Shedding unwanted pounds is no easy feat. Despite the astounding number of diet plans that claim to help you lose pounds safely and quickly, the most tried and tested way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than what you burn. That means making changes in your diet and eating habits, as well as adding exercise to your daily routine.

Fish makes an excellent addition to your weight loss plan. Here are just some of the reasons why.

#1 Fish is a high protein, low fat food.
Fish is an excellent source of high quality protein. Yet unlike any other animal protein. Fish contains fewer calories and saturated fat. Replace your usual serving of pork, beef or poultry with fish. Start by replacing one meat-based dish with fish in the first week, then gradually move up to serving fish dishes two to three times a week. To gain its health promoting benefits, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times a week. The Journal of Clinical Nutrition also reports that the protein in fish can help control appetite, making you eat less food and take in fewer calories.

#2 Fish contains healthy fat.
Fish is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients essential for proper brain and heart function. Two types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in fatty fish. EPA and DHA are found to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, lowers cholesterol triglyceride levels, as well as help prevent cardiac arrhythmia, blood clots, atherosclerosis and inflammation.

In addition to its heart health benefits, omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to assist in weight loss. Researchers at the University of South Australia found that people who took fish oil and exercised three times a week showed a decrease in body fat percentage and an average weight loss of 2kg or 4.5 pounds. Researchers concluded that omega-3 fatty acids help improve the flow of blood to the muscles during exercise and stimulates enzymes which carry fat to where it can be used for energy.

#3 Fish is versatile.
Fish are pretty versatile and straightforward to cook. Low fat fish are best poached, steamed or baked with vegetables or in a sauce to help keep the fish moist. ON the other hand, fatty fish is safe to be prepared using dry heat methods, such as broiling, grilling and baking. Citrus fruits naturally enhance the flavor of fish, as well as herbs like dill, basil, tarragon, parsley and thyme

If you want to reap the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, the best way is to bake or broil them instead of eating them fried, salted or dried. This is according to a research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. Frying adds an unhealthy amount of fat and calories to your meal, while salted and dried fish contain too much salt that can cause water retention in your body.

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