But bad news about toxins in fish has us wondering if it’s such a catch after all. Some species are contaminated with toxins that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, adverse effects on the immune system, and more.
If you’re casting about for answers, some encouraging news: one recent study found that people who ate seafood had a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, and that the benefits of eating seafood outweighed potential risks from exposure to toxins. So rather than scaling back, seafood lovers should choose wisely. Because recommendations change frequently, visit the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector guide, for up-to-the-minute safe-seafood choices (oceansalive.org). And try our clean seafood recipes. You’ll be hooked all over again.
Not a fish lover? That’s OK! When it comes to getting all the wonderful benefits of healthy fats, there are many options today. The following foods and supplements all provide omega fatty acids, particularly the potent omega-3 fats found in cold-water fish.
The chief fat in açai is the omega-9 fat oleic acid, also the chief fat in olive oil. The açai fruit is also a good source of omega-6 fat and contains a small amount of omega-3s. Açai is available as juice, freeze-dried powder, and as an extract in capsules. Not all açai products contain the fat of the fruit, so check ingredient labels.
CHIA and FLAX
Both chia and flax contain higher levels of omega-3 than omega-6. Both are available as whole or ground seeds and as oil.
DHA from ALGAE
Certain algae are a rich vegetarian source of this omega-3 fatty acid. Supplements of algae-derived DHA are available for adults and children, including flavored, chewy versions. Algae DHA is also added to a variety of foods, including some milk and juices.
Naturally high in EPA and DHA, fish oil is the most concentrated source of omega-3s, and fish oil supplements are usually free of mercury or toxins found in fish. Krill, tiny sea creatures eaten by whales, are another source of these fatty acids.
Hemp seeds naturally contain a healthy balance of omega-3, -6, and -9 fats, with two bonuses. As well as the ALA form of omega-3 found in flax and chia, hemp is a unique source of stearidonic acid, another type of omega-3 that converts to EPA and DHA.
Phytoplankton are microscopic plant-like organisms in our oceans that contain EPA and DHA. You can find this as a supplement at health food stores.
SACHA INCHI OIL
Oil from sacha inchi seeds contains nearly half omega-3 fatty acids, more than one-third omega-6 fats, and some omega-9, a combination that can help to reverse the omega-6 overload in American diets.
Cod Baked in Thai Green Curry Sauce
A creamy, Thai-style sauce adds exotic flavor to simple white fish. Adjust the curry paste to your taste, and use light coconut milk if you prefer. Serve with a side of basmati rice and a salad of cucumber, red pepper, green onions, cilantro, and chopped peanuts.
1 can coconut milk, in BPA-free can
3 tsp. green curry paste
1 Thai pepper, seeded and minced
1 2-inch segment fresh ginger, coarsely grated
2 stalks lemon grass, tough outer leaves removed, bulbs cut into
3-inch segments and split length-wise
½ cup Thai basil, cut into thin strips
4 6-oz. pieces of Pacific cod
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Hot chili oil for garnish (optional)
per serving: 340 cal; 33 g prot; 22 g total fat (19 g sat fat); 4 g carb; 63 mg chol; 202 mg sod; 1 g fiber; 0 g sugars
Pan-Seared Scallops with Shallots, Wild Mushrooms and Arugula
This simple but gorgeous dish is an elegant appetizer; or serve it as a light entrée with a side of linguine tossed with olive oil and garlic, and a generous salad.
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium shallots, sliced into thin rings
1 lb. wild mushrooms (shiitake caps, oyster mushrooms, lobster, or others), thinly sliced
¼ cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine) or sweet white wine
20 medium to large sea scallops (about 2 lb.)
per serving: 498 cal; 77 g prot; 10 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 27 g carb; 183 mg chol; 884 mg sod; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugars
Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Tacos
If you’re pressed for time, pick up a pound of grilled peppers and other vegetables from the deli and skip the vegetable-grilling step, for even faster prep.
1 red pepper, cut into ½-inch strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into ½-inch strips
1 small red onion, cut into ¹⁄³-inch thick rings
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb. medium shrimp (16 to 20), peeled and deveined
1 tsp. chipotle powder
2 Tbs. olive oil
8 white corn tortillas
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
Sour cream for garnish
Salsa for garnish
per serving: 358 cal; 23 g prot; 15 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 35 g carb; 140 mg chol; 166 mg sod; 7 g fiber; 4 g sugars
Perfect Poached Salmon, with Bitter Greens Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
This classic dish is ready in 20 minutes, with a foolproof procedure that makes it perfect, every time.
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 salmon fillets
4 tsp. tamari
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 small head frisee
1 small head radicchio
1 medium Belgian endive
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. walnut oil
¼ cup olive oil
Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
per serving: 368 cal; 40 g prot; 20 g total fat (4 g sat fat); 4 g carb; 80 mg chol; 451 mg sod; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugars