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SPOTLIGHT
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Extension reels in seafood at its best

Published on -2/28/2013, 10:21 AM

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It's delicious, it's healthful, and it's seldom available at a better price. It's seafood -- star of the Lenten season and a nutritious addition to the diet any time of year.

The American Heart Association recommends we try to have two servings of fish and seafood per week because it can have heart-health benefits. Salmon, tuna, trout and other types of finfish and shellfish contain varying amounts of omega-3 fats.

Omega-3 fats, which are a type of polyunsaturated fat, help relax the arteries and improve blood circulation to the heart, inhibit blood clotting and improve heartbeat. They lower triglycerides and blood pressure. They also keep the arteries open by discouraging the buildup of plaque in blood vessels.

Omega-3 fats have other health benefits -- and more are being discovered every day. Besides being good for the cardiovascular system, they've been linked with relieving arthritis symptoms, improved diabetes control and decreased cancer risk as well as a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other types of age-related cognitive decline.

You can learn more about the health benefits of fish and seafood at the free Extension educational program "Seafood At Its Best." It is being offered at four locations in Ellis County beginning next week:

* Ellis: At noon Monday, Ellis Library.

* Victoria: At 7 p.m. Tuesday, The Elms meeting room.

* Schoenchen: At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Community Center.

* Hays: At noon Wednesday, Extension office meeting room, 601 Main.

This program from the Ellis County Extension will explore the health benefits of eating seafood and tips for selecting, handling, storing and cooking fish and seafood. A seafood recipe booklet is included.

Plan to attend any session that meets your schedule and location preferences. All programs are free. Bring a lunch to enjoy during the noon programs if desired.

A minimum attendance is needed for each location, so pre-registration is important. RSVP two days in advance for each location to the Ellis County Extension at (785) 628-9430 or el@listserv.ksu.edu.

Fish is one of nature's original fast foods -- one of the few protein foods that does not require long cooking to tenderize. Instead, most varieties of fish and seafood can be cooked quickly and served right away.

However, many health benefits can be lost when fish and seafood are prepared with high-fat methods such as frying and deep-frying. Plan to attend the Extension program "Seafood At Its Best" for tips and techniques to make your seafood meals the most beneficial.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences. lbeech@ksu.edu

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