Fridays and Fish: What You Need to Know

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Diet, General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

For many people, Lent marks the time of year when fish is on the menu for Friday night dinners. Unfortunately, that often means eating artery clogging breaded, or fried, fish—and fish that contains dangerous levels of mercury.

A better choice is what we do at our house—eat coldwater fish. It is an excellent source of protein and, more importantly, omega-3 fatty acids. Over 4,500 studies have documented the remarkable benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in the oils of the fatty fish that inhabit the cold waters of Alaska, Norway, and other areas.

The essential fatty acids in coldwater fish:

  • Improve circulation by preventing platelets from sticking together.
  • Lower cholesterol and especially triglyceride levels and protect the arteries by curbing inflammation.
  • Reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by stabilizing electrical activity in the heart muscle cells.
  • Help rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions through their anti-inflammatory action.
  • Enhance the cells' sensitivity to insulin, protect against cancer, boost memory and mood, and help with weight loss.

I highly recommend that you eat omega-3 rich salmon, trout, sardines, herring, or anchovies two or three times a week. But avoid shark, sword fish, and king mackerel, which are unacceptably high in mercury. Plus, grill or bake your fish, seasoned with herbs and a small amount of olive oil, rather than breading it.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite type of fish?

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