Why Is Fish So Good For You?

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When I tell people I’m a vegetarian, they always ask me if I eat fish.  I don’t.  Some vegetarians will not eat any meat, except for fish, which means they are called a Pescatarian.  The main reason I don’t eat it is because I don’t really like it and it’s a bit too pricey for a Dietetic Intern. However, I was recently asked to write about the health benefits of fish for a newsletter about National Nutrition Month. Fish is the “superfood of the month” at the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home (my current clinical rotation).  So, I spent a few hours reading about the many advantages of eating fish, and I considered possibly adding it to my diet!  Here’s why it’s so good for you…

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How often do you eat fish? The current dietary recommendations are to eat fish at least twice a week to receive its many health benefits. An intake of 8 ounces of fish (aka 20% of your total protein intake) has been linked to positive health outcomes. Fish’s good reputation can be attributed to its high volume of omega-3 fatty acids. One omega-3, known as DHA, helps with cognition, memory function, and brain performance. Studies have shown that high omega-3 consumption may result in lower blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart attacks. Conversely, low intake of DHA have been associated with a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in later years. Fatty fishes like mackerel, herring, trout, tuna, salmon, and trout have the highest omega-3 content.  Fish is great for both your head and your heart.

Tips to Eat More Fish:

Keep it lean: The way fish is cooked will determine whether or not it maintains its health benefits. Grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking fish doesn’t add any extra fat.ID-100274313

Get creative: Think beyond the traditional preparation for fish; try cooking it in new and creative ways! Try fish patties, a shrimp stir-fry, fish tacos, or linguine with clam sauce. Add variety by trying a fish that is new to you!

Feed your kids: Consumption of omega-3 fats can aid in nervous system development in infants and children. The recommendation for children is the same as adults—twice a week in child sized appropriate portion.

Know your portions: Remember that 8 ounces is the recommended amount of fish per week. A drained can of tuna is about 3-4 ounces, a salmon steak is usually 4-6 ounces, and 1 small trout is about 3 ounces.

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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