Heart-Healthy Fish Choices
We've all heard the recommendations from health experts to eat more fish. But why is important and what kind should we be adding to our diets?
Certain types of fish contain important omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA, which have been found to be helpful in preventing cardiovascular related disease and related deaths.
DHA and EPA are thought to play a role in reducing inflammation in the body and positively impact other risk factors such as blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by the body so it is important to get them through different foods. Experts recommend eating approximately two six-ounce servings of fish a week or 500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids a day. However, with respect to their cardiovascular benefits, not all fish are created equal.
Here are five fish that are rich in omega-3s:
Many different types of salmon are sold in the U.S. and they different in the amount of omega-3s they provide. The range is approximately 700-1800 milligrams per three-ounce serving. Wild King Salmon ranks highest on the spectrum but if fresh salmon is hard to attain, canned salmon is a good choice as well.
Although not a staple in most people’s diet, herring are low in mercury and a one- ounce serving has over 3,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
A three-ounce serving of trout is only about 100 calories but also provides almost 700 milligrams of omega-3s.
A favorite among sushi lovers, three ounces of bluefin tuna provides over 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. And if tuna is a regular lunch choice for you, pick chunk light tuna over albacore to reduce the level of mercury you're consuming while still getting almost 500 milligrams of omega-3s.
Anchovies are low in mercury, low in calories and inexpensive. One two-ounce serving contains only 60 calories and approximately 1.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, more than twice the daily recommendation.
Remember to try and choose wild versions or canned versions when possible to avoid unhealthy pesticides and unsafe levels of mercury.
Also, make sure to prepare fish in a heart-healthy way, such as broiling or baking. Deep frying fish negates any of its cardiovascular benefits. And of course, if you are pregnant review the list of fish to avoid and limit during pregnancy.