January 01, 2017

I want to get more of the heart-healthy oils from fish in my diet.

Q: I want to get more of the heart-healthy oils from fish in my diet. What's the best way to do so?

A: You're on the right track. There's a large body of evidence suggesting that when consumed regularly, unsaturated fats in fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, are associated with reduced risk of dying of heart disease. You can most effectively obtain the health benefits of omega-3s by:

  • Eating fish twice a week — The American Heart Association recommends that people eat two servings of fish high in omega-3s twice a week to achieve the most heart health benefits. A serving size is 3.5 ounces, or a piece of fish about the size of a deck of cards.

    Eating high-quality omega-3-rich fish may be more beneficial than taking a fish oil supplement. And when you eat fish, you're replacing potentially less heart-friendly, animal protein that includes more saturated fats.

  • Eating the right types of fish — Most types of fish have at least some omega-3s. However, cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, trout and bluefish have the highest levels of omega-3s. Crustacean seafood such as shellfish, mussels and crab can contain high amounts of omega-3s. Other fish, such as farmed tilapia and catfish, offer considerably fewer of those high-quality omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Preparing the fish for healthy eating — Bake, broil or grill fish using herbs, spices and lemon juice as flavoring. If you use oil in the cooking process, select healthy oil options such as olive, grapeseed...