Why You Should Include Small Dry Fish In Your Diet

When I asked my friends on Facebook to name these little fish in their native language, the answers came pouring. Matemba, Kapenta, Daaga, Arenque, Omena, Yoyo and Kifin Miya appeared below the post. 

Of all the names listed, I will admit that my favorite was “school age boys,” which must be a play on the size of the little fish and the fact that a group of fish is a “school”. Popular in many countries, School Age Boys (SAB) are relatively available and affordable. While they may not be the most popular food on the menu, they are packed with so much nutrition that they really should be listed as a super food.

Why School Age Boys Rock!

High in protein
Gram for gram, small age boys provides more protein than the same amount of beef,chicken or goat meat. Each 100 gram serving contains 59 g protein . The same amount of chicken has 19 g protein while the beef of the same weight has about 23 g protein. It should be noted however, that the average person consumes about 50 grams of small age boys, gleaning almost 30 grams of protein.

Terrific source of calcium and phosphorus

Calcium is abundant in bones and because school age boys are consumed whole, they are a wonderful source of calcium. Each 100g serving contains 170% of the recommended daily amount of calcium. Together with phosphorus, calcium allows for the development of strong bones and teeth. In addition, it is needed for nerve, heart and other body system functions.

Contain Vitamin D
School age boys provide vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Recent studies link inadequate intakes of vitamin D to diseases such as type 1 diabetes and various forms of cancer. While the body is capable of making vitamin D from the sun, people of African descent are unable to absorb much of it due to the presence of melanin (dark pigment) in their skin. For this reason, eating foods high in vitamin D (like school age boys) and taking supplements may be beneficial.
Why You Should Include Small Dry Fish In Your Diet
Doses of B-vitamins
School Age Boys are a great source Niacin, folate , and Cobalamin (B12), all of which are a part of the vitamin B group. These vitamins help in the production of energy, cell and blood formation and are an essential component of any healthy eating plan.

Great source of Iron and Zinc
A 100g serving of school age boys provides 75% of the daily requirement of Zinc and 50% mg of the iron requirement for the day. Both of these nutrients help the body fight infection and zinc provides an extra layer of protection by aiding in the production of healthy skin. It also increases appetite and helps reduce slow growth in children. Iron carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without adequate iron, one is likely to suffer from anemia and experience consistent tiredness.

To Boost Nutritional Content
1) Eat the whole fish to make sure that you get the maximum nutrients possible

2) Serve with vegetables and/or season with lemon juice to add vitamin C which helps your body better absorb the iron

3) Reduce sodium intake by soaking the fish for a few minutes and rinsing them before cooking.

4) While fresh school age boys are not quite as nutrition packed as the dried variety, they do contain very significant amounts of vitamin A. The availability of the Vitamin A is increased when the fish is eaten whole and for best absorption, it is best eaten after being cooked with a little bit of oil.
Beyond Traditional Uses
  • Pack them 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.

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