Heart health

One of the main benefits of the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA found in many varieties of fish, especially oily varieties, is the role they play in helping to keep the heart working normally. In particular, these fats help to maintain blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, which when raised increases our risk of heart disease. Plus the omega-3 fats found in oily fish are known to play a role in helping to maintain normal blood pressure, one of the main risk factors for stroke. Eating less fat overall is important for keeping our heart healthy and maintaining a healthy weight. As a rule, it’s best to have no more than 70g fat a day. However, it’s also important to look at the types of fat you choose. Health experts recommend we eat less saturated fat – no more than 20g a day – as regular high intakes are linked to high blood cholesterol. At the same time, experts agree that replacing some of the saturated fat in our diet with unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats can help to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Most white fish and shellfish are low in fat (they contain no more than 3g fat per 100g). Meanwhile, though oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring, fresh tuna, salmon and trout contain more fat than white fish and shellfish, much of the fat they contain is unsaturated, particularly omega-3 fat.

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