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How to Eat Enough Fish for Good Health

Updated on September 23, 2011
Fish for Good Health
Fish for Good Health | Source

Fatty fish from the sea are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These unsaturated fats from fish have been shown to reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack. Read below to learn how to get the right amounts of fish with omega-3 fatty acids for your good health.

Learn Which Fish Are High in Omega-3

Oily fish are the ones typically rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fish include herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna. Include a variety of these fish in your diet for good health.

Learn Which Fish Could Be High in Mercury

Larger, older predatory fish are the ones most likely to have higher concentrations of mercury. In general, avoid shark, tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel. For most adults, the levels of toxins such as mercury, dioxins and PCBs are tolerable in other fish and are outweighed by the health benefits of eating fish.

Eat Two or Three Servings of Fish a Week

A serving of fish is 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times a week. This applies particularly to fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon. Again, include a variety of these fish in your diet for good health.

Prepare Fish in Healthful Ways

How fish is prepared makes a difference in how good it is for you. Deep fat frying is not the way to go. Frying in general should be avoided because it adds fat and calories. Bake, poach, broil, grill, or microwave instead of frying. Fish should be cooked until it is opaque (no longer clear) and it is overdone (dry) when it flakes easily.

Cautions for Women and Children

Women who are nursing, pregnant or who plan to become pregnant, and children under 12 should restrict their consumption of fish. These groups are the ones most affected by toxins in fish, but can still eat limited amounts of lower risk fatty fish for good health.

Learn Which Seafood Has Low Levels of Mercury

According to Purdue University seafood expert Charles Santerre, Ph.D., safe, low-mercury seafood includes: shrimp, salmon, farm-raised catfish, tilapia, flatfish (flounder, sole, plaice), scallops, haddock, farm-raised trout, herring, crawfish, mullet, oysters, ocean perch, sardines, squid, white fish, and anchovies. A variety of these fish should be part of your diet for good health.


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