The best fish to eat for heart health

Keep up with fish dinners, even after Lent


Friday night fish fries are in full swing, but when Lent ends, your commitment to eating fish on Fridays doesn’t have to stop …

The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week (particularly fatty, or oily, fish) to reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke. So why not continue a good thing by keeping fish on your Friday menu?

And, remember, the best fish to eat for heart health is oily fish. Here’s why:

While all fish provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon and other oily fish — sardines, tuna, mackerel, bluefish, rainbow trout and herring — have the highest amounts. These “good fats” benefit the hearts of healthy people, and those who have, or are at high risk for, cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lower blood pressure.

Other health benefits of oily fish

  • Salmon contains a red pigment, astaxanthin, which is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • A 4-ounce serving of salmon has a full day’s requirement of vitamin D, and contains over half of the necessary vitamin B12, niacin and selenium. It is also an excellent source of vitamin B6.
  • A 3-ounce serving of canned sardines (including meat and edible bones) supplies more calcium than a cup of low-fat milk and nearly 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D.
  • Mackerel is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D.
  • Rainbow trout provides 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.

No matter what type of fish you prefer, the benefits to your health make a strong case for consuming at least two servings per week.

Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

  • 4 salmon or snapper fillets (8 oz each)
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro, chopped


  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 sliced mango
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Brush 1 tsp. olive oil on a baking sheet and place fish skin down.
  3. Combine 3 tsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. lime juice and 1 tbsp. cilantro and brush on each fillet.
  4. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Combine all ingredients for salsa in a bowl and use to garnish fish.

Makes 8 servings

Per serving:  Calories 190; Carbohydrate 8g; Protein 24g; Total fat 7g; Sat. fat 1.5g; 1 protein, 1 oil

Take the next step:

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit umcvc.org.