The Stock Fish Debate

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The stockfish

In spite of a recent research finding that consumption of stock fish is responsible for lowering sperm count in most men, health experts contend that the food item has a lot of nutritional values

By Chinwe Okafor  |  Jul. 21, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

ANY mention of cod fish, popularly known as stock fish in Nigeria, readily evokes nostalgic feelings among its consumers. Stock fish has become a scarce commodity which most of its consumers can no longer afford to buy because of its skyward price. In spite of its soaring price, stock fish is one of the exotic food items commonly sold in major markets across the country. The Igbos, who consume it more than any other ethnic group in the country, regard it as a delicacy.

Stock fish, which is the main ingredient in Igbo snack called Ugba na Okporoko or Ukazi amongst the Ohafia people in Abia State, is used in the preparation of  soups for grain staples such as fufu and garri. Most widely used in soups, cod fish has been found to have many nutritional values.

However, a recent research finding has revealed that consumption of stock fish reduces sperm count and causes infertility in men. The study attributed many cases of men’s infertility to regular intake of stockfish. But notwithstanding the frightening research finding, consumers still believe rightly or wrongly, that stockfish has a lot of nutritional benefits. It is said to be rich in protein. The fish called okporoko by the Igbos and panla by the Yorubas, is not just a rich proteinous food, it comes without the enormous amount of calories and fat in other meats.

It is naturally high in numerous vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B-6, B-12, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium and selenium which assist all the body functions, promote growth and prevent diseases. Health experts have also given reasons why the fish should not be neglected in the daily diet. Arinze Ijeoma, a doctor in Anambra State, said that eating stock fish helps to provide a healthy alternative to salted fish.

He said that in order to keep cod fish low in calories and fat, it should either be grilled, poached or baked rather than frying. According to him, cod fish protects the body from colon cancer and other forms of cancer and its oil supplementation provides a three-pronged attack on cancer. Ijeoma added that the omega-3 fatty acids in the fish also have anti-inflammatory qualities that can improve cognitive functions such as memory and concentration.

Studies have also proved the fact that stock fish four or five times a week in combination with a low-calorie diet, may help one to lose or gain weight while helping to limit the calorie intake for better weight management.

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