Most fish and shellfish are lower in fat than either poultry or meat and are the best source of animal protein. “ Fish is a heart food” came from observations of people who ate or didn’t eat fish. The evidence now shows and is clear that the American Heart Association recommends having fatty fish twice a week. Fish contains primarily unsaturated fats and they are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, considered helpful in preventing heart attacks and in controlling high blood pressure.

Fish has a superb nutritional profile with many health benefits. You can get it from places all over the world in and out of season. When buying fresh fish, make sure the fish do not smell fishy. Inspect the eyes of fresh whole fish, which must be clear, and shiny eyes with body having shimmering scales. Filleted fresh fish should look moist lay flat and smell fresh not fishy. When buying shellfish, the shells should be tightly closed.

All fish and shellfish are highly perishable. If you are to keep fish for more than one day before use, rinse it under cold running water, pat dry and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place it on a pan of crushed ice in the coldest part of your refrigerator. To keep it longer than two days it must be kept frozen.

Frozen fish must always be thawed in the refrigerator. Force-thawing fish will cause the texture to become mushy. Another tip is that you should never re-freeze fish. Fish is divided into several categories, such as freshwater, saltwater, lean and oily fish. Examples of freshwater fish are catfish, perch, and trout. These fish tend to have more tender flesh and more small bones. Some popular saltwater fish are ahi tuna, halibut and snapper. These have more solid flesh and larger bones that are more easily removed. Lean fish such as sole and halibut are more delicate and will dry out more easily. These lean fish require additional fat or liquid to prevent them from drying out while oilier fish such a salmon and swordfish can be grilled or broiled without additional fat or liquid.

When cooking fish, remember it doesn’t take long to cook no matter which method you’re using. When fish is cooked, it turns from translucent to opaque and this is an indication that it is done cooking. Cooking fish for too long will cause it to dry out and toughen it. Allow for shrinkage of about 25 to 30 percent in the ounce weight from raw to cooked fish: for a 3-ounce cooked serving you should start with 4 ounces of raw fish.

The Benefits of Eating Fish

Several researchers show the benefits of eating fish. Particularly this long-term study of workers at the Western Electric Company in Chicago hinted that fish lovers enjoyed protection against CHD (cardiovascular Heart Disease). The risk of fatal heart attack was cut by a third just from this one lifestyle factor. Another and similar report that examined the habits of tens of thousands of male physicians revealed that those who ate fish at least once a week had half the risk of sudden cardiac death.

The list of research studies shows favorable results. The oils in fish, eicosapentoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), work in many ways. These omega-3 fatty acids reduce the formation of blood clots and raise levels of the protective HDL cholesterol while lowering triglycerides. They also prevent fatal heart rhythm disturbances.

For these and other reasons not discussed here I recommend that you eat at least 2 servings of these fatty fish or the fish you enjoy each week, including salmon, herring, mackerel, bluefish, sardines and other fatty choices.

Author's Bio: 

I believe that knowledge can be empowering and the more we understand our bodies and the mechanisms that cause illness, the more committed we become to getting better. Through my Hope Nutritional Services, I am devoted to educating you about your body, how it works and how to nourish, heal and nurture it.

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