Fishing for a Healthy Heart

by Ellen Speare, Clinical Nutritionist, Wild Oats Markets, Inc.

Eskimos have the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. While this may remain a mystery to some, it is often suggested that their hearts are so healthy because their main source of protein is cold-water fish. And fish, which can be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, or essential fatty acids, has been linked to heart disease prevention.

The American Heart Association recommends that people consume at least two servings of fish – particularly cold-water fish – per week. According to the Association, randomized clinical trials have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can reduce cardiovascular events such as death, non-fatal heart attacks, and non-fatal strokes. They can also slow the progression of arteriosclerosis in coronary patients.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids, or essential fatty acids (EFAs), quite simply, help fuel the heart. They work to prevent blood from clotting, and they lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Many researchers have found that even those on low-fat diets may actually have increased risk of heart disease if they are neglecting to consume these essential fatty acids. And dieters, take note: this kind of fat is also needed in order to achieve regular fat burning in your muscle tissues!

Where can I find omega-3s?
Omega-3 fatty acids are very prevalent in fish. They are found only in cold-water fish, because cold-water fish are not subject to the potential toxins that occur in warm water fish. Some of the best types of fish to eat are:

Shellfish also contain essential fatty acids, but their levels are not as high as other cold-water fish. However, eating shellfish instead of red meat can have major benefits where cholesterol levels are concerned. Oysters, clams, mussels and crab are the best choices – and, secondarily, shrimp and squid. It’s important to note that these two fish do not raise cholesterol, as some previously believed.

Not a fish fan? You can get extremely high levels of omega-3 acids by consuming tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed, and their oils.

Try this heart-healthy treat
For the ultimate in taste and heart disease prevention, try these tasty salmon cakes:
2 cans salmon
2 eggs or egg whites
1/2c.chopped celery, onion
1/2c.bread crumbs
2tbsp.lemon juice

Mix all ingredients and form into patties.
Spray a baking pan with canola oil and place patties on the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30minutes.

You can also put this salmon mixture in a sprayed loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.

Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is a nationwide chain of natural and organic foods markets in the US and Canada. The company operates 111 natural foods stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada. The company's markets include: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Farmers Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets..


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