Mackerel is a common fish found in most oceans. In Europe, it is mainly caught from March to May but you can buy it tinned, frozen or fresh throughout the year in most fishmongers’ shops. Mackerel is rich in essential minerals such as phosphor, magnesium, iron, and also vitamin D : it is a great ally to keep your bones healthy. As sardines, herring and salmon, this delicious fish is a fatty fish, thus ranking among the foods richest in omega-3 fatty acids (1). These acids are essential to the cognitive health, the body itself does not produce enough to answer to the essential needs of a constantly stimulated brain. It is therefore important to add a regular source of omega-3 to your diet, once or twice a week; fatty fish such as mackerel might be a good option !

Nutritional information

Docosahexaenoic acid(or DHA) represents almost all the omega-3 (97%) contained in mackerel (2). his acid, the main element of neuronal membranes and also of the retinal cells, develops cognitive functions such as memory. Indeed it is essential to neurotransmission and to the creation of new neurons (3). It is useful throughout life ! Pregnant women and feeding mothers are strongly encouraged to increase their intakes of DHA type omega-3 in their diet to fortify the cognitive development of their baby (4). You can also eat fish to counter depression : omega-3 improve mental condition in its entirety, thus allowing to fight against pathological conditions such as stress, anxiety or depression (5). Later in life, DHA will also help protect your brain against senile dementia (6) or Alzheimer’s disease (7)(8).

Omega-3 still have more miraculous properties! As DHA represents almost half of the retinal cells, you can also improve your vision with a regular consumption of mackerel. It has indeed been proven that the world populations eating traditionally more fish see their risk of cardiovascular diseases reduced by 15% (9).

How to cook mackerels ?

Do not hesitate to make room for mackerel in your diet!  It is cooked quickly and easily, either raw, steamed, in foil, marinated or smoked. Do not forget that tinned mackerel also keeps all its properties and that it is a good alternative to fresh fish! In summer, enjoy mackerels marinated in lemon and garlic then grilled on the barbecue or the plancha. You can give an original touch to your meal by replacing chicken by mackerel in some recipes : why not try mackerel  curry? You can also stuff your potatoes with an onion and chives white sauce to serve with marine flavoured steamed mackerel. The taste of smoked mackerel also goes well with most fruits and vegetables and it is a real delight served as apéritif nibbles. Enjoy it! 


Sources: Passeportsanté; consoglobe; todaysdietetician.
References : (1) Weaver KL, Ivester P, Chilton JA, et al. The content of favorable and unfavorable polyunsaturated fatty acids found in commonly eaten fish. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108(7):1178-1185. (2) Hibbeln JR, Nieminen LRG, Blasbalg TL, Riggs JA, Lands WEM. Healthy intakes of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids: Estimations considering worldwide diversity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(6):S1483-S1493. (3) Hibbeln JR, Ferguson TA, Blasbalg TL. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies in neurodevelopment, aggression and autonomic dysregulation: Opportunities for intervention. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2006;18(2):107-118. (4) Hibbeln JR, Davis JM, Steer C, et al. Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood (ALSPAC study): An observational cohort study. Lancet. 2007;369(95610:578-585. (5) Report of the British Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum. The Links Between Diet and Behavior: The Influence of Nutrition on Mental Health. London: British Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum; 2008. (6) Schaefer EJ, Bongard V, Beiser AS, et al. Plasma phosphatidylcholine docosahexaenoic acid content and risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease: The Framingham Heart Study. Arch Neurol. 2006;63(11):1545-1550. (7) Welland D. The latest research finds vegetables, tea, fish help fend off Alzheimer’s. Environmental Nutrition. 2007;30(9):1,6. (8) Freund-Levi Y, Eriksdotter-Jönhagen M, Cederholm T, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: OmegaAD study: A randomized double-blind trial. Arch Neurol. 2006;63(10):1402-1408. (9) He K, Song Y, Daviglus ML, et al. Accumulated evidence on fish consumption and coronary heart disease mortality: A meta-analysis of cohort studies. Circulation. 2004;109(22):2705-2711.

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