Impact of processing on nutritional quality of marine food items

Forum Nutr. 2003;56:337-40.


During the last two decades it has been established that Greenland Eskimos living on their traditional diet, have a lower incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) than when living in Denmark on a western diet. These findings have been attributed to their diet, particularly the high amounts n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Eskimo diet consists mainly of meat and blubber of seal and whale and relatively small amounts of fish. Another aspect of the Eskimo diet, still not fully explored, is that the Eskimos consume the bulk of their food raw or dried, seldom boiled or exposed to excessive heat. The main task of modern processes is to make edible and stable products. Removal of molecules that cause off-flavours or taste to improve sensory attributes may, for instance, destroy potent antioxidants. Modern meal preparing techniques may also lower the content of biologically active components. The objective of our experiments has been, by mimicking in part the traditional Eskimo diet, to explore the beneficial effects of raw food items on parameters related to development of CHD. Reduced tendency of developing arteriosclerosis has been related to the lower reactivity of platelets and less production of proinflammatory products, e.g. cytokines, prostaglandins and leukotrienes. In our study, healthy volunteers ingested raw or heat processed marine materials (smoked versus heat processed salmon muscle, cold pressed versus refined marine oils).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inuits*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Seafood / standards*


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated