Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These days, it seems like people soak up health claims faster than a sponge soaks up water. Under controversy, the use of supplements is one that receives a lot of attention. While overusing some supplements can harm your health, the American Heart Association says taking 3 grams of fish oil supplements a day is completely safe and even beneficial. It is really important, however, to check with your physician before taking any supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids, known to maintain a healthy heart and brain, are abundantly found in fish and fish oil supplements. Certainly, college students should not miss out on fish and omega-3 fatty acids’ vast benefits.

A high quality protein, fish is a great alternative to the usual grilled chicken or steak meal. Americans eat an abundance of chicken and red meat and tend to eat less fish fish, unlike some other countries that follow a Mediterranean diet. These other countries know a thing or two because fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins like Vitamin D and B12 (riboflavin), and minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Furthermore, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish two to three times a week. A 3-oz serving of most fish and shellfish provides about 20 grams of protein and should be around the size and thickness of your hand. Need another visual? A deck of cards also serves as a suitable serving size.

Some people fear eating fish because they’ve heard the controversy behind mercury and other contaminants. However the benefits of eating fish actually outweigh the possible risk of exposure to mercury. If you’re still worried about mercury, just follow these guidelines. Eat fish that is lower in mercury two to three times a week, including catfish, cod, salmon, tilapia and some types of tuna. However, because not all types of tuna are low in mercury, it is best to limit your tuna consumption to once a week to avoid overexposure. Try to also limit mahi-mahi and lobster to only once a week since they contain slightly more mercury. Finally, try to avoid eating mackerel and swordfish because of their high mercury contents, which is especially important to note for pregnant woman and children. You don’t need to fear fish, and eating fish really adds a greater variety of foods into your diet!

Fishes high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, Albacore Tuna and black cod. While some people cringe at the sound of fat and try to limit it, you should definitely not fear omega-3 fatty acids. Known to maintain a healthy heart and brain, this type of fat is truly beneficial to your health. Studies show it lowers blood pressure and reduces risk of sudden death, heart attack and stroke. This type of fat won’t add inches to your waistline, however, it will keep your heart healthy and offer you an easily digestible meal full of essential amino acids!

Broiling or baking fish, rather than deep-frying fish, is the best way to retain its many health benefits.  Try this delicious fish recipe to whip up!

Grilled Salmon with Walnut-Arugula Pesto

1/4 cup walnut halves

2 cups fresh arugula (2-1/2 oz.)

1 cup fresh basil (about 1/2 oz.)

3 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 medium clove garlic

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

4  6- to 8-oz. skinless salmon fillets

Serves 6

 

  • Over medium heat, in a small skillet, toast the walnuts and stir occasionally for five minutes. Let them cool for three minutes and then place them in a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, Parmigiano and garlic. Process these ingredients about one minute or until they are finely chopped.
  • With the motor still running, slowly add 4 Tbs. of the oil until fully combined. Transfer to a bowl and season with a slight amount of salt.
  • Heat a lightly oiled grill pan over medium to high heat. Rub the salmon fillets with the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil. Sprinkle the salmon with ½ tsp. salt. Place the fillets on the grill pan, skinned side up, and cook for about five minutes.
  • Flip the salmon and continue to cook until opaque in the center for five more minutes. Serve with the pesto on top or on the side!

Fish, which contains nutritious protein and beneficial fat is a tremendous way to spruce up and add variety to your diet. With it’s high omega-3 fatty acid content and tremendous health benefits, it is a great staple to everyone’s diet. However, always be sure to ask about certain fish’s mercury content or contamination risk to remain safe. Finally, impress your friends and family with a scrumptious summery, fish dinner. Just wait, they’ll be asking you to make it every other night!

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2 Comments

  1. No… not Lobster! I guess at least once a week will work for me… I am real fond of fish diet, not only they provide good source of protein also provide good cholesterol for hearth health. With the list of fish that are suitable for consumption on the article this greatly reduce my fear on eating fish due to mercury content. We are also taking these Omega 3 supplement, it really help us out as alternative anti inflammatory.

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