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Fattier types of fish such as salmon, anchovies, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines also contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 fat). This special type of fat has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In one study, involving 827 people matched for age, sex, weight and family history of heart disease, researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle, found that the intake of just one portion of fatty fish a week (fatty fish is the best source of omega-3) equaled a 50 percent lower risk of heart attack.

In another study involving over 80,000 women, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health found that women who ate five or more servings of fish a week had one-third the risk of having a thrombotic stroke compared to women who ate fish once a month or less. "I wasn't surprised by the direction of this study, but I was surprised by the magnitude," reported Dr. Meir Stampfer, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the study, "I didn't expect the protective effect of fish to be that strong."

A health bonanza

Omega-3 fat has also shown a great deal of potential for helping those affected by brain and immune system related illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, bi-polar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, asthma and Alzheimer's disease. There is also a growing body of research which shows that consuming omega-3 fat can improve mood and reduce depression.


  These are some delicious ways to incorporate different types of fish and shellfish into your weekly diet:
The salty flavor and oily texture of anchovies make them the classic complement for a variety of Mediterranean-style dishes. Sprinkle them over a pizza just before baking, add them to pasta sauces and risottos, and use them finely chopped in Mediterranean-style salads. They also go wonderfully with a little chopped fresh basil as a topping for bruschetta (Italian garlic and olive oil toasts).
Clams add a delicious "taste of the sea" to pasta dishes, rice dishes, stews and chowders. Canned clams can also be sprinkled on top of pizzas before baking.
Whether you use real or imitation crab, either way you'll find plenty of uses for this versatile food. It can be added to stir-fries and noodle dishes; it tastes wonderful in risottos and pasta dishes, scattered in salads, or used as a filling in sushi, sandwiches and rice paper rolls.
Smoked oysters and mussels can be used as a pizza topping or as part of an Italian antipasto platter. Fresh mussels in the shell are also an important element in the classic Spanish seafood Paella (a saffron infused rice and vegetable dish studded with a variety of seafood). Fresh mussels also taste wonderful in pasta dishes and risottos. Oysters served raw in the shell with a little lemon juice also make a delicious appetizer—but be sure that the oysters are really fresh and from a reputable source.

Salmon isn't only one of the richest sources of healthy omega-3 fat, it's also one of the most versatile varieties of fish. Salmon steaks are particularly good cooked over a hot grill and served with salad and crusty bread—but be careful not to overcook the delicate flesh or else it will dry out. Fresh salmon fillets can be grilled, steamed, poached with fresh herbs, marinated and baked, or cut into cubes and added to pasta dishes and stir fries. Thin slices of smoked salmon are delicious served with a bagel and a little cream cheese or avocado. Smoked salmon also makes a great pizza topping and sandwich or sushi filling, and goes wonderfully with scrambled eggs and in pasta dishes. Canned salmon is ideal served cold with salad and bread or in a sandwich or sub. It also works equally well on pizzas and in pasta dishes, bakes and risottos and can be used to make burger patties. Very fresh raw salmon can be eaten Japanese-style, in sushi or thinly sliced and served as sashimi.

Canned sardines can be mashed and used as a sandwich or toast spread, and fresh sardines go well in pasta dishes or marinated and grilled.

The delicate milky flesh and clean flavor of scallops lend themselves to a wide variety of dishes including stir-fries, curries, pasta dishes and bakes. Marinated and grilled scallops also make a delightful meal served with crusty bread and salad.
The possibilities with shrimp (prawns) are virtually limitless—skewered with fresh vegetables, infused with lemon juice then barbecued over a flaming grill; stir-fried with a colorful range of crunchy vegetables and served over rice or noodles; dotted throughout pasta dishes, risottos, pilafs and paellas; as a filling for sandwiches and subs; or simply served as a classic shrimp cocktail with juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce, tangy seafood sauce and wedges of lemon. If you can't get your hands on fresh shrimp, frozen cooked shrimp is available in most supermarkets.
Squid is perfect with Mediterranean-style dishes like pastas, paellas, risottos and pizza. It goes equally well with Asian-style dishes such as stir-fries, noodles dishes and Asian braises and hot-pots.
Like salmon, tuna is also incredibly versatile. And even if you're not a big fan of fish you'll probably still enjoy tuna because its texture is more like chicken than fish (which is why tuna is fondly known by many as "chicken of the sea"). Fresh tuna steaks are ideal grilled or pan-fried and served with salad and crusty bread. Fresh tuna can also be cut into cubes and added to pasta dishes, stews, curries and stir-fries. Canned tuna can be used in a myriad of wonderful dishes including pastas, pizzas, risottos and bakes. Of course canned tuna is also the ideal sandwich filing with fresh crispy salad vegetables and a drizzle of mayo.

Firm white fish such as snapper, cod and haddock can be cut into cubes and stir-fried, added to pasta dishes or grilled/pan-fried whole with a little olive oil and served with freshly ground pepper and lemon juice. White fish of any kind tastes wonderful marinated and baked, or cooked in an Indian, Thai or Malaysian curry until the flesh is soft and flaky.

 


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