Eat More Fish: Your Brain and Body Will Thank You

Make your next trip to the grocery store a fishing expedition. Resolve to eat less red meat this year and switch to seafood instead; excess meat consumption contributes to heart disease, while omega 3-rich fish can actually reduce the risk.

Think it's just an old fishwive's tale that fish is brain food? Recent studies have concluded that regular consumption of fish makes our brains function better. Except, of course, if you're eating too much mercury-laced tuna, which could impair your mental functioning.

Confused? It's not that complicated. Just remember that when it comes to canned tuna, buy chunk light, which has less mercury than albacore, and limit your tuna consumption to once a week or so.

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, but you're better off buying wild salmon instead of farm-raised. Yes, wild salmon is more expensive, but farm-raised salmon has far more contaminants, or PCBs, due to the way the fish farmers feed them. Wild salmon have a better diet, and that makes them better for you.

I could eat sushi every day (that is, if I were independently wealthy). But there are plenty of other ways to work more fish into your diet. We New Yorkers are fond of our morning bagel with salmon, but you could also start your day with a poached egg and salmon on an English muffin — whole grain, of course.

Seafood-based soups are a great way to begin a meal, from chowders to gumbos, bisques to bouillabaisse (or its California cousin, cioppino). The heartier fish soups can be a meal in themselves, but you might want to save room for a salmon or tuna burger. Don't have time to make them from scratch? There are several brands available in the frozen section of your supermarket. Fish tacos and grilled catfish po'boys make a fast, healthy meal, too.

And don't overlook seafood salads. If you love salade nicoise but you've had your fill of tuna for the week, have a salmon salade nicoise instead. Or try a ceviche, the Latin American-style seafood salad that “cooks” fish in a citrus-based marinade.

No matter how you cook it, eating more fish is a no-brainer. Just remember to go easy on the tuna; too much mercury might make you forget how many cans you've already eaten this month.


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