Feeling confused by the reports questioning the heart benefits of omega-3 fats found in seafood?
No wonder. Two studies have some people asking if omega-3s offer as many heart benefits as previously thought. In one report, a compilation of 72 studies involving more than 500,000 people, researchers concluded that “current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.” In the other report, scientists looked at omega-3 supplements, not fish itself, and found that taking daily fish oil supplements didn’t offer health benefits by cutting the risk of heart attacks, strokes or death.
So Is This a Fish Tale?
Before you stop casting your fate with seafood based on these latest reports, know this: U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the American Heart Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute all recommend eating fatty fish twice a week.
As Penn State researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, who heads a key committee for the American Heart Association, told Bloomberg reporter Nicole Ostrow, “Dietary recommendations are not made on the basis of a single study. For now, people should follow the recommendations because they came from five years of review and they’re based on a lot of different studies.”
Plus, there are many good reasons to eat fish and seafood beyond the heart benefits of omega-3s. Seafood is a good source of protein and other key nutrients, including iodine. Besides, there is growing evidence that omega-3s are good for your brain, your joints and perhaps even your mood. Don’t forget that the Mediterranean diet, considered one of the world’s healthiest ways to eat, includes fish as one of its staples.
So What’s the Best Catch to Eat?
As you consider which fish to snag for your dinner table, think about your wallet and the environment. There’s no need to pay $20 per pound for fancy fish. Canned salmon, light tuna, sardines and anchovies are inexpensive and pack the same nutritional punch.
To help you find out which fish is sustainable, the Seafood Watch program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers an app and a printable pocket guide to help you choose seafood that is good for your health and good for the sea. What could be better than that?
What fish do you like to eat? E-mail me at email@example.com. I love getting e-mail and respond personally, as time permits. You can also listen to a WTOP radio interview with me on this very topic.
This blog originally appeared on www.Everydayhealth.com on March 19, 2014.