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We are tempted to call mackerel a superfood because of the many nutrients found in the fish.

The mackerel has a naturally high content of both vitamin B12 and the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B12 is essential for blood production, as well as for the function of the brain and nerves. Intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown by several studies to be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately, in Denmark we generally eat too little fish – especially of the fatty, omega-3-containing kind. Therefore, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration recommends that we, among other things, turn up the intake of mackerel, which is the fish with the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids. Many, however, choose to take fish oil as a supplement, instead of eating more fatty fish. But if you compare all the studies on fish oil and fatty fish, the conclusion is clear: fatty fish are healthier than fish oil supplements.

Why it’s related is not known, but maybe it’s the combination of nutrients that makes a difference.

As with the fish’s omega-3 fatty acids, attempts have also been made to isolate the red colour of the tomato derived from the health-promoting, vitamin A-like substance, lycopene. But again, studies show that the lycopene as a dietary supplement does not benefit much – only when it is obtained from tomatoes, and especially when it is obtained from tomato sauces.

A slice of rye bread with mackerel in tomato sauce is therefore healthier than fish oil and the lycopene in pill form. Not least because such food, in addition to lots of B12, omega-3 and lycopene, contains good quality protein and healthy dietary fiber. One might even be tempted to call it a superfood.