"Eat your fish" may soon join forces with the adage "eat your vegetables."
Studies published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine support the possibility that fish may be "of special benefit to human health."
The first study, which tracked 852 men for 20 years in the town of Zutphen in the Netherlands, showed that mortality from coronary heart disease was more than 50 percent lower among those who consumed at least one ounce of fish per day than those who did not eat fish. "As little as one or two fish dishes per week" may help prevent coronary heart disease, the study concluded.
Two populations where the connection between fish consumption and low death rates from coronary heart disease has already been established are the Eskimos of Greenland and the Japanese. The amount of fish the Dutch men ate, however, was considerably lower than the amount eaten in either of the other two cultures.
In a second study, patients with hypertriglyceridemia (an elevation of triglycerides -- a fatty component of the blood -- which is a risk factor for heart disease) consumed a four-week diet containing salmon or fish oil. These patients had marked reductions in their triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels.
The results prompted the conclusion that fish and fish oils, which contain omega-3 fatty acids (fatty acids whose first unsaturated bond occurs between the third and fourth carbon), may be useful components of diets for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia.
The following express lane menu makes use of salmon, a fairly fatty fish which is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than most other fish. Other fish that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, herring, eel and sablefish.
A word on fresh fish: although canned salmon may be used for this recipe, efforts are under way to improve the fresh fish situation at some local supermarkets.
By the end of this year, Safeway plans to install 25 fresh seafood service counters in its metropolitan area stores. About a week and a half ago, the Georgetown Safeway opened its seafood service counter, and seafood counters in the chain's Columbia Road store in D.C. and Thayer Avenue location in Silver Spring are due to open in the next two weeks.
Giant Food, according to spokesman Barry Scher, has 15 full-service fresh seafood departments, and as part of the chain's ongoing fresh fish program, has plans to open two more full-service departments in the next two weeks. Scher said the chain operates 109 self-service fresh seafood departments.
You'll need butter or margarine and black pepper at home before heading for the supermarket.
EXPRESS LANE LIST: salmon, yogurt, dill, dijon mustard, cucumbers, lemons, bagels, sesame seeds or garlic. SALMON SALAD IN CUCUMBER BOATS
1 pound fresh salmon, poached or baked and cooled, or 15 1/2-ounces canned salmon
1/3 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon dijon mustard or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large cucumbers
Lemon wedges for serving
Flake cooked or canned salmon in a bowl. In another bowl, combine yogurt, dill, dijon and black pepper. Mix into flaked salmon until well combined.
To make cucumber boats, first peel cucumbers, then slice them horizontally. Scoop out seeds and discard. Scoop out all but a 1/2-inch wall of cucumber flesh. Coarsely chop the scooped-out flesh and mix with the salmon salad.
Spoon salmon salad into cucumber boats, garnish with lemon wedges and serve with bagel chips. SESAME OR GARLIC BAGEL CHIPS
2 plain bagels
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame seeds or 2 large cloves garlic, minced
Hold bagel vertically and with a sharp serrated knife, slice it crosswise into approximately 5 thin rounds. In a small saucepan, melt butter or margarine and stir in lemon juice and sesame seeds or garlic.
Brush both sides of bagel slices with butter mixture. Broil each side until golden brown. This should take about 2 minutes per side.