How Often Should You Be Eating Fish?
Keep your heart healthy by making seafood a staple in your diet. Last year, the conventional wisdom about healthy eating was turned on its head! A 27-year global study on the impact of eating habits on health outcomes revealed that eating healthy foods is far more important than avoiding unhealthy foods. Eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids made their list of valuable foods your body needs for a long, healthy life. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient for a healthy heart. They improve the flexibility of your arteries, help lower cholesterol, prevent heart rhythm abnormalities and reduce inflammation.
According to research compiled by the American Heart Associate (AHA), eating at least one serving of omega-3 rich seafood a week lowers your risk of sudden cardiac death, coronary heart disease and an ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot in the brain). You may be thinking that you could just take fish oil pills instead of eating seafood. Studies suggest that you’ll reap far more benefits from eating fish than taking a supplement. Researchers have a few hypotheses to explain this. The first is that the combination of vitamins and nutrients in seafood, along with Omega-3s, increases the health benefits. The second is that choosing fish, instead of a protein high in saturated fat like steak or pork, also reduces your health risks. Additional research may prove that both these hypotheses are correct.
How Much Seafood Does Your Body Need?
How much seafood do you need to eat to reap the benefits? According to the AHA, you should eat at least two servings of non-fried fish per week. (A serving is ¾ cup of flaked fish—such as canned tuna—or 3.5 oz of cooked fish.) You can get all the seafood you need without endangering yourself from mercury exposure. The key is to eat seafood that is high in mercury sparingly. Shark, swordfish, and marlin have the highest mercury level. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends eating no more than one serving of these fish a week.
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it’s best to entirely avoid these fish right now. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious low-mercury fish to choose from.
Atlantic mackerel, sardines, salmon (including canned), and trout are all low in mercury and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Catfish, flatfish and sole, shrimp, and tilapia don’t have as many Omega-3s but they are also low in mercury. You can safely eat two servings of these fish per week even if you are pregnant. To learn about more of the health benefits of eating fish, check out our blog post Better Your Health with Seafood.
If you aren’t used to buying seafood, stop by City Fish Market! Our seafood experts are happy to educate our customers about seafood so that they can help you pick the perfect fish for dinner.FF