If you want to cast a line for better heart health, try eating more fish.
In 2018, The American Heart Association (AHA) doubled down on its recommendation to eat fatty fish. Eating just two small servings of fish per week could shore up some significant rewards.
In Circulation (the AHA’s official journal), researchers from Harvard University suggested that the beneficial effects of eating non-fried fish include:
- Heart disease prevention
- Reduced stroke risk
- Less likelihood of heart failure
- Sudden cardiac death prevention
- Reduced chance of congestive heart failure
- Decreased risk of abnormal heart rhythms
- Lower triglycerides
- Slower accumulation of fatty deposits that clog arteries
Simply put, fatty fish can be a lifeline for your heart, especially when you choose it over less healthy options like processed meat or those high in saturated fats. Vegetarians are even more likely to experience the benefits of including fish into their diet a couple of times per week.
The AHA’s current recommendation is two 3.5 ounce servings per week of non-fried fish or ¾ of a cup of flaked fish. But even one serving is associated with benefits compared to eating none.
As long as the fish is not fried, it doesn’t matter what kind you choose. Ideal options packed with omega-3 include salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout, herring, and mackerel, but other varieties with less powerful “fishy” flavors can also have benefits.
Cod, catfish, tilapia, and shrimp are all less “fishy” and feature omega-3s, just not to the degree of the options mentioned above. Eating a variety of fish can help keep things fresh and exciting to promote adherence.
If you’re worried about mercury levels, the AHA suggests that the benefits of omega-3 far outweigh any potential threats from the low-levels of mercury found in some fish. Some estimates place the benefits at about fifty-times higher than any threat.
Including more fish into your diet, as long as it is not fried, may offer a life preserver for your heart. If a robust and healthy heart is a priority for you, try eating a small serving of omega-3-rich fish a couple of times per week.