The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend increasing “the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.” But, why?
The main reason is that fish and other seafood contain two omega-3 fats associated with a reduced risk for heart problems: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Science suggests that eating about 8 ounces of a variety of seafood each week – which provides a daily average of about 250 mg of DHA/EPA – may convey these heart-healthy benefits. Problem is, most of us aren’t getting the recommended amounts.
Try the following ideas to help you get more:
1. Go for omega-3-rich fish: While all seafood contains some omega-3 fats, fatty cold-water fish have higher concentrations. Popular omega-3-rich picks include salmon and sardines (both provide more than 1,000 mg per 4-ounce serving) and tuna (about 250 mg per 4 ounces of light tuna).
2. Try some seaweed: Need a reason to eat sushi? Seaweed (nori) and kelp (wakame, kombu or dulse) are both algae, which provide some DHA/EPA.
3. Consider fortified foods: More and more food products fortified with DHA/EPA are finding their way to supermarket shelves. The following are foods that you might find fortified with DHA/EPA:
• Eggs: Eggs are fortified by adding flaxseed and/or algae supplements to hens’ feed. One large egg may contain up to 500 mg omega-3s (some of which is DHA/EPA).
• Milk: Some brands of milk add fish oil or algal oil to give a DHA/EPA boost (don’t worry, you can’t taste it!). One cup of this fortified milk delivers up to 50 mg of DHA/EPA.
• Peanut butter: As with milk, some brands are adding fish oil. A 2-tablespoon serving provides about 30 mg DHA/EPA.
4. Talk with your doctor about supplements: If you don’t eat a lot of fish, taking an omega-3 supplement might be a smart choice. Talk with your doctor about whether supplementation might be right for you and, if so, what to look for on labels.