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Hooked on salmon
One healthy fish, three delicious ways

Meet salmon, the super food

The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other seafood like tuna and sardines are good for your heart in a variety of ways. For starters, they help protect against a heart attack by preventing the buildup of artery-clogging plaque and reducing triglyceride levels in the bloodstream. Omega-3s also block certain electrical discharges in the heart that can lead to irregular heartbeats. The American Heart Association now recommends eating two fish meals (particularly fatty fish like salmon) a week.

Wild vs. farm-raised

Although farm-raised salmon (fish that’s grown in a controlled environment) has higher levels of PCBs—an environmental pollutant—than wild salmon, many experts stop short of recommending one type over the other. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the PCB levels in farm-raised fish are still low—about the same you’d find in meat and dairy products—and the benefits of eating fish, even farm-raised fish, outweigh its risks. Both farm-raised and wild salmon contain about the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids, but because farm-raised fish is generally more available, it may be less expensive.

Looking for a food that can cut your risk of heart disease, stroke and even high blood pressure? How about one that tastes great, is easy to prepare and can be cooked a dozen different ways?

Then cast your net for salmon, a fish with a meaty texture and bold flavor that’s low in saturated fat and rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And don’t be afraid to experiment—salmon is versatile and can withstand creative seasonings and various cooking techniques.

  1. Grill it. With their thick texture, salmon steaks are made for the grill. Marinate salmon steaks in a mixture of low-sodium soy sauce, ginger and garlic or simply brush them with oil. To prevent sticking, coat the rack with vegetable oil spray before preheating. Fish is done when it flakes easily. Serve with a fruit salsa made with chopped mango, cantaloupe or pineapple; cilantro; lime juice; and a little jalapeño pepper for a kick.
  2. Bake it. With thinner cuts of salmon, like fillets, opt for the oven’s less-intense heat—the fish will stay more moist than if it’s cooked over an open flame. For a zesty flavor, coat the fillets with a mixture of Dijon mustard, a touch of olive oil and a drizzle of lemon; add fresh-snipped chives or dill before serving. For a sweeter taste, baste the fish with maple syrup and add chunks of fresh fruit such as peaches.
  3. Poach it. Poaching—or simmering the fish in liquid—works well for fillets or a whole salmon. Remember: the more flavorful the liquid, the more flavorful the fish. Add white wine, broth, lemon, onion or herbs like dill, peppercorns, a bay leaf and parsley to the pan.

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