Indulge in a fish-a-palooza

Tired of tuna? Swore off fish sticks when you were 10? Love salmon and scallops, but they’re restaurant treats? Just aren’t into fish, though you want to be?

All that’s why you and yours are likely eating one-tenth of the good DHA omega-3 fatty acids your hearts, brains, eyes and joints need. With the boatloads of evidence about the benefits of DHA omega-3s in finned food, it’s time to fall in love with this healthy, delicious stuff. How? Be inspired by a unique Mediterranean holiday tradition: the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

The seven-fishes feast started on Christmas Eve as a meatless “fast” before Christmas Day. Today, it’s a mix of culinary trend and Italian-American family tradition.

A traditional feast has at least seven kinds of seafood, from cod, calamari and shrimp to anchovies and clams.

They’re grilled, baked, broiled and simmered in soups, sauces, stews.

Finspiration 1: Make it a family thing. Do the kids start wriggling if you suggest fish for dinner? Take ’em along to the fish counter: If they pick it, they’ll try it. Start with mild types: sole, flounder, tilapia, shrimp.

Finspiration 2: Go for the good fats. Not nearly all seafood is packed with omega-3s. Wild salmon, wild trout, sardines, mackerel, farmed Atlantic salmon and farmed trout are among the richest, if not the cheapest.

Finspiration 3: Include shellfish when possible. While shrimp, scallops, mussels, lobster and others aren’t great omega-3 sources, most shellfish has no saturated fat, so it’s instantly healthier than burgers or steaks.

Finspiration 4: Seafood’s a blast. With so many types — from bargain canned tuna to lobster — and so many ways to prepare it, you could eat fish forever without repeating a dish.

Fish boosts health

Fish protects young and old hearts.

  • Eating fish weekly cuts heart disease risk 90 percent in women 16-47.
  • DHA omega-3 fats in fish fight off dementia and Alzheimer’s. It also fuels sharper thinking at any age.
  • Fish keeps joints in the swim. Protects against osteoarthritis, which often hits knees hard.

The YOU Docs — Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic — are the authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

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