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AICR HealthTalk

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: What is the recommended amount of fish I should be eating? Does it all have to be salmon for the omega-3 fatty acids?


A: Eight ounces of fish and seafood per week (for example, two four-ounce servings) is enough to provide an average of about 250 milligrams (mg) of heart-healthy EPA plus DHA (the major omega-3 fatty acids from seafood). This amount of fish with omega 3s is enough to reduce heart attacks and deaths from heart disease. That’s aiming for one serving a week from choices high in omega-3s.

One fish high in omega 3s is salmon (fresh, frozen or canned). However, world supply of wild salmon is not enough to support major increases in consumption.  Other choices that are eco-friendly and high in omega-3 fat include Atlantic mackerel; sablefish (also called “black cod”); Arctic char; sardines; herring; mussels; oysters; most barramundi, lake or rainbow trout; and U.S. or Canadian white (albacore) tuna. More information about making choices that support both health and the environment is provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seafood Health Facts, an initiative developed jointly by several major universities.

Low-fat choices like cod, haddock and catfish are excellent sources of protein, selenium and other nutrients, but if you eat only seafood choices like these, you are unlikely to reach the recommended target of EPA plus DHA fat.

If your physician advises that you should be consuming higher amounts – 500 mg or more – of omega 3s, then focus choices on the high omega-3 fish, increase amount of fish, or discuss adding supplemental EPA + DHA.

Here is a Chowder recipe that features cod or tilapia, but can easily lend itse;f to any of the previously mentioned fish options.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF).

Published on 05/18/2015

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