Lifestyle Changes

Heart Healthy Benefits of Fish

There are many benefits to including fish as part of a heart healthy diet. Fish is packed with protein, is low in saturated fat, and contains oil that is full of omega-3 fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids are most abundant in oily or fatty fish such as anchovies, trout, tuna, mackerel, herring, salmon and sardines. Omega-3 fatty acids may also ease inflammation and help prevent blood clots. There are two types of mega-3 fatty acids: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA). DHA promotes healthy brain function in adults and is vital for Brian, eye and nervous system development in infants. EPA may have a positive effect on blood pressure, triglycerides (fats found in blood) and inflammation.

According to Harvard Medical School, studies suggest that people who eat fatty fish are half as likely as people who don’t eat fish to experience cardiac arrest. Fish eaters also appear to have lower risk of coronary artery disease.

If fish isn’t part of your diet, you can also find omega-3 fatty acids in the foods below:

  • Walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Fresh basil
  • Dark green vegetables such as spinach


While eating a diet high in fish is heart healthy, you should avoid fish that contain high levels of mercury. Shark, swordfish and king mackerel contain high levels of mercury. Common fish that are low in mercury include: sardines, haddock, salmon and catfish. 

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings (particularly fatty fish) per week. Fatty fish includes salmon, lake trout, herring and albacore tuna. All are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.

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