The Greenland Inuit eat an incredibly high-fat diet with few vegetables, yet their rate of heart disease is stunningly low. Chalk it up to all the fatty fish they eat: The staple food in their diet is fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard by now that omega-3s fend off heart disease — something that could be right around the corner if your blood sugar is stuck in overdrive. It’s no wonder fish makes our list of Magic foods.
A study at the Harvard School of Public Health found that women with diabetes who ate fish just once a week had a 40 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than did women with diabetes who ate fish less than once a month.
But omega-3s do more than protect your heart. They also quell inflammation in the body, a major contributor to numerous chronic diseases of aging, including insulin resistance and diabetes. It may even play a role in brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s as well as certain cancers.
Of course, fish is also a protein food, and protein foods have virtually no impact on blood sugar. We suggest that you aim to eat fish for dinner once or twice a week when you might otherwise have chicken or beef. Make it baked, broiled, pan-fried, stewed, or grilled. Just don’t make it fast food or deep fried, like fish and chips or a fish sandwich. Loaded with bad-for-you fats, this fare just isn’t the same kettle of fish. One study found eating fried fish and fish sandwiches offered no heart benefits at all.
All fish contain some omega-3s, but fatty types such as albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines are richest in them.
While the strongest proof of the health benefits of fish points to the heart, there’s also plenty of research showing that food with fins can cut the risk of prostate cancer and help maintain brain power as you age. There’s also evidence that fatty fish may help defend against depression.
Glycemic Load: Very low
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