News stories suggest eating bacon, hamburgers, and doughnuts may be more heart-healthy than eating tilapia. Let’s clear up the confusion about America’s most popular fish.
Should you eat bacon instead of fish? Of course not!
Yet, recent articles have suggested bacon and other fatty foods may be better choices than farmed tilapia because of a high level of omega-6 fatty acids. Here is the truth:
Fish is good for you. The American Heart Association recommends eating two meals that include three ounces of fish, per week. Fish is high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, according to a recent study Japanese men, while smoking more than American men, are more heart healthy, due to a fish-rich diet.
Omega-6 fatty acids are not evil. The American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association
agree that, “Omega-6 fatty acids are, like omega-3s, heart-healthy nutrients which should be part of everyone’s diet.” While there is concern about the inflammatory effect of one omega-6 fats found in high
concentrations in farmed tilapia, for people without active heart disease it should not be a reason to stop eating it.
Not all farmed fish are equal. Americans concerned about heart health are most likely to eat farmed tilapia, salmon, and catfish. These fish are inexpensive and available in most stores. The health benefits of farmed fish vary depending on what the fish are fed and the sanitary conditions under which they are raised. Ask where the fish you are buying was raised. When possible, choose fish farmed in the United States in a recirculating environment.
A variety of fish is better. You don’t have to stop eating tilapia, but there are better choices with more omega-3 fatty acids such as wild salmon, farmed trout, haddock, cod, halibut, and flounder.
Bacon is not a health food. High in fat, calories, and sodium, and low in nutrients, qualifies bacon as an occasional treat.
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com