Our favourite Friday night treat has been a British institution since the Victorian times, when trains meant fresh fish could now be ferried around the country.

But with all the bad press about carbs these days, it’s hard not to feel guilty when you’re guzzling down a plate of chunky chips smothered in salt and fish fried in crispy batter.

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But there’s a very good reason there are still so many chippies in Britain – fish and chips is officially the healthiest of all the takeaways, according to the British National Federation of Fish Fryers. And here’s why…

1. Fish really is brain food

A medium serving of cod or haddock has 838 calories and 9.42 grams of fat, which is less than any other fast food, according to Gregg Howard, president of the federation.

“As part of a balanced diet, it is a highly nutritious meal,” he said. A portion provides essential vitamins C, B6 and B12, omega-3 fatty acid, some iron, zinc and calcium as well as iodine.

2. Thick and thin

Those French fries are only skinny in appearance – when it comes to healthy chips, the fatter the better, because bigger chips absorb less fat. Potatoes are also a good source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C.

In 2010, Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, ate nothing but 20 potatoes a day for two months to show they’re not bad for you. He lost 18 pounds and his cholesterol level dropped.

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3. Veg ap-pea-l

It’s a very personal choice – salt and vinegar or mushy peas, both or neither? But plumping for peas will boost your health. They’re low in fat, have no added sugar, and, best of all, a portion counts as one of your five a day.

4. Warm glow

You can’t get more British than joining the end of the queue for the chippy on any given night. That feeling of sole-idarity is priceless – we love our chippy, they make a fab dinner and we can’t wait for that warm feeling we get after we’ve gobbled it all up.

Surely the wellbeing benefits alone are worth that hard-earned fiver.

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