In the spirit of heart healthy behaviors, we encourage people to add a bit more fish to their plate.
The bad news: close to 650,000 people die from heart disease every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This makes heart disease the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? About 80 percent of heart disease is preventable! While hereditary factors can contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease, research shows that diet plays a significant role.
You may have heard about the recent US News and World Report list of Best Diets. One of the top three diets ranked, the Mediterranean Diet, is known for its benefits to heart health. At the core of the diet? Heart-healthy fats, including fish.
Why is eating fish so good for your heart?
The quantity of fats you consume affects your health, but we now better understand that it’s the types of fats you consume that really matter. High saturated and artificial trans fats, found mostly in animal foods and baked and fried foods, are associated with higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are considered “healthy” fats. Regularly eating omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease like arrhythmia, high blood pressure, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Including polyunsaturated fats in the diet, especially as a replacement for saturated and trans fats, has been shown to improve total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Cold water, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, herring, and sardines) are excellent sources of these healthful polyunsaturated long-chain omega-3 fats, and are naturally low in saturated fat.
A research analysis of 20 studies indicates that eating approximately one to two servings of fatty fish a week reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent. The strong and consistent evidence for these benefits is why the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Heart Association, and registered dietitians recommend adults eat a variety of fish at least 2-3 times per week (about 8-12 ounces). Unfortunately, Americans consume an average of one fish meal every 10 days and it typically includes fish sticks and fried fish, both of which are low in healthy omega-3 fats.
At FLIK, we aim to make the choice easy by regularly featuring salmon at the grill and by offering a fish entrée at least once a week in most locations.
Plus, here are a few at-home, no-fuss ideas and recipes to get you on track:
Baked or broiled fish with lemon
Salmon burger (a FLIK favorite!)
Canned tuna or salmon in a salad FLIK’s easy sheet pan salmon with bok choy
So, go ahead, have your fish and eat it too!