Your Road Map to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines

By Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., "America's New Food Rules," May/June 2011

6 easy rules that could help you live a longer and healthier life.

6. Go Fish

Here, the Dietary Guidelines are pretty clear: "Increase the amount and variety of seafood… [to] an intake of 8 (or more) ounces per week." Fish isn’t just low in calories and packed with protein—it’s also a source of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, which have been shown to improve heart health and reduce risk of dying from heart attack, says Dariush Mozaffarian, Dr.P.H., M.D., an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Seafood may also help you slim down. A 2009 Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease study found that people who ate a 5-ounce serving of seafood five times a week for eight weeks lost nearly four pounds more than people who ate the exact same number of calories but no seafood. Yet most of us eat less than half the weekly recommendation.

Don't let concerns about mercury scare you. Truth is, most mercury is found in five fish species: swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, shark and, to a lesser degree, some canned albacore tuna. "As long as you eat a variety of seafood, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks," says Marisa Moore, M.B.A., R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "Just be sure to avoid the biggest mercury offenders (swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and shark) and limit albacore tuna to six ounces a week."

If you're not a fish fan, try it mixed into dishes (linguine with clam sauce, grilled fish tacos or sushi rolls) and experiment with milder fish like tilapia, trout or shrimp.

Related Link: Quick Fish Recipes

Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., is a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and co-author of The Baby & Toddler Cookbook (Weldon Owen, 2011).

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