During the summer months, Alaska’s salmon head toward freshwater with fishermen in tow– and rightfully so. This nutrient-rich fish is ideal for those searching for a heart-healthy and more balanced diet, packing a lean 230 calories and 26 grams of protein in a 3.5 oz. filet. Unlike other sources of protein, salmon is not high in saturated fat, making it optimal for those concerned about heart health.

Diets rich in salmon hold many health benefits, in part due to salmon’s high content of omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fatty acid not only benefits the hearts of healthy people but those at risk of or suffering from cardiovascular disease. For example, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids have the potential to decrease the risk of arrhythmia (also known as abnormal heartbeat), a condition that can lead to sudden death. By including fish in your diet more regularly, you’ll help lower your blood pressure and heart rate while reducing inflammation and the risk of blood clotting.

Take care of your heart with omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are “essential” fatty acids, meaning the human body cannot make them, and we must obtain them from our diet. The American Heart Association recommends you eat salmon and other fatty acid-rich fish at least twice per week to help reduce the risk of heart disease and its effects. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to adjust your diet to incorporate foods that are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish are a great source of this key nutrient, with salmon, trout, sardines, and tuna containing the highest levels of omega-3.

Not a fan of fish?

Several other foods are known to contain high levels of the fatty acid. Many leafy vegetables, nuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, and vegetable oils are wonderful sources of omega-3 and add flavor, texture, and nutrients to your meals. Add nuts to your cereal, yogurt, salad, or rice dishes, or swap your packaged salad dressing with walnut oil and vinegar. If you’re a snacker, munch on fresh or steamed edamame and get the benefits of both omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Considering supplements?

Omega-3 supplements have been shown to reduce sudden death in those with heart disease, but the research is not conclusive. And for those without heart disease, there isn’t much evidence that supplementation is beneficial. Because many foods are now supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids, you might be at risk of getting too much when you supplement. Always consult your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine if supplements would be beneficial for you.

Bottom line, food is best when it comes to getting heart-healthy nutrients. Take charge of your heart health this summer and enjoy our fresh, bountiful, omega-3 rich Alaska salmon.