American Heart Month: Love Your Heart, Eat Your Seafood

February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, which remains the leading global cause of death each year.

Seafood Nutrition Partnership aims to reduce the risks of heart disease by educating Americans about the health benefits of seafood and building awareness of seafood’s essential nutritional value. Specifically, eating seafood twice a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

In fact, a Mediterranean diet that includes seafood at least twice a week lowers the risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in seafood, help your heart in several ways. They curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body). At high doses they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. They can also slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.

Additionally, the American Heart Association recommends 1 gram a day of EPA plus DHA for people with heart disease. Eating oily fish is best, but your doctor might recommend a fish oil capsule. If you’ve had a heart attack, a prescription dose of omega-3s may help protect your heart. Some studies show fewer heart attacks and fewer heart disease deaths among heart attack survivors who boosted their levels of omega-3. Click here to learn which fish is the richest in omega-3s.

Take the Pledge to Eat #Seafood2xWk

Eating seafood regularly can help save lives and significantly improve overall health. Consuming two servings each week, as recommended by leading health organizations including the American Heart Association, is an easy way to make a positive commitment to your health and the health of those around you.

Need somewhere to start? Try this salmon recipe that delivers in taste, affordability and omega-3s.

Cumin-Scented Salmon with Black Bean Stew

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed, crushed
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound salmon filet
  • ¼ cup yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • Chili flakes, to taste
  • 1 14.5-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-oz can black beans, low sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced

All you do:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat.
  2. Mix together cumin and coriander seed; season salmon with spices and salt and pepper. Save some spice mix.
  3. Add salmon to skillet and cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, for the Black Bean Stew, heat remaining oil (1 tablespoon) in another pan and add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add peppers, chili flakes and saved spiced mix from Step 2. Cook until aroma starts to smell.
  6. Add tomatoes and allow tomatoes to start to sear.
  7. Add black beans and water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Add cilantro, green onions and lime juice. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Place black beans in individual bowls and add salmon portion on top.

From SNP Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program
Omega-3 per serving: 500-2000 mg

Author: Linda Cornish

I’m Linda Cornish, president of Seafood Nutrition Partnership, the leading 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the U.S. building awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of seafood. It’s our mission to address the country’s public health crisis through education programs that inspire Americans to incorporate more seafood and omega-3s into their diets for improved health.