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What is the healthiest source of animal protein for my diet?

Fish is the healthiest source of animal proteins by far. The American Heart Association recommends aiming for at least two 3-ounce servings of fish per week. Fish also contains important vitamins and minerals, in particular some of the B vitamins, as well as iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Saltwater fish supply iodine. Canned salmon, sardines and herring, with their soft, mostly edible bones, are also a good source of calcium.

Plus, fish have a unique polyunsaturated fatty acid called omega-3 that protects your heart, combats arthritis and depression, and even fights wrinkles. A study found that older people who eat fish at least once a week might reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by more than half.

In addition, a study from the University of Georgia found that omega-3 fatty acids prevented the development of fat cells in laboratory tissue cultures. That’s not the only way fish helps you maintain a healthy weight. In addition to having half the calories and fraction of the saturated fat of red meat, fish helps you feel full longer, and thus reduces overall caloric intake.

Want to enjoy the health benefits of fish but worried about mercury contamination? Then eat more pineapple, bananas, mangoes, papayas and guavas! Researchers looked at the dietary habits in the Brazilian Amazon, where people eat fish up to 700 times year, and found that those who ate tropical fruit at least once a day had 80 percent less mercury buildup in their systems.
Laura Russell
Nutrition & Dietetics
All animal protein will provide good sources of protein. If you can afford it, try to choose local, organic, anitibiotic-free meat if possible. Limit portion size to 3-4 oz. at a meal- "deck of cards" size. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.