Oily Fish and Heart Health

When we think of foods to aid heart health, we usually discount any foods with “oily” in the name. After all, oil and fat are synonymous to cholesterol for many of us. While only 25 percent of all cholesterol comes from food, the things we eat impact our bodies and heart. So, it’s easy to think that “oily fish” would be food to limit in your diet carefully. However, oily fish is an excellent source of omega-3.

Omega-3 — a fatty acid — aids blood pressure, lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol. As our bodies cannot create omega-3, we need to get it from our diet, be it in the form of a supplement or food. Health organizations frequently recommend 250-500 mg of omega-3 per day. The fatty acid can come from many sources but — looking at this list — you’ll see that all types of seafood are fantastic sources. For many, one serving alone can get you all the omega-3 your body needs. But, if you don’t like seafood, other foods do contain healthy fatty acids.

A problem with getting people interested in oily fish is the name. It might make you think of little but mackerel, anchovies and sardines, all of which are divisive options wherein people love them or hate them. It is true that they are fatty fish that are healthy for you. However, there are so many more varieties of oily fish.  Salmon, trout and tuna are also great options that have more fans overall. Shrimp may also be a good option. However, doctors are split on healthfulness the shellfish. Therefore, it’s best to speak to a health professional who knows your medical history before eating shrimp.

The American Heart Association suggests eating fish twice a week. But, they advise pregnant women and children to avoid all fish that may be high in mercury. For the majority of older people, both men and women, the benefits of fish far outweigh the risks associated with mercury. However, this is a topic to discuss with your primary caregiver. A registered dietician can also work with you to create a perfect plan for your needs!

It’s also important to note that the way fatty fish is prepared matters a great meal. Deep frying or slathering on thick calorific mayo can make a healthy base turn into something you should not be eating. However, steamed, baked, broiled and grilled fish are always a great go-to meal!

With all this in mind, it might be time to head to your supermarket to pick up fish. Be careful of fish you or a friend reeled in on a fishing trip, find out about local water quality before eating it!

May 13, 2019

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