Nutritionally speaking, fish is one of the best protein sources available, but as an unsung hero, it‘s often overlooked in favor of proteins such as chicken and beef. Maybe you hated fish as a child, don’t really know how to cook fish, are scared of bones, or concerned about mercury. Don’t let these objections stop you from ‘reeling’ in the benefits; the health benefits of fish far outweigh any issues. Plus, it’s really delicious!
Fish is a low-fat, nutrient dense food. It’s a great source of vitamin B2, vitamin D, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Current research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids provide cardiovascular benefits including reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, helping to drop triglyceride levels and preventing blood clots. They may also have a role in alleviating symptoms of depression, inflammation and auto-immune disorders.
To get that omega-3, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends eating approximately two 3-ounce servings of oily fish per week for reduced risk of chronic diseases. Typically, omega-3s are found in all fish, but are especially high in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, herring and sea bass.
The FDA has recently changed recommendations, encouraging everyone to consume 8-12 oz of a variety of fish weekly. The health benefits of fish outweigh concerns about mercury, even for pregnant women and young children. Only a few larger predatory fish like swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel should be avoided.
Cooking fish can be easier than you think. Fish is very versatile and can be paired with many flavors. The best and healthiest ways to consume fish are to steam, bake, broil or grill fish. If you are looking for a challenge in the kitchen, try baking fish “en papiollote.” Get creative by layering fish with mixed veggies and spices of your choice, wrap up in parchment paper and bake until tender!