Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain and nervous system function, plus they're good for your heart because they decrease the risk of arrhythmias, lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure. They also help keep plaque from clogging your arteries. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish every week. Fish is one of the richest sources of two forms of omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and DHA and EPA are the exact types of omega-3 fatty acids your body needs.
Not all fish are created equal — some have more omega-3s than others. The following eight fish are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Herring is often pickled and served as an appetizer. This small fish can also be cooked on the grill, oven or stovetop. Herring is a great source of protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, niacin, vitamin B-12 and selenium.
- Salmon steaks and fillets can be baked, grilled, sautéed or poached. Or you can keep a can of salmon on hand to make salmon salads or sandwiches. Salmon is high in protein, magnesium, potassium, niacin, vitamin B-12 and vitamin A.
- Mackerel is often smoked or canned, but fresh mackerel fillets can also be grilled or baked. Besides the omega-3 fatty acids, mackerel is high in vitamin B-12, niacin, selenium, magnesium, iron and potassium, plus a fair amount of protein.
- Sardines are small oily fish that you'll typically find in cans. They're often served with crackers as an appetizer. Fresh sardines may be available and can be grilled, baked or smoked. Sardines are also high in vitamin D, niacin and calcium.
- Anchovies are often found on pizza or Caesar salads, and you'll find them in cans when you go grocery shopping. Fresh anchovies can be grilled or used in recipes that call for sardines. Anchovies are high in protein, calcium, potassium, selenium, vitamin B-12 and niacin.
- Halibut is a good fish for people who don't like the strong flavor of most oily ocean fish. It's a mild white fish that's still high in omega-3 fatty acids. Halibut is an excellent source of protein, potassium and niacin.
- Rainbow Trout
- Rainbow trout is another mild white fish, so it's good for people who don't like salmon or tuna. Besides being high in omega-3 fatty acids, rainbow trout is a good source of protein, calcium, magnesium and niacin.
- Tuna is typically served as fillets or steaks and it can be grilled, baked or broiled. You'll also find canned tuna in your local grocery store. Tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium potassium, vitamin B-12 and niacin.