Go fishing for heart health
Connecting the dots…nutrition simplified
If you’re a fish lover, that’s good news. Research continues to prove that people who eat fish are generally healthier than those who don’t, especially when it comes to heart health. Some people avoid fish because they think it can be difficult to prepare. Have no fear – here’s everything you need to know to incorporate more fish into your heart healthy meals.
Why is fish so good?
Fish is a source of lean protein and contain low amounts of saturated fat — the fat that can raise cholesterol levels. Fish also contains essential vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron. Fish is rich in healthy omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation and protect the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure.
What’s the dish on fish?
- What fish should I eat? Choose fatty fish rich in omega-3’s like salmon, tuna, herring, trout, mackerel and sardines. Fish comes in more than just the fresh form. Try fish that is canned in water, sealed in a pouch, or even frozen.
- How much do I need? The American Heart Association recommends having fish at least two times a week. A serving of fish is about 3.5 ounces cooked (about the size of a checkbook), or about ¾-cup of flaked fish.
- I thought shellfish was high in cholesterol? Certain types of shellfish have a reputation for being high in dietary cholesterol. Although this is true for some types, dietary cholesterol is not the main culprit responsible for raising blood cholesterol. Rather, it’s saturated and trans fat that play a role in causing high blood cholesterol. Since shellfish are low in saturated fat and trans fat and contain beneficial compounds like omega-3’s, iodine, iron and calcium, they can be included as part of a healthy diet.
- Isn’t fish high in mercury? Some fish contain higher mercury levels than others, and you should avoid them if you are pregnant or nursing. These include king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and shark.
Healthy preparation ideas for fish and shellfish
- Grill, bake, broil or poach fish instead of frying. Cook fish until the internal temperature reaches 145°F and flakes easily with a fork.
- Instead of salting your fish, flavor it with citrus juice, zest and fresh herbs. Coat with a small amount of olive or vegetable oil instead of butter.
- Make a poaching packet: place your piece of fish on a sheet of aluminum foil, rub with a small amount of olive oil, top with diced tomatoes, thinly sliced shallots, lemon slices and dried thyme. Bake in the oven until the fish is firm and flaky.
- Serve with “light” condiments. Instead of using butter or tartar sauce, try lemon, white wine or a fresh fruit salsa.
- Canned counts! Try canned tuna in water for a sandwich or canned salmon on a salad. Canned salmon also is delicious as a salmon burger or in an omelet.
- Experiment with using fish in your family’s favorite recipes like fish tacos, fish quesadillas and fish sticks.
Did you know ShopRite offers free nutrition services by registered dietitians? Visit your local ShopRite or call for more information:
ShopRite of Niskayuna: Sarah Ender MS, RD 491.0050
ShopRite of Albany: Adrian Allen RD 708.3445
ShopRite of Colonie: Amy Imler RD 598.4970
ShopRite of Slingerlands: Kristin Caponera MS, RD 708.7815
- Fish and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. American Heart Association. www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.TwnrBtVRGSo
- About Cholesterol. American Heart Association. www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.TwnrBtVRGSo
Herb Lime Cod Skewers
Prep Time: 5 minutes • Cook Time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil or cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. Imported olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried minced onion
- 1 tsp. ShopRite oregano leaves
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb. cod fillets, cut into 1½-inch pieces
- For the sauce: In a blender or food processor combine parsley, basil, lime juice, oil, garlic, cumin, minced onion, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1/3 cup water; blend until nearly smooth. Reserve ¼ cup of the sauce; cover and set aside until serving time.
- Thread cod onto 4 (8-inch) skewers, leaving some space between pieces. Place skewers in a single layer in a large baking pan; drizzle with remaining sauce, turning to coat all sides. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes.
- Preheat grill to medium-high (350°F to 400°F). Place skewers in a grill basket or on a large sheet of foil. Grill 2½ to 3 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Transfer skewers to a platter, and serve with reserved sauce.
Per Serving: 180 calories, 8g fat, 1g saturated fat, 50mg cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 21g protein
* If using wooden skewers, soak at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent burning. Make it a meal: Serve with steamed brown rice and fresh mango slices.