Wouldn’t it be great to live a long and healthy life and get a chance to enjoy all the things we love, even well into our senior years? Well, part of getting to do that is maintaining a healthy diet that keeps all of our systems working properly and organs functioning as they should. This includes your heart!  Eating fish can be a key component of doing this.

For many years, the American Heart Association has recommended that people eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week. Doctors have long believed that the unsaturated fats in fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, are the nutrients that reduce the risk of dying of heart disease.

Why is Fish so Good for Your Heart?

The main beneficial nutrient appears to be omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and heart failure risk, and reduce irregular heartbeats. While fish oil supplements are popular, the American Heart Association does not consider them a sufficient replacement for eating fish.

According to Alice Lichtenstein, D.Sc., former chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and Gershoff professor of nutrition science and policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, at Tufts University in Boston, “When we talk about the advantages of eating fish, we’re talking about over the long term – which comes from eating it twice a week.” Plus, Dr. Lichtenstein said, there’s also the simple fact that whenever you eat fish, you are cutting something else from your diet, particularly other protein sources that may be less healthy and higher in saturated fats.

Tips for Getting Fish into your Diet:

  • Choose a fish that appeals to you!
  • Cook in a healthy way – not battered and fried, or loaded in butter or a cream sauce. Try grilling or baking.
  • Try adding lemon, herbs and spices.
  • Search for healthy fish recipes.
  • Fresh or frozen doesn’t really matter – just get those Omega-3s!