Why you should switch meat for the sardines and ‘boquerones’ loved in Spain – according to a new study

SWAPPING red meat for fish such as sardines or boquerones(anchovies) could save up to 750,000 lives a year worldwide by 2050 and significantly reduce the prevalence of disability as a result of diet-related diseases.

That’s the conclusion of a study published on Wednesday by the journal, BMJ Global Health.

A team of Japanese researchers, led by Kiyoshi Takahashi, has used data projections of both red meat consumption and catches of this type of fish, known as forage fish.


ANCHOVIES(Pixabay image)

There is growing evidence linking the consumption of red and processed meats to increased risks of non-communicable diseases, which accounted for around 70% of all deaths globally in 2019.

Of these, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and bowel cancer accounted for 44% of this figure, with coronary artery disease taking the lion’s share.

The conclusions show that sardines, herrings and anchovies could replace 8% of the world’s red meat, which could provide substantial public health benefits.

Forage fish, which are preyed upon by larger fish, are rich in omega-3 which can stop coronary heart problems developing, as well as being abundant in calcium and vitamin B12.

They also have the lowest carbon footprint of any animal feed source, the researchers note.

Nutritionist, Aitor Sanchez, said the study confirmed something known for a long time time that eating fish is healthier than consuming meat.

“What the survey misses is referring to vegetable protein, which contributes the most to the prevention of the diseases that have been talked,” said Sanchez.

He says that vegetables and legumes should be eaten more, while moderating dairy products and eggs, as well as meat.

“In Spain we have the advantage that culturally these small fish, such as anchovies and sardines, are consumed a lot,” he commented.

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