Mediterranean Style Eating Includes Fish, Nuts and Seeds for Protein

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The Mediterranean style eating pattern incorporates the basics of healthy eating that are traditionally practiced in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Eating the Med Way, which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 60%.

According to the American Heart Association, adults should strive for two 3.5-ounce servings of fish each week. The best choices are oily fish with large doses of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects that might help counter the hardening of arteries that can lead to a heart attack. These fats may also make the blood less prone to clotting, while high doses can help lower triglycerides- a type of blood fat. Four ounces of salmon each week provides adults with the recommended daily intake of omega-3, around 250 milligrams. But eating fried fish may not have the same benefits. Two studies involving more than 90,000 Americans found that people who ate fried fish at least once a week were up to 48 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who rarely fried their seafood.

Seafood does contain mercury. Pregnant women and young children should avoid certain large fish that are high in mercury — such as shark, swordfish and king mackerel. But for most adults, the benefits of eating fish outweigh any potential harms associated with mercury.

To summarize, the recommendation is eat fish and seafood two to three times per week (3–4 ounce servings). Make at least one serving a high-fat fish such as salmon. Eat fried fish only occasionally.

Here are a few favorite recipes to get you started:

Southwestern Style Mahi Mahi

Serves 4

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound mahi mahi fillets

1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix together the cumin, salt, paprika, chili powder and garlic and rub over the fish. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to a hot pan. Add fish to pan and cook for 2 – 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from heat and serve.

Tilapia with Ginger Soy

Serves 4

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Juice of 1 lemon

1” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

½ bunch green onions, thinly sliced

4 tilapia filets

Preheat the broiler. For the glaze, combine all ingredients except fish. Toss the dish in the glaze to coat. Place the fish on a baking sheet and spoon any remaining glaze over. Broil for about 6 minutes. The mayonnaise will brown slightly and form a light crust on the fish.

This pesto is great on salmon and other fish. Spread over the top of fish and bake at 375 degrees for 4 minutes, then broil the top for another 3 minutes or so, depending on how thick the fish is. The fish will continue to cook once you take it out of the oven, so take out before desired doneness.

Pesto

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves and tender stems

1—3 cloves garlic

1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts or pecans (toasted)

3—6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

Finely chop these ingredients in a food processor.

1/3—1/2 cup olive oil

Add gradually while the food processor runs to make a thick paste. Use fresh, or make into balls and freeze on a cookie sheet and freeze. Place in a freezer bag, microwave to thaw as needed.

Written By

Photo of Margie Mansure, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionMargie MansureExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences - Nutrition and Foods (828) 264-3061 (Office) margie_mansure@ncsu.eduWatauga County, North Carolina
Updated on May 21, 2018
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