Fish are a great source of protein to incorporate into your diet a few times each week. But, when it comes to what’s good for your heart, not all fish are created equal. Oily fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can help keep your heart healthy and reduce some risk factors for heart disease.
“Omega-3 fatty acids are required for life and are found in marine and plant-based foods. Type 1 is found only in plants and can be converted in the body (but very inefficiently) into Type 2 and 3 which are found only in fish,” says cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Paul Brown, MD, FACS, FACC, FACCP. “When taken in high doses, Omega-3’s can mildly lower blood pressure with some consistent evidence for their ability to mildly lower triglyceride levels, with a slower rate of plaque buildup in the arteries and mild evidence that they can lower the risk of atrial fibrillation.”
So, which fish are the best fish?
Seven Heart Healthy Choices
1. Albacore tuna (not canned)
3. Freshwater trout
6. Salmon (fresh water and wild-caught)
7. Sardines (even the canned kind)
Eating right is one important way to fight heart disease. Talk to your doctor about all the things you can do to keep your heart ticking just right.
“Eating fish or taking fish oils to obtain Omega-3’s does seem to have benefits in patients with cardiac risk factors and taking fish oil might be beneficial in people that do not eat fish at all,” explains Dr. Brown. If fish or fish oil is too fishy for you try flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds, canola oil, soy oil, soybeans or even tofu to obtain Type 1 Omega-3’s.”
How healthy is your heart? To find out, SRMC offers a free heart health assessment at SouthsideHeartHealth.com. In five minutes, the online tool identifies personal risk factors for heart disease, offers tips to take control of your heart health, and provides a report to share with your physician.