In a recent post, I recommended fish as a heart-healthy substitute for beef and pork. Fish is a great source of protein that is low in saturated fat but it is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a diet higher in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, including the inflammation that is associated with heart disease. Omega-3s have also been shown to make LDL, the “bad” cholesterol”, more light and fluffy. These lighter LDL are less likely to build up as the plaque that leads to heart disease.
Because of it’s health benefits, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings (3.5 ounces each) of fish each week. (Fried fish doesn’t count. Sorry, Long John Silvers.) Some fish high in omega-3s are salmon, tuna, lake trout, and herring.
Admittedly, fish is very divisive. People either love it or hate it. If you are in the hate it category, here are some tips for eating fish:
-Try a different fish. Each fish has a slightly different flavor and texture. Just because you didn’t like one, you may really like another.
-Fresh fish will not have the odor that frozen fish often has. Often, the odor turns people off before they taste it.
-Try a new sauce or seasoning. Spices and acid (lemon) can brighten the flavor of fish.
If you are worried about mercury, you can reduce your exposure by eating a variety of fish and avoiding the fish with the highest levels of mercury, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. Pregnant women and children should avoid high mercury fish and consume no more than 12 ounces of low mercury fish each week. In general, however, for most middle-aged adults, the benefits of eating fish well outweigh the risks.
Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!