Fishing for omega-3s

Fish continues to be a cardiovascular hero by playing a unique role in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

What gives fish its healthy reputation? Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – found mostly in seafood, especially higher-fat, cold-water varieties such as mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines, salmon, Atlantic herring, swordfish and lake trout.

For the non-seafood eaters, omega-3s can also be found in flaxseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil as well as nuts and seeds. Nuts supply alpha-linolenic acid, which converts to omega-3s.

The theory is that omega-3s, or fish oils, may help thin blood and prevent blood platelets from sticking to artery walls. That, in turn, may help lower the risk of blocked blood vessels and heart attacks. Omega-3s may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure levels.

Fish is an excellent source of protein, a fuel necessary for the building and repair of muscle and tissues in the body.

Fish is also low in calories. Compared to a one-ounce serving of beef (55-85 calories), fish provides 25-40 calories per ounce.

Finally, fish is an excellent source of zinc, vitamin B12 and iron. To keep your health risk low, eat fish at least twice a week.

To add flavour during cooking (without adding extra fat), use wine, lemon juice, fresh garlic, onion, tomato and herbs to prepare your seafood meals. Grill, steam, broil, or bake fish to keep calories low and your heart healthy.