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Rainbow Trout: Fish You Should Eat

This light dish featuring trout—one of the safest fish to eat—makes a perfect evening meal as summer moves into fall.
Tangy tomato trout recipe is a light dish featuring trout—one of the safest fish to eat—makes a perfect evening meal as summer moves into fall.

When Chef Jeannette sent me this recipe, the first thing I did was Google rainbow trout. That’s because every time you look, it seems there’s another hidden danger or environmental problem with fish. Farmed salmon is, according to the Environmental Working Group, the main source of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the U.S. food supply. Swordfish can have large amounts of mercury. And do we really trust the farm-raised tilapia from China?

On the other hand, rainbow trout seems to be on the “good” side of everyone’s “eat this, not that” list. In 2014, Women’s Health magazine listed it under “fish you should eat,” and as recently as May of this year, livestrong.com listed it as one of the nine safest seafood options. (Mussels and Pacific sardines also made the list.)

Rainbow trout has more than 100 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin B, as well as more potassium than bananas. It’s also got a nice dollop of niacin, an important B vitamin. And the rest of the ingredients in this dish are superstar supporting players with a wealth of health benefits: garlic, the original medicinal food; tomatoes, with their healthy dose of the antioxidant lycopene; olives, with their legendary olive polyphenols (the reason extra virgin olive oil is so good for you); and the underappreciated lemon, the subject of this month’s “featured ingredient” section. As my grandmother used to say, “What’s not to like?” —Dr. Jonny 

Featured Nutrient: Lemon

Like other citrus fruits, lemons are a great source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

The poor underappreciated lemon. Like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, it “just don’t get no respect.” Usually relegated to the position of garnish or zest, it rarely gets the attention it deserves as a genuinely healthy food on its own. Maybe it’s time that it did.

Singing teachers have long known about the anecdotal benefits of lemon. When I was working in musical theater, there wasn’t a singer I knew whose teacher hadn’t prescribed hot water and lemon, first thing in the morning, for its soothing effect on vocal cords. Nutritionists in the naturopathic tradition—like my friend Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD—recommend daily intake of lemon juice to stimulate digestive juices.

Like other citrus fruits, lemons are a great source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Lemons also contain two other compounds—a group of chemicals called limonoids, and specifically a compound called limonene—both of which have documented anticancer properties. 

Notes from the Clean Food Coach

Rainbow trout made the 2010 Seafood Watch “Best of the Best” list for low levels of mercury and PCBs. Nutritionally, rainbow trout is superior to tilapia because its ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 1:2 (like salmon), whereas tilapia is 2:1. Otherwise, the two types of fish are very similar—both mild, quick-cooking fillets. 

Try our Tangy Tomato Trout recipe

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