In The Netherlands most people love it: herring. Herrings are small, oily fish and a member of the Pelagic species. Like their relatives mackerel, pilchards, sardines and sprats, they're known as fatty or oily fish.

The level of omega-3 fats in herring is very impressive, up to twenty percent of their weight are fats of this healthiest kind, making them a wonderful source of polyunsaturated and other long-chain essential fatty acids. These have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, are totally essential for brain and nervous-system development in babies and can dramatically re duce the risks of strokes and heart disease.

Around sixteen percent of their weight is protein, they're rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, and they're a good source of water-soluble B vitamins. Add to all this a good spread of minerals and you can understand why herrings are such an important food.

It's a real tragedy that these cheap, delicious and easy-to-cook fish seem not to appeal to today's shoppers, especially when you compare their nutritional benefits with ready meals, takeaways and the ever-growing junk food marker. I recommend eating fish (particularly fatty fish like herring) at least two times a week.

Like all the oily fish, herrings must be eaten very fresh, as they are extremely perishable. Turning herring into kippers by smoking them stops the fat becoming rancid, gives them a much longer shelf life and a wonderful flavour. Choose undyed kippers and you will avoid any toxic chemicals.


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