Are kippers good for you? This is a common question among those who are looking for a healthy breakfast option. Kippers are a type of fish that have been popular in the UK for centuries.
They are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. But are they really good for you? Let’s take a closer look.
What are Kippers?
Kippers are a type of fish that has been cured through a process called kippering. The fish most commonly used for kippering is herring, but other fish such as salmon, mackerel, and trout can also be used.
The kippering process involves gutting and splitting the fish, then cold-smoking it over wood chips until it is cooked and has a distinct smoky flavor.
Nutritional Benefits of Kippers
Kippers are a great source of macronutrients that are essential for maintaining a healthy body. Macronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in large amounts to function properly.
Here are some of the macronutrients found in kippers:
- Protein: Kippers are a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. A 3-ounce serving of kippers contains about 20.9 grams of protein.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Kippers are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and heart health. These fatty acids can also help reduce inflammation in the body and improve joint health.
- Fat: Kippers are a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve cholesterol levels.
Kippers are also packed with micronutrients. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that your body needs in smaller amounts.
Unlike macronutrients, micronutrients are only needed in trace amounts. So, while you might not need to consume a lot of them, they are still essential for maintaining a healthy body.
Here are some of the micronutrients found in kippers:
- Vitamin D: Kippers are a great source of vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. A 3-ounce serving of kippers contains about 14% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin D.
- Vitamin B12: Kippers are high in vitamin B12, which is important for brain function and the production of red blood cells. A 3-ounce serving of kippers contains about 341% of the RDI of vitamin B12.
- Phosphorus: Kippers are a good source of phosphorus, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. A 3-ounce serving of kippers contains about 26% of the RDI of phosphorus.
- Sodium: Kippers are high in sodium, which is something to be mindful of if you are following a low-sodium diet. A 3-ounce serving of kippers contains about 41% of the RDI of sodium.
Are Kippers Good for Weight Loss?
If you’re looking to shed some pounds, kippers can be a great addition to your diet. Here are some reasons why:
- Low in Calories: Kippers are low in calories, making them a great choice for weight loss. One fillet of kipper contains only around 150 calories, making it a filling and satisfying meal that won’t break the calorie bank.
- Rich in Protein: Kippers are also rich in protein, which can help you feel full for longer and prevent overeating. Protein also helps to maintain muscle mass, which is important for weight loss.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Kippers are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to aid in weight loss. Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost metabolism.
- Low in Carbs: Kippers are low in carbs, which makes them a great option for those following a low-carb diet. Low-carb diets have been shown to be effective for weight loss, and kippers can be a tasty addition to your meal plan.
- High in Nutrients: Kippers are also high in vitamins and minerals, which are important for overall health. They are particularly high in vitamin B12, which is important for energy production and brain function.
So, if you’re looking for tasty and nutritious food that can help you achieve your weight loss goals, kippers are definitely worth considering. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes and pair them with plenty of vegetables for a well-rounded meal.
Are There Any Risks to Eating Kippers?
As a fish, kippers may contain varying amounts of mercury, a toxic substance that poses risks to the nervous system, particularly in developing fetuses and young children.
Nonetheless, the levels of mercury in kippers are generally low, and the advantages of consuming them outweigh the potential dangers.
Kippers are often salted during the smoking process, which can contribute to their high sodium content. A diet high in sodium can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is important to be mindful of your sodium intake and choose low-sodium options when possible. When purchasing kippers, look for varieties that are labeled as low-sodium or unsalted.
Some kippers may contain preservatives to help them last longer on store shelves. These preservatives can include nitrates and nitrites, which have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers when consumed in large amounts.
To minimize your exposure to preservatives, look for kippers that are labeled as preservative-free or all-natural. You can also try making your own kippers at home using fresh herring and a smoker.
How to Enjoy Kippers
Kippers are a traditional breakfast food in the UK, often served with eggs and toast. They can also be enjoyed as a snack or added to salads or pasta dishes. Here are some ideas for how to enjoy kippers:
- Serve with scrambled eggs and toast for a hearty breakfast.
- Add to a salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a lemon vinaigrette.
- Make a kipper pâté by blending kippers with cream cheese, lemon juice, and herbs.
- Use kippers as a topping for pizza, along with red onions and capers.
- Serve on a bagel with cream cheese and sliced red onion.
How to Cook Kippers
Whether you prefer grilling, poaching, or trying out new recipes, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some tips on how to cook kippers:
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- Brush the kippers with lemon juice and butter.
- Place the kippers on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are heated through and lightly browned.
- Serve with a side salad or guac and whole grain tortilla chips for a tasty and healthy meal.
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the kippers.
- Poach the kippers for 5-7 minutes until they are cooked through.
- Serve with crunchy celery sticks or cracker stackers for a satisfying snack.