Sometimes, old wives’ tales told by the elderly are not merely just stories. Some really do work and that’s because they often contain more than a grain of truth.
Take the one about “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” for example. Well, everyone knows that this fresh fruit is packed with Vitamin C, which is great at preventing all kinds of illnesses. So, snacking on an apple on a regular basis does make sense.
Then there’s the one that every child has heard of – “Eat up your fish, it’s brain food.”
Well, as it turns out, researches have indicated that a fish diet does indeed make a huge difference in your health and the beneficiaries aren’t just limited to kids but also people who have just had heart surgery too!
However, it is not just any fish either. The one that works best is the Channa Striatus or, more commonly known in Asia as the Haruan fish.
It has long been “known”, although without any actual evidence, that patients who eat Haruan after surgery tend to heal better and faster. To find out why, a scientific study on wound healing properties of the Haruan fish after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery was undertaken by by Dr Ahmad Faroukh Musa, a cardiothoracic surgeon and senior lecturer at Monash University Malaysia’s Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences
The study, which included a randomised controlled trial, looked at whether patients who were given Haruan fish extract in capsule form healed better and faster, than those who received a placebo and the results were stunning.
It was discovered that the haruan fish extract accelerated the speed with which wounds healed significantly. What’s more, the extract has a marked anti-nociceptive effect.
This means, it helps to block out pain. Hence, the patient is more comfortable and less stressed, which helps them to recover faster.
Haruan, also known as the snakehead fish, is a freshwater carnivore. This means that it eats other smaller fishes and even frogs. Since it is a freshwater fish, you can find it in lakes, small rivers, streams and creeks.
It can also be farmed, although it isn’t a popular choice among fish farmers in Malaysia as compared to Keli or Tilapia.
Haruan extract has several properties that help wounds heal. The fish contains all the essential amino acids needed including glycine. It also has high-levels of arachidonic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids that create an antiinflammatory effect and promote the synthesis of prostaglandins, which helps the body to deal with tissue damage or infection.
It also promotes remodeling of collagen by the synthesis of inter and intramolecular protein cross-linking. This produces a marked increase in the tensile strength that accentuates wound healing.
“Haruan extract may have applications beyond surgical use. In fact, theoretically, it could help any skin wound to heal,” said Dr. Musa.
You know the saying, ‘you are what you eat’? Well, haruan is not only great in wound healing but it is tasty too.
According to Dr. Musa, the best way to cook it, and reap its nutritional benefits, is to prepare it as a hot soup or as a porridge dish. it is occasionally fried, but soup is the most common.
However, its nutraceutical potential is likely to far outweigh any culinary charms.
“While faster recovery from surgical procedures is good for patients, the extract also offers other advantages in terms of resources and overall economic benefits. The reduction in the percentage of wound infections also results in reduced hospital costs,” Dr. Musa concludes.