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Whether it is a bowl of bouillabaisse in France, a plate of sushi in Japan, or fried flying fish in the Caribbean, fish and seafood play an important role in nearly every world cuisine. Countries with close access to the sea have built their diets and many forms of industry around the offerings of the ocean, and even residents of landlocked regions have turned to lakes, streams, and tributaries for freshwater additions to their cultures, the Egyptians used fish as both food and a symbol in basic arithmetic.

A reliable source of lean protein, seafood has almost always been considered a "healthy" part of a balanced diet. However, research in the later part of the last century has confirmed that seafood is in many ways a nutritional powerhouse, offering several nutritional necessities not easily obtained through other dietary sources. Fish and seafood therefore, when prepared properly, can be an invaluable part of a healthy and rounded diet.
  Why Fish? 
Fish and seafood are sources of lean protein, meaning that they offer plenty of protein (essential for building healthy muscles, tissues, hair and nails) without the addition of artery clogging saturated fats. Indeed, most varieties contain almost no saturated fat at all and those that do generally have less than 2 or 3 grams per 3oz. serving. Nearly all seafood, with the exception of some varieties, like mackerel, contains less than 200 calories per 3oz. serving, with many falling between only 100-150 calories. Fish also have a surprising low cholesterol content, and are a good dietary substitution for fattier items like red meat.

Even more promising is the amount of omega-3 fatty acids some fish can provide to the diet. Omega-3s are a kind of heart healthy unsaturated fat, most often found in oily fish like salmon, sea bass, and tuna. Inefficiently produced by the human body, the majority of Omega-3s must be obtained through dietary sources. An essential nutrient, they play an important role in overall physical health - they are a key player in brain and retina development, and have powerful anti-inflammatory properties within the human body. Injuries and chronic illness, like heart disease or arthritis, are often manifested and/or aggravated by internal inflammation; damage done to the arteries and tissues during periods of swelling can permanently effect anatomy and increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, and even cancer. The immune system uses the soothing effects of Omega-3's to control the inflammatory response, reducing the risk of life-threatening illnesses and treating the symptoms of chronic illness. Additionally, new research has shown that Omega-3's can be helpful in treating and preventing depression and other mood disorders. Salmon, tuna, artic char, sea bass, herring, mackerel, anchovy, catfish, sole, tilapia and trout, as well as other seafood like shrimp or clams, can all contribute Omega-3's to the diet.

Fish, however, like any other "healthy" food item, can lose their healthful properties when prepared through methods like deep frying or when smothered in creamy, fattening sauces. Try baking, grilling, poaching, smoking, steaming, stewing or stir-frying as healthier alternatives.

But I hate how fish smells!

Regardless of how health-minded you may be, no one enjoys the powerful fishy aroma that can fill a house when making certain seafood. Fish have special molecular compounds that break down when exposed to open air (like during cooking), releasing the pungent aromas; luckily, there are ways to combat the scent. First of all, it is vital to always use very fresh fish when available. Develop a relationship with your local fishmonger or supermarket, they can help direct you to the freshest varieties and best offerings available that day. In preparing fish, whether fresh or frozen, wash the surface carefully before cooking; this helps to rinse away natural chemicals that can release odor when cooking. Preparing in a covered pan, enclosing fish in a pastry dough, like phyllo, or baking/cooking in a tin-foil pouch all protect fish from the air and prevent the fishy smell from being released, open air baking or frying can actually can deliver odor right into your kitchen. Poaching fish in an acidic liquid, like wine or tomato broth, also breaks down chemicals and keeps the home smelling fresh. 
-  Pair smoked salmon with bagels, artisan breads and spreads, or
-  delicate herb omelets for a breakfast/brunch omega-3 fix.
-  Poach filleted fish in white wine with tomatoes, onion/shallot, and
-  basil for a quick and elegant dinner.
-  Grill filleted fish like catfish or snapper with a bit of fresh lime juice
-  for a flavorful entree, or use tuna and/or salmon burgers as part of a BBQ inspired dinner.
-  Lightly bread fillets with seasoned whole-grain breadcrumbs for a crisp, fun, and kid-friendly alternative to fried fish.
-  Saute calamari in garlic and olive oil for an easy appetizer.
-  Rub whole fish with rock salt and stuff with roasted garlic and/or herbs like chervil for an impressive, healthy entree in less than 20 minutes.
-  Cook fish on a wooden plank or board over scented wood chips, like hickory or cedar, to a smokey, earthy flavor even the pickiest eaters can enjoy.
-  Turn to world cuisine or ethnic cookbooks for recipes that keep seafood out of a rut: Spanish ceviche, Mexican inspired fish tacos, Asian shrimp stir-fry, or Italian zuppa di pesce are all flavorful alternatives to ho-hum fish dinners.
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