What you choose to eat has more impact on your long-term health than you might think — especially when it comes to your heart health. It’s all about choosing the best, high-quality ingredients for your meals, and having enough protein on hand is important to keeping your heart healthy for a long time to come.
“The best protein for your heart is lean protein or low in saturated fat,” Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LDThe author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and a medical expert panel member. “Saturated fats, when consumed regularly, can contribute to increased total and bad cholesterol (LDL).”
The buildup of LDL cholesterol in the blood can clog arteries, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, along with many other chronic diseases. Keeping your LDL cholesterol low is key to good heart health as you age, which means you should choose lean proteins that are low in saturated fat on a regular basis.
One of the best ways you can get lean protein with less saturated fat, while incorporating heart-healthy fats, is by eating fish! And if you are looking for the #1 best fish for your heart, Goodson recommends choosing salmon for all of its nutritional benefits.
“Salmon not only contains high-quality protein and nutrients like vitamins D, B6, B12, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium, but it also contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential unsaturated fats,” says Goodson. your body needs. “Fatty fish, like salmon, are the best source of heart-healthy omega 3s, and these fatty acids are actually heart-protective.”
Omega-3 fatty acids can help raise your “good” HDL cholesterol. This type of cholesterol helps remove excess cholesterol from your blood, carrying it back to your liver. Low HDL cholesterol means you also have a high amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood, which can negatively affect your heart health.
Based on CirculationOmega-3 fatty acids can also lower triglyceride levels and can reduce platelet aggregation, which can cause blood flow problems to your heart.
“Omega 3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory effects by buffering free radicals that can cause cell damage,” says Goodson. This type of cell damage can also lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
To get the full benefits of heart health, Goodson recommends eating salmon twice a week. American Heart Association suggestions eat a 3-ounce serving of fatty fish twice a week—Which includes pregnant women. While fish are known to have some exposure to mercury, Goodson points out (and confirmatory research) that the benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids far outweigh the risks of eating fish — and the American Heart Association agrees.
For starters, why not cook this Sweet and spicy glazed salmon with grilled vegetables pan recipe for dinner, or enjoy this one Smoked salmon sandwich for lunch! For more inspiration, check out these 21+ Healthiest Salmon Recipesor even the 9 things you can do with a can of salmon.
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more