As a registered dietitian and mom, I've been incorporating fish into our family meals for years, and recent reports confirm this. Just this month in fact, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study showing that two or more servings of fish per week helped lower women's risk of hearing loss. And earlier this summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated their fish consumption advice to encourage pregnant and breastfeeding women and children to eat more fish and to eat a variety of fish.
The new advice recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat at least 8 ounces of seafood weekly, including a variety of fish that are higher in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, trout and canned light tuna, for optimal brain development. Fish is one of those hero foods that packs a powerful amount of nutrients, including these 10 health benefits:
• Promotes heart health
• Decreases blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels
• Improves arthritis and joint pain
• Lessens symptoms of depression
• Enhances brain growth and development
• Vital for unborn babies, infants and children
• Decreases the risk for certain cancers
• Reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease
• Fish is the single best source of omega-3 fatty acids, above supplements and plant sources
• It is delicious and can easily be incorporated into your family meals
Evidence supports the vast benefits of seafood, and health professionals agree with these dietary recommendations, yet most of us are not eating enough of it. The general population eats about one serving a week, and the FDA estimates that pregnant women eat less than two ounces of fish a week. That's less than one-quarter of the recommended weekly amount.
Eating more seafood can be surprisingly simple. To eat fish and seafood twice a week, consider these tips:
Swap out -- Replace at least two meat or poultry meals each week with fish or seafood. Chicken tacos can become fish tacos, or grilled steak atop a salad can easily be swapped out with grilled salmon.
Spice it up -- Enhance the flavors of any seafood dish by adding fresh herbs and spices such as dill, paprika, cumin, citrus juices or salsa.
Always keep fish on hand -- No time to run to the market? Stock your pantry and freezer with a variety of seafood. Canned tuna or frozen fish are packed immediately to seal those great flavors for a little longer.
To get you going with this powerful food, I have included one of my favorite recipes! Check it out and find more at Getrealaboutseafood.com.
ENSALADA DE ATUN CON CODITOS
Tuna salad with elbow pasta
1 can (6 oz) "light" tuna packed in water, drained
1 cup dry elbow pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
4 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
4 tablespoons Mexican crema or low fat sour cream
2 large boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chile or red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate or serve a scoop of tuna salad over a Romaine lettuce leaf. Serve with your favorite crackers or bread.
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Note: May add 2 to 3 tablespoons cooked peas and/or cooked chopped carrots.