Which types of fish are good for my heart?

A selection of oily fish

BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:

It’s recommended that we should all be eating at least two portions of fish a week, including at least one of oily fish. Oily fish provides us with a type of omega-3 that we can’t get from other foods, and this may help to keep your heart healthy.

Oily fish tend to naturally have coloured or darker flesh (ignore the colour of the skin) – think salmon, trout, pilchards or sardines.

The exception to this is tuna, which until recently was classed as an oily fish when it was eaten fresh. But a recent review by Public Health England found that it doesn’t contain the high levels of polyunsaturated fats of other oily fish.

It’s now classed as a white fish, alongside cod, plaice, haddock, pollock or hake. That doesn’t mean it’s bad for you, just that you should make sure you get another portion of oily fish in your diet.

This could be sardines on toast, mackerel salad or baked salmon with peas and potatoes. Fresh, frozen or tinned all count.

Whether oily or white, fish is a great source of protein and contains a range of vitamins and minerals.

Eating more fish can also help you to cut down on red and processed meat. The traditional Mediterranean-style diet, which is associated with a lower risk of heart and circulatory diseases, includes plenty of fish along with beans and lentils as sources of protein.

Victoria Taylor Meet the expert

Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with more than 20 years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. At the BHF she advises on diet and nutrition.


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