March 20th, 2018

From Our Table: Favourite food fits in Heart Health Month

By Medicine Hat News on February 27, 2018.

February is Heart Health Month which fits with another favourite food of mine — fish. There are very few fish dishes I’ve tried and didn’t like. I do have one rule though. I will only try certain seafood when I can see the ocean it was caught in or am very close to it. Lobster in the Maritimes, oysters in Vancouver and scallops in Boston, for example. I learned this by trial and error.

The first time I ever had scallops I ordered them in a restaurant in Estevan, Sask. They were very rubbery and tasteless and I decided I hated scallops and possibly most seafood. Fast forward a few years and I tried them again in Boston. They were absolutely amazing; full of flavour and melted in my mouth. Now in the right geographic location they are one of my favourite food. We recently had the pleasure of leaving the cold and snow behind and headed to Hawaii. We enjoyed the local seafood at every evening meal. Macadamia nut crusted Mahi mahi, ahi tuna sushi and the mouthwatering list goes on.

Fish is rich in valuable omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are important for general good health because of their ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. They are especially valuable for heart health because they help to keep the good type of fat — high density lipids or HDL levels — high. This is great because the HDL actually carries fat out of arteries. Conversely our body has low density lipids that grab and store fat in the arteries. If there is more HDL in the bloodstream it will be able to overpower the bad LDL and keep this bloodstream clear and running smooth for the many crucial roles the blood plays in the body.

Fish is also an excellent source of high quality protein and A, D and B complex vitamins.

Research recommends having fish at least twice a week. Research also shows fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout, sardines and tuna have the most benefit but almost all seafood has some beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish is an original ‘fast food’ because it’s so fast and easy to prepare.

An important factor with fish to maintain its healthy benefits is to prepare it without a lot of fat. Broiling or baking are the healthiest ways to cook fish. It’s also important not to overcook fish to maintain moisture and flavour. As well, start with a good quality fresh or frozen fish for best recipe results.

Here is a delicious fish recipe that is full of flavour.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Teriyaki Cod Filets

1 lb cod or salmon filets about 2 cm thick

2 Tbsp dry sherry

2 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp grated ginger root

1 tsp sugar

1 garlic clove minced

Put fish in shallow container that has a lid. Mix all ingredients together and pour over fish tossing to coat well. Put lid on and refrigerate for up to 4 hours or at room temperature for 20 minutes. Turn a few times while fish marinates.

To cook, take fish out of marinade and steam for 5-8 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork and is opaque. Meanwhile put marinade in a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Place cooked fish on serving platter and drizzle with warm marinade.

Makes 4 servings

From ‘The Lighthearted Cookbook’ by Anne Lindsay

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