Thursday, February 5, 2015

February is Heart Month - how are you taking care of yours?

In a lengthy article in the Chicago Tribune this week, they talked about all the good things that you can do for your heart. It included advice about exercise, and lots of diet suggestions about eating fresh vegetables and avoiding processed foods, especially things with lots of salt and sugar in them
     Buried in the middle of all this good advice was one line, saying that cardiologists recommend that their patients eat the fish high in omega-3s at least twice a week. They mentioned salmon, herring and sardines. I'd like to add ahi tuna, albacore tuna, mussels and rainbow trout, all good sources of omega 3s..
     A cardiology practice near our Glenview store approached us a couple of years ago to do a cooking class for some of their patients, because they wanted them to eat more fish. Their patients' biggest complaint was that they (or their spouse) didn't know how to cook fish, so they only ate it when dining out.
     We held the class in the store, which was a bit cramped for the 18 patients and 5 doctors who came. We showed them how to make simple recipes, like Ruby Red Rainbow Trout with Pecan Crust - as well as letting them taste our prepared entrees that are heart healthy, like our Au Jardin and Provencal Papaillotes.
     The heart patients were literally moaning with pleasure. One man said if he could have fish that good, he'd eat it every night.
     For some unknown reason, the media in the US tiptoes around the issue of fish being good for heart health. Cardiologists WANT their patients to eat more fish. The media tells us to be afraid of mercury (see my last post).
     Countries with the greatest longevity in the world are mostly places where fish is a big part of the local diet. In the top 10: Japan (where they eat fish several times a day), Singapore, Hong Kong, San Marino, Iceland, Italy, Sweden and Australia, all nations where fish features on the menu many times a week. The two exceptions on the list - Andorra, a tiny nation in the Pyrenees, and Switzerland, where they eat fresh water fish, but not like in the other countries on the list.
     Of course, other things figure into these country's longevity stakes - like good national healthcare systems, greater exercise, better over-all diet.
     Where does the US come on the list? 36th.
     Ask yourself, in a country where heart disease kills more men and women than anything else, why aren't we emulating the diet of countries where people live a lot longer than we do?
     This year, the best thing you can do for your Valentine is vow to make sure you eat more fish. If you don't know how to cook it, ask us - it cooks quickly, and when it's really fresh, it's possibly the tastiest thing you can eat. We have lots of simple, heart-healthy recipes on our web site - check them out at
     Give the people you love the gift of good health for Valentine's Day - encourage exercise, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a lot more fish than red meat. Their hearts will be grateful.

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