from University of CA, Berkeley Wellness Letter, March, 2012

An article published last year in Neurology suggested one reason why people in the “stroke belt” states of the South have higher rates of stroke than other Americans is that they eat more fried fish.

A 2005 study linked frequent consumption of fried fish to a 44% increased risk of stroke.

A recent study published in the journal Circulation:  Heart Failure found that eating fried fish at least once a week indicated a 48% higher risk of heart failure.

But if you bake or broil the same fish—it’s good for your heart.  The most recent study, which measured only women participants, found that eating five or more servings a week of baked/broiled fish over a 10-year period yielded a 30% reduced risk of heart failure, compared to women who ate less than one serving a month.

Fattier fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring, have abundant, highly protective, heart-healthy omega-3 fats.

                      Reasons Why Deep Fried Fish Are Unhealthy

1)  The fish most often deep-fried–haddock, cod, catfish and other white fish–are low in omega-3s, whether broiled or fried.

2)  Frying destroys some omega-3s in all fish.

3)  Oils heated to high temperatures form potentially harmful compounds, particularly when they’re reused over long periods, as is common in fast-food and other restaurants.

4)  Many restaurants still fry with partially hydrogenated oils or beef tallow, both of which affect cholesterol adversely.

Additionally, eating deep fried foods is a marker for generally unhealthy choices in several areas, such as other foods, activity levels and smoking.

Pan-frying/sautéing is preferred to deep-frying.  Don’t add the fish until the oil is hot.

Olive oil is better for sautéing than corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower and canola oils.

Don’t bread the fish; breading absorbs more oil.

Use fresh oil every time you fry.

My Take on fried fish:  I much prefer baking fish covered in the microwave.  It’s easy, and it comes out so moist.

I marinate my fish for an hour in olive oil, garlic and lemon or lime juice.  (Because fish is so tender, the acid in the juice begins to “cook” the fish if marinated longer.)

I drain the marinade and then bake according to microwave instructions.

After baking, I drain the fish again and add a prepared sauce before serving.  (If you add the sauce before baking, it gets watery from the juices that escape from the fish.)

As you may have guessed from the parentheses above, I’ve made my share of mistakes in learning how to microwave bake one of my favorite foods.


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