What Makes Fish a Superfood and How Can You Eat More Of It?
Growing up by the ocean in Florida, seafood was always on the menu. I use to take it for granted whenever my dad would bring home a fresh catch. It was always such a treat to eat a meal that he caught with his own hands (or fishing pole, same thing). I wasn’t always the biggest fan of fish but fortunately, my taste buds adapted to enjoy the fresh taste of our fish friends.
You may already know fish is a healthy choice. But do we know why it’s so good for us and whyy the American Heart Association recommends we eat it twice a week to ensure our bodies are getting all the essential nutrients it needs?
Low fat, high-quality protein - all fish, even “fatty” fish like salmon, are low in calories. So low that a 6oz salmon (about the size of your hand) is about 250 calories. The protein in fish contains all the amino acids your body requires to build lean muscle mass.
Protects our vital organs [heart and brain] - fish is high in Omega-3s. Omega 3 in our body is essential for heart and brain health. It has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces blood pressure which lowers risk of heart attacks and strokes. Our body doesn't produce omega 3, so it’s an essential nutrient to equip our bodies to protect our most vital organs.
Brain health - the omega 3s in fish have EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are structural components of neurons or brain cells. An increase of these nutrients in our diets have been shown to reduce the risk of brain degeneration diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia, and depression.
Healthy aging properties - omega 3 is also considered to promote healthy aging. It's found in every type of fish, but highest in fatty fish like salmon, trout, sardines, herring, canned mackerel, canned light tuna, and oyster.
Micronutrient content - Fish contains vitamin D and B2 (Riboflavin), calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
Best and easiest ways to eat fish:
SUSHI/sashimi - As if you needed another excuse to eat sushi. It’s one of the most delicious ways to eat your omega 3s wrapped in seaweed (which also contains omega 3). Next time you're on the couch debating what to Seamless or where you should eat out with your friends, put your favorite sushi joint on top of that list.
Order the fish special - Having a trained professional whip up a fish meal is the best way to get into the fish game if your taste buds aren’t the biggest fan yet. Next time you’re out for dinner, narrow in on the fish entrees. Try white fish like mahi-mahi, sea bass or grouper that don’t have a strong fishy taste to broaden your palate.
Salmon from the hot bar - if you’re timid in preparing your own salmon (like I was for a while) start by buying it from the hot bar in your grocery store. Roast some of your favorite veggies and you have a perfect, quick, and healthy dinner.
Canned fish - I’m a huge fan of canned tuna. Canned tuna, crab, salmon and anchovies are easy to whip up in a sandwich or tossed in a salad or pasta dish. It also makes for an easy dip recipe.
Cook your own - It took me forever to gain enough courage to cook my own fish. I feel so silly even being scared of it in the first place. Now it’s my ‘go to dinner in 15 minutes’ meal. There are many ways to cook fish but the easiest, at least for me, is wrapping it in aluminum foil to bake in the oven. I drizzle olive oil and coat both sides with whatever spices my taste buds are feeling that night and place in a preheated oven (400F) for 12-15 minutes. While the fish is baking I whip up other veggie sides like sauteed kale, roasted cherry tomatoes or baked sweet potato.