Every June 28, thousands flock to their favorite 'cevicheria' for a serving —or two— of the beloved, internationally-renowned Peruvian seafood dish on the occasion of National Ceviche Day.
And unlike most foodie self-indulgent practices, eating ceviche
is actually supported by health and nutrition experts: behind the citrus spiciness lies a range of weight-control and anti-heart disease properties.
Lucero Castro, a nutritionist at Lima's upper-class Miraflores district Municipality, highlights the many benefits of raw fish, a great source of protein and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6).
Castro explains the high omega-3 levels found in oily fish
like Eastern Pacific bonito, jack mackerel, Pacific chub mackerel, salmon, Peruvian anchovy, sardine or tuna help control blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and improve heart function.
is also rich in minerals like phosphorus, zinc, selenium, iodine and potassium, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K.
But fish is not the only nutrient-rich ingredient in the dish. Limes —which add the sour element to ceviche
— are high in vitamin C, a natural antioxidant with a key role in collagen synthesis for healthier skin and tissue healing.
Likewise, onions and garlic are natural antibiotics and antiseptics that clean and protect airways, as well as alleviate common cold symptoms.
On the other hand, sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and beta-carotene for a good vision, whereas corn is good for digestion and weight control.
Nevertheless, the expert warns people who have a compromised immune system —like pregnant women, gastritis patients and people allergic to fish— must refrain from eating ceviche