Fish and Diabetes

"Salmon" by Camilo Rueda Lopez
“Salmon” by Camilo Rueda Lopez licensed under CC BY 2.0

Fish is one of my favorite proteins to eat – it’s flavorful, full of nutrients including healthy fats, and easy to prepare. In fact diabetes experts recommend eating fish to improve cardiovascular because of the omega-3 fatty acids which have been show to decrease the risk of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeats) which can actually lead to sudden death.

If you haven’t had any experience with fish other than the frozen fish sticks at the super market, you’ve definitely been missing out! Fish does not require a lot of work to taste fantastic – a some herbs here and a dash of seasoning there and the natural flavors blend to make fish a great option for a diabetic diet!

Why Fish is Such a Great Choice for Diabetics!

Most fish have low amounts of unhealthy saturated and trans fat, as well as cholesterol. Instead the fat that it does contain is a natural source of heart-healthy omega-3, unsaturated fat which helps to lower total cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol in the blood. Another benefit for eating fish is that the protein is of high quality. Fish also lacks any carbohydrates so it will not cause a sudden spike in blood glucose. Also, most fish is cooks quickly and is an ideal choice for a quick and easy meal that everyone will enjoy.

How Many Servings of Fish Should I Eat?

It is recommended by the American Heart Association to eat fish high in omega-3 at least twice a week, with each serving being about 3.5 oz after cooking. Fish is a great replacement for red meat and poultry.

One caveat however is that larger sea fish should be limited because of the mercury levels. For women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, should limit their intake of fish that have high levels of mercury. The great thing however is that there is still a large selection of fish types that are low in mercury while still being high in omega-3, including salmon, anchovies, herring, trout, sardines, and mackerel!

One of my favorite ways to prepare fish is with a lot of Asian influence. I found a recipe on YoutTube that gives a quick rundown and explanation for a healthy, steamed white fish that packs knockout flavor! Full recipe was taken from Special Fork.

Steamed Fish with Ginger and Green Onions

1 fish filet (3/4 to 1 lb)
2 tbsp soy sauce (substitute for light soy sauce if desired)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh ginger, thinly cut lengthwise
Green onion, thinly sliced diagonally
3 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil (optional)

1. Add water to a steamer pot that is big enough to fit the fish filet
2. Cover steamer pot and heat over high, bringing the water to a boil; reduce heat until water is at a low roll
3. Place fish on a heatproof plate
4. Small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar (optional), and garlic; mix well and drizzle over the filet. Sprinkle with ginger and green onion.
5. Place fish filet and plate into the steam and steam for 8-10 minutes until the fish is no longer translucent. Ladle sauce over the fish

Heat in a pan 3 tbsp of olive oil and then pour over the fish – CAREFUL – the oil and liquid will splash! This adds extra flavor!


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