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Articles > Nutrition > Health Benefits of Fish
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A high-protein health cuisine sounds like a bodybuilder's fantasy, but it's a dream come true if you like seafood. One fish in particular, prized by gourmets but shunned by the fat-phobic, may be among the heart-healthiest - salmon. Although salmon is relatively high in fat, its fat is a good kind, omega 3s. While other foods have flashed then fizzled in the super-foods arena, salmon still scores with researchers.

Some Recent Findings:
• Just one serving of fish a week can cut a man's risk of sudden cardiac death in half.
• Eating at least an ounce of fish daily can lower the risk of death from heart disease over the next 30 years by 38%.
• Eating fish lowers the dangerous lipoprotein a, or Lp(a), better than those highly touted vegetarian diets.

While almost all fish seems beneficial, most experts believe that the cold-water-fish oil has special properties. "Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and anchovies are higher in fat than others, hut because they're packed with omega-3 fatty acids that do not harden when cooled - as saturated fat does - fish oils may be less likely to stick to artery walls," say's the Harvard Health Letter.

"Research has shown that fish oils may hinder the formation of blood clots that can cause heart attack and stroke and reduce severely high blood triglyceride levels, a risk factor for coronary disease. There is also some evidence that fish oils help prevent heart rhythm abnormalities".

Fish oil may also decrease joint pain and offer other benefits, but the research jury is still out, especially regarding fish-oil supplements. Though the experts tell us to eat fish, most don't recommend the supplements, which can have side effects in some people. So get your fish oils the old-fashioned way - eat fish.

Get Hooked
Those fast-food fish sandwiches, featuring oil-soaked breading, can't compare gastronomically or nutritionally with a delicately seasoned salmon steak. While we like to think of all fish as nutritious, the amount of saturated fat in a typical breaded, fried fish fillet or patty seems to negate the value of the protein. McDonald's Fish Fillet Deluxe sandwich, at 510 calories, has 24 grams of protein, 59 grams of carbs and 20 grams (180 calories' worth) of fat, says the Wellness Nutrition Counter. Not to be outdone, Burger King's BK Big Fish Sandwich has 700 calories, 26 grams of protein, 56 grams of carbs and 41 grams of fat (369 calories' worth). Extra globs of mayonnaise-tartar sauce can compound the fat attack.

Three ounces of salmon, on the other hand, has 19 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, including omega 3s, and only 177 calories. You could double that portion and still get fewer calories than in a fried-fish sandwich. As for the fat, remember that this is good fat, and those 10-20 grams are well within your fat allotment (which on a 3,000-calorie diet could be 20% of calories, which is 600 calories' worth or 67 grams of fat daily).

Salmon isn't the fish highest in omega 3s, but it's one of the tastiest and readily available in supermarkets and many good restaurants, so you'll likely eat it more often. That bodybuilding favorite, albacore tuna, also has a good share of heart-healthy oil. Three ounces of water-packed, canned white tuna has 20 grams of protein, less than 3 grams of fat, and only 110 calories.

The bottom line is that every bodybuilder who enjoys fish should eat it at least once or twice a week, and include omega-3 fish. Try different varieties and creative preparation methods, but always be sure to cook seafood adequately.

Variety of Fish
Grams of omega-3 fatty acids per 6-ounce serving
Albacore tuna
2.6
Chinook salmon
2.6
Atlantic salmon
2.4
Sockeye salmon
2.2
Coho & pink salmon
1.7
Bluefin tuna
2.7
Atlantic mackerel
4.4
European anchovies
2.4


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