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Your Best Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish – Dietary Advice From A Toronto Naturopath

Posted By on 2 February 2016

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Health Canada recommends eating some kind of oily, fatty fish at least twice a week, but a Toronto naturopath, like myself, might recommend eating more if you are suffering from cognitive or cardiovascular problems. Fatty fish includes such catches as salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, char and trout.   This is because oily fish is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are stored in the body, so you don’t have to eat fish every day. However it can be confusing as to what types of fish you should by, which are the most nutritious and which types are thought to be tainted by contaminants such as mercury.

Why are Omega 3 Fatty Acids So Important?

Salmon Sashimi might be one of the richest healthiest sources of Omega 3 acids on the planet.
Salmon Sashimi might be one of the richest healthiest sources of Omega 3 acids on the planet.

There are two very important omega-e fatty acids in fish. They are calledeicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two acids have many health benefits including

  • Heart attack, stroke and sudden cardiac death prevention
  • Lower risk of Type II diabetes
  • Lowers risk of failing eyesight and blindness due to macular degeneration
  • Prevents memory loss
  • Promotes brain health in general

It is recommended that you consume 12 ounces of oily fish a week. However the key is to choose the fish that is highest in protein and lowest in fat, despite the fact that it is oily.

What Type of Fish is The Best Source of Fatty Acids?

Right off the top you should know that salmon, all types, offers far more types of fatty acids than most types of fish. his includes salmon varieties Chinook, red and pink Soho salmon, Coho salmon and chum.

According to a very thorough article in The Globe and Mail by Leslie Beck who sourced information from the USDA National Nutrient Database, farmed salmon contains more omega 3 acids than wild salmon, but it also contains less protein. She rightly concludes that if you are on a diet it might be best to buy wild salmon, which is higher than salmon. Six ounces of wild salmon has 45 grams of protein compared to 38 grams in farmed salmon.

Here is a breakdown from the USDA National Nutrient Database, 2015

  • Salmon, Atlantic, farmed 1,820
  • Herring, Pacific 1,800
  • Anchovies, European 1,750
  • Herring, Atlantic 1,700
  • Sablefish/Black Cod 1,520
  • Salmon, Chinook, wild 1,475
  • Salmon, sockeye, canned, smoked (Native Alaska) 1,335
  • Tuna, fresh, Bluefin* 1,280
  • Salmon, sockeye, canned, drained 1,080
  • Halibut, Greenland 1,000
  • Mackerel, Spanish 1,050
  • Salmon, pink, canned, drained 920
  • Salmon, Coho, wild 900
  • Sardines, Atlantic, canned, drained 830
  • Trout, rainbow, wild 830
  • Trout, rainbow, farmed 750
  • Salmon, sockeye, wild 730
  • Tuna, white (albacore), canned, drained* 730
  • Salmon, chum, wild 683
  • Mussels, cooked moist heat 665
  • Salmon, pink, wild 524
  • Oysters, Pacific, raw 585
  • Oysters, Eastern, raw 333
  • Tuna, light, canned, drained 190

It’s How You Cook (Or Not Cook) The Fish That Counts

You could buy the wildest, oiliest piece of Atlantic salmon for dinner but if you decide to deep-fry it or pan fry it at a high temperature you are going to destroy all of the omega-3 acids in the fish. If you are going to cook salmon, avoid losing the good fats by baking, broiling, steaming and poaching the fish.

Canned salmon, especially wild pink or wild sockeye salmon is a great choice. Serve it in piece of lettuce, wrap or sandwich and get a whopping 1080 mg of fatty acids in a 3 ounce serving. It is also not a bad idea to eat your sushi and go out for oysters to get enough servings of your healthy fats.

Smoked salmon is comparable to canned salmon but three ounces of it contains 570 milligrams of sodium which can be very bad for people with high blood pressure or kidney problems. Additionally salmon is very high in Vitamin D.

The same principles of avoiding cooking and eating the fish canned and raw also apply to the other Omega-3 rich fish including Tuna, mackerel, sardines, tuna and oysters. Some types of fish, such as halibut, trout, artic char and mussels are generally only available as fresh or frozen filets.

For the most part, eating wild salmon is better than eating wild tuna as it is more likely to be contaminated with mercury.

For more information about naturally boosting your memory, cardiovascular health or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic diet, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewoodhealth.ca or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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