using olive oil,” Dr. Ansorena said.
However, she explained that using extra virgin olive oil while frying the cod avoided the fish lipids oxidizing, which was a problem with lean fish but not a problem when frying the salmon.
“The type of oil has more influence in the nutritional fish quality for the lean fish compared to that of the fatty fish,” she said.
Either way, it seems that pan frying fish in polyunsaturated oil is a great way to get heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
About Author: Julia Candin is a housewife, she homeschooling her kids and really care about her family health. She go in for sport, eat healthy food and try to extend her knowledge in her articles and research papers that she writes as a freelance writer.
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