On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

Eat Fish Twice a Week to Protect Your Heart

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. But did you know 7 out of 10 deaths are preventable through diet and lifestyle changes, like adding omega-3's to your diet?

Omega-3's: What are they?

  • Omega-3's EPA+DHA are healthy, essential fats found naturally in seafood.
  • On average, Americans get only 80 mg of the recommended 250-500 mg of omega-3's EPA+DHA per day.
  • Having an omega-3 level of 8 percent or more reduces your risk of sudden cardiac death by 90 percent compared with an omega-3 level of 2-3 percent.
  • Our eyes depend on omega-3's for sensory function.
  • A third of the brain’s key functional units are made up of omega-3 fatty acids.

The health benefits of seafood

Seafood is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, incorporating seafood into your weekly meal plan can help reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, according to the USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating just two servings of seafood a week (each serving should be around 4 ounces) has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent. Currently, only 10 percent of Americans follow the USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines to eat seafood twice a week. Let’s change that!

Here are some simple shopping tips to help you select and prepare seafood for a quick and easy meal. Remember, fish and shellfish should smell like the ocean or fresh lake and should not have an unpleasant “fishy” odor. Ask your grocer if you can smell before you buy, or opt for frozen fish.

Shrimp

SHOPPING TIP: Raw, frozen and cooked shrimp are all great options to prepare a delicious and easy meal. Check your local grocery store ad and shop for the option that is on sale during your grocery visit. Frozen shrimp are also great for stocking up to have available for a quick meal when you’re short on time.

PREP TIPS: Thaw frozen shrimp in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry, place shrimp in a colander under running water for about 10 minutes or until completely thawed. You can sauté them in a little olive oil for just a few minutes to add to a salad or with some brown rice and veggies.

Salmon

Salmon is very high in omega-3 fatty acids and is great for heart health.

SHOPPING TIP: You have so many options! Salmon steaks and fillets are most commonly found at the seafood counter. Canned salmon is a convenient choice for making salmon salad and salmon cakes. You can also consider purchasing frozen salmon fillets.

PREP TIPS: Salmon can be prepared in a number of different healthy ways depending on your preference -- seared, grilled or baked. If you’re grilling salmon, consider keeping the skin on to hold the fish together and protect the delicate flesh from the intense heat.

Tuna

Tuna is a warm-water fatty fish found throughout the world’s seas. It is also high in omega-3 fatty acids.

SHOPPING TIP: What are you in the mood for? You can find yellowfin (ahi) tuna at your seafood counter or head down the aisle for some canned chunk light tuna. Be sure to stock up on some extra cans or tuna pouches for a rainy day, a quick lunch at work, or a simple meal at home!

PREP TIPS: Seared tuna serves well over a bed of spinach. Canned tuna offers endless options, like tuna salad, on top of a hearty green salad, in a casserole, or even a gourmet dish.

The Seafood Nutrition Partnership is a nonprofit organization in the U.S. building awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of seafood. The organization is working to address America's public health crisis through a seafood-rich diet based on the recommendation of the USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans to eat seafood twice a week for optimum health.

Check out the website and pinterest boards for a ton of fish ideas!

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