When folks ask me the one key diet change to make to help them live longer, the answer is clear. Eat more fish.
Research shows that consuming at least 8 ounces of fish weekly, especially omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish such as salmon and sardines, can reduce the risk of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, slow the accumulation of artery-clogging plague, and even help in lowering high blood pressure. In fact, the latest recommendation from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics is to eat at least two fish meals weekly (8 ounces total) to reap this health benefit.
When you eat fish as your protein source at a meal, you are actually getting double the health benefits. You are not only getting those heart-healthy, omega-3 fatty acids, but you are also displacing other sources of protein, such as fatty red meat, which can laden your plate with heart-unhealthy, saturated fat. This type of fat can raise your blood cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Replacing meat with fish on your plate will serve to double your health efforts.
For many, the biggest obstacle that prevents folks from adding two fish meals weekly is knowing how to buy and cook it. If you can relate to this, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) has launched, Dish on Fish, a new initiative that aims to educate Americans about the benefits and overall enjoyable experience of consuming seafood. The NFI web-based program provides everything from tips on how to buy and store fish to loads of easy recipes to help you get it on the table in an aesthetically pleasing and delicious manner.
For those of you who want to reap the health benefits of fish but would rather not be bothered with preparing it, here are my 3 easy ways to add fish to your diet with little effort:
Flake canned salmon over your lunch salad.
Add canned tuna to cooked pasta and veggies and toss with a light dressing for a quick and economical pasta meal.
When you dine out, order baked, broiled or grilled fish. Typically, your portion size will be about 6 to 8 ounces. Only eat half the portion and bring home the leftovers for either lunch or dinner the next day.
Cast your net and add more fish to your weekly diet to help you increase your longevity.
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