There's something about summertime that encourages many of us to enjoy more seafood. Maybe it's the time spent at the ocean or a lake. Maybe it's the hot grill out back, and those kabob spears that have been sitting in the kitchen drawer all winter. No matter what the reason, eating more seafood in summer is something to celebrate!
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease. And fattier fish, like salmon and sardines, herring and albacore tuna, are high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids -- DHA and EPA. The AHA also notes that fish is a good source of protein, and it doesn't have the high levels of saturated fat that fatty meats do.
People not known to have heart disease should eat a variety of types of fish at least twice a week, says AHA communications manager Julie Del Barto.
And people who have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease should eat about 1 gram of fish omega-3s per day, preferably from fatty fish. While fish contain varying levels of omega-3s, that might work out to around 3 ounces of salmon or tuna, or 6 ounces of pollock, flounder, or sole, according to the AHA web site.
Young children, along with women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing, should avoid fish with higher levels of mercury, like shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel, according to the FDA. Everyone else can eat up to 7 ounces of high-mercury fish per week.
7 Seafood Grilling Tips
Grilling is a fun, healthy, and tasty way to cook seafood. But it can be a little tricky if you're used to flipping burgers or slapping steaks on the grate. Here are seven tips to get you grilling:
1. Give an Inch. If your fish fillets are an inch thick or less, you can grill them right over the charcoal. If they're more than an inch thick (like a whole fish), consider cooking them off to the side of the charcoal. This way, the center of the fillet is more likely to cook completely before the outside of the fish is overdone.
2. Skin Side Down. Grill fish fillets with the skin side down, and don't worry about turning them. The skin holds the delicate package together and protects the flesh from the flame. If you want to scorch the flesh side of your fish fillet, just let it grill flesh side down for one minute right at the beginning, then flip to finish cooking with the skin side down. You can remove the fish from the grill by sliding a spatula between the skin and the flesh -- the charred skin is left behind on the grate.