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Friday, May 7, 2010

Eating fish scales to great health?

Fish scales are said to be rich in calcium, phosphorus, collagen and a host of other nutrients which help prevent osteoporosis. Many elders have since rushed to the fishery cold storage in town to get the scales for making "fish scale jelly." Fish scales are normally discarded by fishmongers, but residents in this tiny fishing village has been treating the fishy scrap as a valuable commodity that can be made into some kind of tasty health dessert.


Fish scales were said to contain a lot of minerals needed by our body, including calcium that strengthens our bones. Many old people are keen to give it a try knowing this. The bigger fish scales are better, as small fish scales are not suitable for food therapy. Big fish are hard to come by nowadays. It is said that fish scales had a foul-smelling fishy stench, and had to be thoroughly washed to remove the smell before cooking. They are then put into a pot, and cooked with some pandanus leaves and rock sugar for one to three hours until the scales melt into a thick gel. After cooling, the thick fish-scale mix will gelatinise. It can then be put in a refrigerator to make a tasty dessert.

Fish scales have the effect of helping our body replenish calcium. As a result, the effects will be shown at the painful parts of the body. However, to avoid intensified pain, the jelly should be taken only once a week. Nothing will happen if your body does not have any problem though. Healthy people too could take "fish scale jelly" as a healthy dessert. Just add in some medlars and red dates to enhance the taste and you are good to go.

How do you prepare the fish scales? Its quite easy. First, you clean the fish scales with tap water and drip to dry. Then put into a pot, add in some pandanus leaves to remove the fishy stench. The ratio of water to fish scales should be three to one. Cook the mix for several hours until the fish scales turn white and curly, and the mix becomes a thick starchy soup. Filter the liquid into a container and let it cool down and gelatinise. Then put it in a fridge. Fish scales themselves are odourless, and the chewy fish scale jelly tastes just like any jelly after pandan leaves and rock sugar have been added.

Some nutritionist said fish scales consist of three different layers. The first layer is totally useless while nutrients are found mainly on the second layer. As a result, the nutrients must be extracted first. Did you know that the seemingly useless fish scales are actually a special kind of healthy food. Nutritional studies show that fish scales are rich in various kinds of unsaturated fatty acids which could reduce cholesterol deposits on blood vessel wall while promoting blood circulation, preventing hypertension and heart diseases.

Fish scales are also rich in trace minerals as well as proteins, fats and an array of vitamins, in particular calcium and phosphorus which help prevent rickets in children and osteoporosis or bone fracture in older people. That's why it is hard to remove fish scales that stick onto our body mainly because of collagen found in it. Well, I will sure to list it in my parent's 50th birthday party ideas.



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