Oily fish for your cardiovascular health Oily fish for your cardiovascular health

Vitamins and fatty acids, essential for the proper functioning of your body, are found in these coldwater fish varieties.

Advisor: Jasbleidi  Buitrago Uribe
Nutritionist – Dietitian

Nutrition is one of the concerns after suffering a cardiac event, and specifically, which foods should be consumed and which should be avoided. One of the choices is to include coldwater, oily fish in your diet because they are good for your heart.

Some species of oily fish have a fat content of less than 5% and provide fatty acids and oils that have a cardioprotective effect. They are also rich in vitamins D, A, B12, B1, and B6, and some fish are sources of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.

Oily fish usually have scales that are a gray/blue color, as their meat is generous in fat, and due to the type of water they swim in, which is generally cold surface water. These species include salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and swordfish. Nutritionists suggest they be cooked in simple preparations in order to benefit from their high fat content. Consumption of these fish is recommended three times per week. White fish are also good for your health, such as hake, cod, and conger eel, which have less calories and are also rich in fatty acids.

Jasbleidi Buitrago Uribe, a nutritionist and dietitian from the University of Antioquia, states that the recommendation for consuming this type of fish is a product of recent research, considering that 40 years ago the consumption of these fish was not encouraged. However, studies done on the Eskimo population, which consumes mainly these types of animals, found that they infrequently suffered heart diseases. These findings and the support from nutritionist and cardiology associations promote the consumption of this type of animal protein.

Enriched fish

The consumption of fish in Colombia continues to be low. The National Authority for Aquaculture and Fishing estimates that the consumption per capita is 10kg per year (about 10 years ago consumption did not surpass 4kg). Some inhibitors to growth in consumption are the difficulty of access to fresh fish as well as fear. “What you have to keep in mind is that seafood and fish have an important allergenic potential and a high risk of contamination as a result of their food chain. Also, being a water-rich food, its shelf-life is shorter, which should be taken into account when consuming it,” states Buitrago Uribe.

She adds that including fish in your diet is a common recommendation due to its nutritional power. “Consuming a sea bass that has only a small amount of fat is not the same as consuming other species of fish like salmon, trout, and tuna that have omega 3, 6, and 9, as well as phosphorus and other important nutrients related to cardiovascular protection,” says Buitrago Uribe. When adding these fish to your diet, be cautious of where you buy them and how often you are consuming them.

Healthy heartbeats

Caring for your heart involves many factors that you need to keep in mind. “Regarding food, you should increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables, decrease saturated and trans fats, eliminate excess sugars and flours, and also reduce salt intake,” specifies nutritionist Jasbleidi Buitrago Uribe, who adds that these measures go beyond food, as exercising and avoiding tobacco are also necessary.

Omega 3 is characterized by reducing inflammation in your body. Also, unsaturated fats from fish can help reduce cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Related: What you need to know before buying fish