Prevent type 2 diabetes by eating fish high in omega-3

Published on: 04/13/2021
cooked salmon filet

Eating more cold water ‘oily fish’ has been proven to help in prevention of diabetes for people who have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Looking for answers on what to eat to prevent type 2 diabetes?

A recent report in the January Diabetes Care journal, talks about a large study showing how eating oily fish could significantly lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This observational study of almost 400,000 people in the United Kingdom without diabetes or heart disease found that those who ate 1, 2 or more servings of oily fish per week had a 22% lower rate of type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate no oily fish.

More Health Benefits:

The American Heart Association already recommends eating seafood or oily fish 1-2 times a week to reduce chance of heart problems such as heart attack and stroke, so this study is just another reason to enjoy these fish more often!

Plus – omega-3 fats are good for the brain, can help depression, chronic dry eye, and macular degeneration.

What kinds of fish are considered oily fish?

Cold water oily fish would include those high in omega-3 fats, such as salmon, anchovies, herring, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Other fish, such as our favorite Minnesota walleye are good for you too but did not show this diabetes prevention benefit.

Diabetes is one of those chronic health conditions that create inflammation in the body.  Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation. That means eating more oily fish could help all kinds of other health problems caused by inflammation also, such as arthritis.

What if I don’t like fish? Fish oil supplements might be better than nothing, but in the study, there was only a 9% lower risk of diabetes, compared to the 22% with eating the fish.

What about the danger of mercury in tuna?  Choose light tuna or skipjack tuna instead of albacore to minimize exposure to mercury. Maybe have tuna once a week and include other varieties of oily fish for your other 1-2 fish meals.

Ways to enjoy eating more fish: I have to admit, I don’t eat fish weekly like I should, especially in the winter.  So that’s my challenge over the next few weeks is to try some new fish recipes.  If you are not eating fish weekly, I would recommend planning it into your meals once a week to start and then work your way up to 2 or 3 times a week.

If you like to grill try my favorite, super easy way to make lake trout or salmon filets is on a cedar plank.

Just buy a cedar plank, soak it for several hours in water so it doesn’t start on fire. Place your filet of fish on the plank, skin side down, season with your favorite flavors and grill for 12-15 minutes. My favorite flavoring is to sprinkle with salt & pepper and then spread a mixture of honey and brown mustard over the salmon before grilling.

Another season mixture I used for grilling our Lake Superior trout fillets on the cedar plank is a fish rub: 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and ¼ tsp cayenne.

Now that you know it can help you prevent type 2 diabetes it’s time to start enjoying fish more often as part of your weekly meal plan! It’s also a great source of lean protein for your weight loss plan.

One 3.5 oz portion (about the size of a deck of cards) is under 150 calories and provides about 20 grams protein and ZERO carbs.

For more meal ideas using canned fish check out this blog article.

Need more meal planning help? Contact Karen for information on her programs that help you create your own custom meal plan!


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Thanks for visiting my blog!

I’m Karen, a diabetes nutrition specialist who is passionate about fighting diabetes for my clients, my family, and myself.

I hope you find food ideas and answers to some of your questions here in my articles. But if you are looking for more personalized help with nutrition or diabetes please check out my services page.

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