Health benefits of silver fish

What you need to know:

  • For most people, silver fish (mukene) is fed to animals such as pigs and dogs. However, because its many health benefits, it is now consumed by many families. Learn how it is good for you as well.

When she goes to the market for her weekly shopping, Shiba Nassuna, a mother of two, says she never forgets to buy silver fish. And much as her husband does not like it, she says it is important for her two daughters.
“Because they are children, my daughters play a lot during the holidays and this makes them vulnerable to different body accidents including fracturing their bones. So, to make sure their bones are strong, I buy silver fish and incorporate it in their diet,” Nassuna says.
She adds that the recommendation to feed her children on silver fish was given by her doctor when she was expecting her first born four years ago.

Building muscles
Cathy Nannozi, a nutritionist at Cathy’s Wellness Centre in Nsambya says silver fish is not only important in building body muscles but it is equally paramount for development in children. “Since it is eaten with its bones which contain calcium, it is a good source of calcium,” Nannozi explains, adding that it also helps in maintaining healthy and strong bones especially for those with constant bone and back pain.
Nannozi adds that since pregnant women need extra calcium, this can easily be obtained from silver fish. She recommends eating silver fish especially in the first and second trimester when the baby’s bones are developing.

Boosting immunity
Dr Edwin Agaba says unlike tilapia and Nile perch, silver fish is packed with amino acids that help in boosting body immunity. It’s vitamin A and E contents, he adds maintain good vision especially for the elderly and children with eye problems. It also helps in the maintenance of a smooth skin and healthy eye tissue.
“Much as it has a bad scent that most people do not like, it is a source of omega-3 fatty acids that help to keep your heart functioning well. These acids also burn excess unwanted fat around your heart and within the blood vessels,” Dr Agaba says.

Memory boost
For children, Dr Agaba recommends silver fish as a food for boosting memory to help them perform well in class. He says the tiny fish contain phosphorous that promotes development of the brain.
While it helps accident victims in the quick recovery of their torn body tissues such as muscles, it is also healthy in preventing hypertension. Its unsaturated fat component, Dr Agaba says does not clog or stick in blood vessels and allows for easy flow of blood through the veins but that it is also easily digestible compared to beef or any other animal fat.

How to cook
To cook silver fish, try mixing it with other sources such as egg plant and even some soups. Alternatively, you can make powder that can easily be added to different foods especially for children.


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