Fish is good for the heart. Since February is American Heart Month, I’m challenging folks to eat more fish this month.
And fish is good for the brain too. The most heart-friendly, brain-friendly choices are those rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, barramundi, sardines, herring, trout and tuna. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice weekly to prevent heart disease. And researchers have discovered that fish eaters have less cognitive decline and healthier brains than those who don’t eat fish.
Far too few people eat the recommended amount of fish. So many of my clients ask for help in getting more, so today I offer 4 solutions to this everyday food problem.
4 Ways to Eat More Heart-Healthy Fish
1. Stock up on canned fish. If you have a can or two of tuna, salmon, sardines or other types of fish in your pantry, you have a quick, healthful meal in the making. Round out your meal with a salad, some fresh fruit and some whole grain crackers.
- Tuna or salmon salad: Try a traditional tuna salad with a little mayo or get creative. I’ll mix a can of tuna with whatever yummy things I have handy: marinated artichoke hearts, red onion, avocado, bell peppers, crumbled feta cheese – you name it! Do something similar with canned salmon. It’s delicious mixed with leftover broccoli and canned chickpeas and dressed with olive oil and rice vinegar.
- Salmon or tuna cakes
- Vegetable salad topped with sardines, salmon or tuna
2. Stock up on frozen fish. This is one of my favorite ways to get a meal on the table quickly. I always have shrimp and individually-wrapped fish fillets in the freezer. One of my favorite finds now that Whole Foods is in my area is frozen barramundi, a delicious heart-healthy fish. I often get home late on the days I see patients in my office. But a heart-healthy fish dinner is still in my immediate future. After greeting my wonderful pups and giving them dinner, I thaw the fish fillets in a pot of water or run cold water over frozen shrimp in a colander. After changing into comfy clothes, my fish or shrimp is defrosted, and I’m ready to cook.
3. Collect a few go-to recipes. Ask some friends for a few of their favorites. Page through some healthy eating magazines like Cooking Light and EatingWell or browse their online recipes. Collect at least 5 that you’re interesting in trying. Now commit to trying one heart-healthy fish recipe within the next week.
4. Experiment with favorite flavors. If you’re not experienced with fish, start off with favorite flavor combinations and look for fish recipes with those same tastes. For example, if you enjoy Asian flavors, you’ll probably like this Asian Barramundi. Does your family love taco night? Wow them with fish tacos. Simply sprinkle some lime juice and appropriate seasonings over the fish and bake. Serve with black beans, tortillas, salsa, and the other usual fixings.
Cheers to delicious, heart-healthy eating! Please do share your favorite ways to enjoy fish.