Ways to Include Fish in Your Cholesterol-Lowering Diet

Coho Salmon
Silver Salmon. Sara Rosso/Getty Images

For most, fish is not as commonly consumed as poultry or other types of meat. However, because they are lower in saturated fat, fish can also make an excellent substitution for animal meat in a variety of dishes - and it isn't hard to prepare either. Try some of these healthy tips that will help you to incorporate healthy dishes containing fish in your diet -- without greatly increasing your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Incorporate Fatty Fish Into Your Diet

Fatty fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, are especially considered to be heart-healthy. In some studies, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation and triglyceride levels. In fact, the American Heart Association recognizes their health benefits and recommends that you include fish - especially fatty fish -  in your diet at least twice a week. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Salmon
  • Anchovy
  • Herring
  • Bluefish
  • Mackerel
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna
  • Sardines

Even if you don't like consuming any of the above types of fish, other fish that are not high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod, halibut, and tilapia, can also make healthy substitutions for animal meat in your meals. Try some of these delicious recipes:

Watch Out for Canned Varieties of Fish

Although many types of fish are available either fresh or frozen, there are also some canned varieties that are sold in your local grocery store.

If you select a canned variety of fish, such as salmon, tuna or sardines, opt for fish that are packed in water and not oil. If the fish has been packed in oil, carefully rinse the residual oil off of the fish before preparing. You should also look for the salt content listed on the can since some canned varieties of fish can be high in salt.

Preparing Your Fish

You should also pay close attention to how you prepare your fish since some methods may introduce more fat to the meal. Baking, grilling, and lightly sautéing your fish would be some of the healthiest ways to cook them without introducing extra fat. Other methods, such as deep-frying, can introduce saturated fat into your diet. If you absolutely enjoy the breading on fried fish but are watching your cholesterol levels, a more cholesterol-friendly alternative would be to coat the fish with dried breadcrumbs or ground oatmeal. This would give you a similar texture to fried fish without the added fat.

Watch What You Add to Your Fish

There are a variety of ways you can add taste to your fish without adding additional fat, ranging from adding various herbs to adding a low-fat marinade to the fish. When cooking fish, you should avoid cooking and marinating the fish in ingredients that are high in sugar or saturated fat such as lard, syrups, butter, or oils high in saturated fat.

As an alternative, you can cook the fish in an oil high in heart-healthy, unsaturated fat, such as canola oil or olive oil. Additionally, there are many spices you can experiment with to make your fish flavorful.

Pepper, chives, dill, turmeric, and oregano are just a few of the many healthy herbs and spices you can add that will increase the flavor of your fish - without adding excess fat and calories. Adding a splash of citrus fruit, such as lemon, can also add flavor to a bland piece of fish. If you are preparing a dipping sauce to accompany your fish, try to avoid cream-based dips or select low-fat varieties of your favorite dips.

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