Heart health: A focus on fish

(BPT) – When it comes to heart health, lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise make a huge impact. As one of the most important organs in the body, keeping your heart in tip-top shape is essential. Luckily, according to registered dietitian Bianca Tamburello, foods that support a healthy heart are also great for overall wellness. Here’s how you can make simple changes to swerve your diet in a heart-healthy direction by eating more fish.

Fatty fish is best for heart health

Fatty fish, including salmon and tuna, are among the best foods for heart health. In fact, an analysis from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), looked at over 20 studies and found that eating one to two 3-oz servings of fatty fish per week decreases the risk of dying from heart disease by 36%. Why fatty fish? Tamburello explains, “Fatty fish are rich in omega-3s or good fats that may help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels and even prevent clogging of the arteries. All these factors help decrease heart disease risk.” For the most omega-3’s per serving, look for farmed salmon from Chile. Farmed salmon tends to be higher in omega-3 fats than other types of salmon.

Most Americans don’t eat enough fish

A surprising majority of Americans do not meet the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines recommendation to eat seafood, including fatty fish, at least two times per week. Tamburello says “Eating fish is linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and stroke. This means that falling short of weekly seafood goals is a missed opportunity for diet variety and overall wellness, particularly heart health.” Selecting and preparing fish may be intimidating and can be another barrier to eat seafood more frequently. Let’s talk about how to confidently choose heart-healthy fish like salmon.

Feel good about farmed fish

Look for farmed salmon from Chile. Not only is it high in heart-healthy omega-3 fats but it’s also sustainably raised and naturally low in mercury. According to a 2021 sustainability report released by Seafood Watch-Monterey Bay Aquarium, Chile produces more yellow rated “good alternative” salmon than any other country in the world. Choosing farmed fish, raised via aquaculture, also relieves pressure on wild fisheries and oceans. Preserving the health of our oceans is an immediate concern as projections show that natural fisheries may be depleted as early as 2056.

How to eat 2-3 servings of seafood per week

Eat heart healthy and reach your seafood goals with these simple tips.

  • Frozen is a great option and convenient for busy weeknight meals
  • Make a simple salmon sheet pan meal
  • Try a fish taco recipe
  • Make a big batch of cioppino, a delicious fish stew, on a weekend and freeze portions
  • Pair sushi grade fish with brown rice and cucumber for a simple poke-inspired bowl (no cooking!)
  • Enjoy smoked salmon on whole wheat toast for breakfast

If you currently eat seafood just a few times a month, start with a more realistic goal of one time per week and slowly work your way to two to three times per week, says Tamburello. Small diet changes over time can make all the difference for heart and overall health.

For more information about salmon and nutrition, recipes, and The Chilean Salmon Cooking Academy visit chileansalmon.org.