Eating this delicious freshwater eel is incredibly beneficial for health – especially for women. Find out why you should be adding unagi to your diet.
In Japan, unagi is a delicacy served year-round but is especially popular during the summer months because it is believed to help restore your energy and stay cool during the season’s sweltering days.
There are many ways to enjoy the rich taste of this freshwater eel. The most common? Grilled to perfection and slathered in sweet soya sauce before it is placed atop a bowl of steaming white rice.
But beyond folklore and its amazing taste, the protein- and omega-3-rich unagi has proven to be beneficial for health, especially for women.
It can ease menstrual pain
The abundance of omega-3 fatty acids in unagi isn’t just great in terms of protecting our heart and maintaining healthy bones. Many studies have shown that this healthy saturated fat acts as a natural PMS treatment by reducing inflammation, thus relieving the pain from dreaded menstrual cramps.
It protects your skin and reduces wrinkles
Unagi is also rich in vitamin A, the anti-ageing ingredient that is often used in skincare products to battle wrinkles. Plus, you can count on the presence of EPA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) for that soft and supple skin. It not only helps to combat acne with its anti-inflammatory properties, but also protects your skin from harmful UV rays – like an internal sunscreen.
It helps to fight breast cancer
Unagi contains arginine, an amino acid found to inhibit cellular replication of tumours, slow down tumour growth, and enhance immune function. While it doesn’t benefit every type of cancer, recent studies have shown some evidence of arginine preventing the spread of breast cancer – the most common cancer for women in Singapore.
It is good for your brain
While unagi isn’t a ‘state of awareness’ that Ross Geller (from TV show Friends) claims, DHA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) present in it does aid in normal brain function, whether in infants or ageing adults. According to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, continuing studies have also linked eating oily fish (like unagi) to a boost in blood flow to the brain. This means improved memory and learning, and possibly, a reduced risk of dementia.