Fish, like salmon, Tuna and trout have been present on the plates of health conscious consumers for the past few years. It is easy to understand why. Fish tops the list of heart-healthy foods, according to Susan Roberts, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston. While some nuts and green vegetables have properties that protect the heart, Roberts said they can not be compared to fish when it comes to heart health.
You can enjoy the benefits of fish in many ways - but there can be a trap. Not all fish have the best properties for heart health, and some may even contain contaminants that could harm your health. Keeping up with the truths, myths and trends of fish, can help you keep your heart in top condition. Capture the real scoop on the protective properties of the heart that fish has.
In general, cold water fish contain the healthiest oils for the heart than those of warm water. Salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, Atlantic halibut and sardines are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Elisa Zied, RD, author of "Nutrition at Your Fingertips"
How fish benefits your heart
Unlike meat, fish is low in saturated fat that clog the arteries. In addition, potassium, magnesium and niacin in fish help lower blood pressure and increase the level of good cholesterol, according to nutritionist Elisa Zied, a former spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of the book "Nutrition at Your Fingertips". The nutrition at your fingertips) ".
However, the real key to the properties that increase well-being is found in omega-3 fatty acids. These fish oils help the heart in many ways: they protect the arteries from damage, by preventing the accumulation of platelets, and they also increase good cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and prevent cardiac arrhythmias that they can lead to sudden death. In a study of more than 3,000 people published in the May 2007 issue of "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," the researchers found that those who consumed about 2.5 servings of fish per week had a 29% risk. less of abnormal and deadly heartbeats than people who ate less fish.
Due to the evidence of fish's protective properties of the heart, the American Heart Association recommends eating it twice a week.
The best fish
Not all fish are loaded with oils good for your heart.Some lack enough omega-3.
"In general, cold water fish contain the heart's healthiest oils than those of warm water," said Zied. "Salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, Atlantic halibut and sardines they are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. " Catfish, pike, snapper, trout and other warm water fish are not as good for the heart, because they have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Ocean fish also tend to be better than lake fish, which are more likely to contain environmental contaminants.
Since children and unborn babies are especially vulnerable to mercury, the Food and Drug Administration suggests that children under 12 and pregnant women avoid eating fish with the potential for high levels of mercury - the king mackerel, tilefish, shark and swordfish - and eat no more than 12 oz. per week of low-mercury fish, such as salmon and light canned tuna.
It's a myth that all shellfish are bad for the heart. "For years, it was thought that seafood such as lobster and crab had high levels of cholesterol that could endanger the heart, but now we know that they do not contain more cholesterol than chicken or lean meat, "said Patricia Bannan, RD, Los Angeles nutritionist and author of the book" Eat Right When Time Is Tight. "
Shrimp, however, mostly contain the fat that clogs the arteries. "A serving of shrimp is about three times the amount of a serving of lean meat," Bannan said. If you already have high cholesterol, you may want to get away from the shrimp, and eat crabs with lower cholesterol, lobster, clams and oysters instead. Crabs, lobsters and clams are also rich in zinc, a nutrient necessary for good health in general.
Wild fish versus farm fish
As the demand for heart-healthy fish has increased, waters in some parts of the world have been overexploited. The solution has been to raise the fish on the farms.
According to the World Health Organization, one third of the world's fish supply comes from fish farms. This trend has reduced the price of fish, but it is not good when it comes to your health.
Farmed fish are raised in pens filled with water, where they are less active and eat mass-produced food. Wild fish, on the other hand, are much more active as they search for prey, and prey is more nutritious than the food that farmed fish eat. "Wild fish tend to be thinner and have more oils Omega-3, "Bannan said. They can also be safer. A report of the Environmental Working Group of 2003 stated that farmed salmon contains 5 to 10 times the amount of PCB environmental toxic chemicals that wild salmon.
So if all you get is fish hatchery, which should be listed on the label in grocery stores, should you avoid eating fish in general? Most experts say no. "The benefits of eating fish outweigh the potential risks," Zied said. To reduce possible exposure to contaminants, however, the American Heart Association suggests removing skin and oil from the skin before cooking.
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Tips for Harnessing the Benefits of Fish
Using incorrect cooking techniques or ingredients could ruin the heart-healthy benefits of fish. "If you fry the fish in butter, You may also be eating a fatty steak, both of which are bad for the heart, "said Susan Roberts, Ph.D., a nutritionist at Tufts University. Use these cooking tips to preserve the protective properties of the heart:
Use olive oil instead of butter. Brush the fish with a small amount of olive oil before grilling it. Bannan also suggests marinating the fish for 20 to 30 minutes in olive oil, chopped tomatoes and seasonings.
Do not get it cold. "There is some evidence that frying fish at temperatures that are too high could damage omega-3 fatty acids," Roberts said. The American Heart Association recommends boiling, roasting, or baking.
Use the right condiments. Stay away from salt, which can increase your blood pressure. Instead, use seasonings low in sodium and fat, such as spices, herbs and other seasonings. Roberts also cautions that you should avoid heavy sauces, because they are loaded with saturated fats.
Avoid overeating. "You can identify if the fish is cooked with the fork test," Bannan said. Insert a fork into the thickest part of the fish and turn it over. If it flakes, it's ready.