Fish is the dish for heart health

As an island nation the UK’s fishing stocks are one of nature’s privileges. Yet despite the numerous health benefits, fish seems to be falling out of favour, particularly with the UK’s younger consumers. While 97 per cent of households buy fish each year, evidence suggests that this is not enough with the majority of people consuming way below the recommended weekly intake.

Fish dollar photo

Everyone should try to eat two portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily. That’s 140g of fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, pilchards, anchovies and fresh tuna. UK adults consume less than half of this amount, averaging just 54g each week, meaning that many of us are missing out on fish’s natural heart-health benefits.

Fish, in particular oily fish, is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, known to protect the heart and blood vessels through their anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering and blood pressure reducing properties.

Heart Research UK is supporting Seafish’s ‘Fish is the Dish’ campaign with their healthy tips to put fish firmly back on the menu.

Frozen, tinned or fresh, it’s all good

Freezer trawlers mean fish can go from sea to frozen in no time, allowing them to retain a high quality and nutritional content. Fresh fish prices vary seasonally so the freezer aisles could prove more cost effective from time to time.

There’s a huge variety of canned fish available which make for delicious sandwich fillers and are a store cupboard essential. Most fish retain their nutrients during canning but in some cases the omega-3 in tuna can be destroyed, so always check the label.

Make fish part of your meal plan

Planning meals ahead is a great way to ensure you’re getting a good balanced diet throughout the week and have everything you need to hand, making food preparation quick, simple and stress free – it may help you save money too.

Tips for buying fresh

Include fish on your shopping list but don’t be too prescriptive. If you can’t see what you want or it’s out of your budget ask the fishmonger to recommend alternatives. To really keep down the costs ask if they have any broken fillets which are perfect for making fish pies.

If you’re a bit of a fish-phobic take the fussiness out of preparation by asking your fishmonger to bone, fillet and skin the fish, they’ll even give you some advice on how to cook it too.

Entry-level fish for fussy kids

Get children involved in the cooking. Allowing them to get hands-on and messy whilst making fish cakes with salmon, crab or whatever you can get hold of makes trying new foods fun. If your family are only up for white fish, try mixing smoked or stronger flavoured fish in with it to ramp up the taste factor.

Try introducing fish into pasta bakes or as a pizza topping to make it part of the foods they love.

Fish Friday

Capitalise on this British tradition to make fish a firm feature of your weekly routine. But remember, ‘Fish Friday’ doesn’t have to mean fish and chips. Get a little more adventurous and try a fish pie, tuna steak or even a shellfish paella.

With over 100 types of fish available in the UK there are bound to be some that float your boat.

Tackle your sense of adventure, give your taste buds a treat and help to look after your heart and arteries too as you explore what the sea has to offer.

Visit http://www.fishisthedish.co.uk/ or www.heartresearch.org.uk to find out more.

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