The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans eat at least 8 ounces of fish per week. Unfortunately, only 1 out of 5 Americans meet this goal. On average, we consume only 3.5 ounces of fish per week, less than half the recommended amount.
Why is eating fish so essential to health? Fish, especially fatty fish, offers the most nutritional benefit because it contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) long-chain omega-3s.
EPA and DHA omega-3s help regulate blood pressure, maintain triglyceride levels, reduce risk of heart disease, improve brain function and assist in infant vision development.
The varieties of fish that have the highest levels of EPA and DHA and offer the best nutritional benefit are:
- Mackerel (not King Mackerel)
- Tuna (wild Bluefin—canned)
The following fish should be avoided because they contain high amounts of mercury, which is especially harmful for pregnant women and young children. They include:
- King Mackerel
If you cannot eat fish or do not enjoy the taste of fish, you can still obtain omega-3s from other sources. Shellfish is not a good source of EPA and DHA except for mussels and oysters, but there are many foods that are high in omega-3s or fortified such as milk, eggs, walnuts, breads, yogurts and even chocolates! Vegans and vegetarians can also supplement with fish oil pills as long as they contain 250 to 500 mg of EPA and/or DHA.
Fish may not be your favorite choice for dinner tonight, but its nutritional benefits offer a lifetime of good health. Take some time this week to look at some new recipes and make room for fish in your dinner repertoire (Source: Yahoo Health).