Fish and eggs are both important components of the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) diet that I recommend for heart health. Both are rich in protein and essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are key to decreasing your risk of heart disease. The right kind of fish has wonderful heart health-boosting benefits, and so I feel strongly that you should choose fish over meat and poultry as often as possible in a heart-healthy diet plan.
Incorporating Fish in Your Heart-Healthy Diet Plan
When opting for fish, however, you must consider the possibility of contamination. Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of mercury. They absorb it from water as it passes over their gills and as they feed on other marine organisms. And larger predatory fish get a higher dose from their prey. So I’m cautious about swordfish and tuna, and I won’t eat marlin and shark. In addition, I recommend you avoid all farm-raised and freshwater fish because they are subject to pesticide and insecticide run-off. Ultimately, wild-caught, migratory, cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, scrod, cod and Atlantic halibut are your safest bets. My recommendations on fish may also change if the nuclear accident in Japan is not secure.
A Heart-Healthy Diet Plan Includes Eggs
One of my modifications to the traditional Mediterranean heart-healthy diet plan is the addition of eggs. Among the most perfect sources of protein, eggs also supply essential antioxidants such as magnesium and sulfur, plus omega-3 fatty acids, again key for a healthy heart. In fact, you can even buy omega-3 rich eggs from chickens fed diets high in flaxseed. Range-free organic are the best!
How Much Should I Eat?
I recommend that you aim for two or three servings of wild (not farm-raised) fish per week. Keep in mind that one serving of fish, seafood or poultry is equal to four ounces of fish. You should also aim for up to six eggs per week.
Note: Serving guidelines are based on a 1,800 to 2,000 calories-per-day eating plan. If your goal is weight loss, consume smaller portions in order to lower your caloric intake.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan
How much—and what type of—fat can you eat as part of the heart-healthy PAM eating plan? Get the skinny on fats in the PAM diet for optimal heart health.
How do whole grains promote heart health as part of the PAM diet? Find out the important role that whole grains, nuts, and seeds play in the PAM diet.
Want more specifics on the PAM diet for optimal heart health? Get all the details on the heart-healthy PAM diet plan.