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Carp and Health

Carp and Health

Illustrative photo (Rybarstvi Hluboka - Carp and Health)

Common carp is undoubtedly the most popular freshwater fish in our diet. It is a traditional dish on Christmas Eve in the Czech Republic, but also in other Central European countries (Slovakia, Austria). According to surveys, 2/3 of Czech households eat a carp and some other fish on the Christmas Eve. Even it does not look so, every Czech consumes on average only 1 kg of freshwater fish per year. And that is definitely insufficient. The deep-rooted dietary habits play here its role. Our goal is to increase the consumption of fish throughout the whole year, or more precisely, eliminate the seasonal consumption of fish meat.

How has a carp appeared here

We were looking for the answer for several decades. We supposed that the carp had been carried over to Cetral Europe from ancient China. During 1960‘s a new hypothesis appeared in Czechoslovakia. It states, that in the first phase, the carp reached some western tributaries of the Rhine sometimes between 7th and 11th century. Then, in the second phase (12th - 14th century), the carp reached the Lower Rhine Basin. In the final phase, probably in the half of 14th century, the carp continued towards England, south Scandinavia, and further towards northern parts of Eastern Europe. In this third phase, purposeful carp farming started to develope.

Why carp?

Health benefits of eating carp meat are indisputable. The fat content in carp muscle tissue is lower than in lean beef meat. That is really a convincing argument, especially for people requiring full-pledged, but at the same time, light diet - children, reconvalescents, sick persons, sportsmen, and people trying to lose weight. Carp is a great source of many nutritionally important substances, particularly lean proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. These unsaturated acids affect positively cardiac functions and contribute to an increase in heart attack prevention. Omega-3 acids are present in fats of many animals, but fish are able to provide in an ideal form.

Another asset of a carp is its easy digestibility, caused by favourable structure of muscle fibers and negligible amount of indigestible fibrous tissue. As a consequence, carp meat leaves our stomach only two or three hours after the intake. Carp, and all fish in general, are significant, but not duly appreciated constituents of our diet.

A carp production cycle takes three or four years. In the three-year cycle carps reach weight of about 2 kg, in the four-year cycle more than 2,5 kg.