Heart Healthy Seafoods
Maintaining a healthy heart is one of the necessities for a person to live an overall healthy lifestyle. People at risk of cardiovascular diseases may as well consider have an active lifestyle, cut down on vices, and get regular check-ups to prevent further health risks.
One of the biggest lifestyle changes a person with possible heart problems needs to do involves food. A lot of dietary restrictions apply to someone with a heart condition, such as food with low sodium, low fat, and high fiber, among others.
Fortunately, doctors have recommended eating seafood to meet your dietary needs while staying away from meat and other less-healthy options. The question is, what type of seafood is best to maintain heart health?
Oily fish is the best seafood so far that is deemed most beneficial for the heart. Oily fish are those which have oils throughout the body and in the belly.
These fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that keeps blood flow healthy and prevents clotting. Omega-3 helps reduce the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, and reduce triglyceride levels. Researchers say it may also block the production of inflammatory substances causing rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and protect brain cells from Alzheimer’s disease.
Experts say eating fresh oily fish is better than canned fish, not only because omega-3 levels are reduced, but also due to the risk of higher sodium content. The only downside is that these are exposed to mercury and other environmental pollutants from the sea.
Salmon, especially the wild variety, is recognized as the healthiest type of oily fish, due to its high omega-3 content. Other examples of locally available oily fish are fresh sardines, tuna, and mackerel. Bangus (milkfish) has less but still considerable amounts of omega-3. Tilapia, on the other hand, has smaller amounts of omega-3, but it has less mercury.
Certain types of shellfish are also good for the heart. Shellfish, in particular, have low to moderate amounts of cholesterol, but recent research shows they also contain sterols, which inhibit the absorption of cholesterol.
Among those recommended for heart health include raw oysters, raw clams, scallops, mussels, and shrimp. Watch out, though; shrimp has high amounts of cholesterol. While crab is a generally healthy choice, some varieties such as the Alaskan king crab have higher levels of omega-3 and other nutrients.
A word of caution: cooking and preserving methods affect the benefits brought by seafood. This is why fresh seafood is more preferred over canned products when it comes to health benefits. Steaming is also generally healthy, as long as salt and other spices are used sparingly.
Most experts say eating seafood twice a week may prevent heart diseases. The best way to incorporate seafood into a healthy lifestyle, as always, is to eat them moderately along with a balanced diet.
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