You're probably already aware that eating fish, such as salmon, is good for your heart. Other types of seafood aren't as impressive in terms of omega-3 fatty acids, but they can still be heart-healthy. Though squid isn't rich in omega-3s, it is low in fat, which is one reason it can still have a place in a heart-healthy diet. Squid also supplies certain nutrients that protect your heart, help keep your blood pressure normal and help keep your cholesterol within a normal range, all of which are reasons the seafood is a good choice in terms of your heart.
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Watching your intake of saturated fat is a smart move. When your diet is too high in saturated fat, you're putting yourself at an increased risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. Many types of seafood, including squid, can be low in saturated fat, provided that it's eaten fresh and not deep-fried. A 3-ounce serving of plain squid contains less than 1 gram of saturated fat, while the same amount of fried squid, usually called calamari, contains about 1.6 grams of saturated fat.
Sodium Isn't Too Bad . . . Or Is It?
Plain squid does contain some sodium since it lives in the salty environment of the ocean. A 3-ounce serving of plain squid has 37 milligrams of sodium, which is slightly less than 2 percent of your daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. If the squid is deep-fried, however, the sodium content increases to 260 milligrams per 3-ounce serving, which is 11 percent of your daily limit. If you're already on a low-sodium diet or have other risk factors, such as being over the age of 50, you should limit yourself to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, making these percentages higher. Too much sodium raises your blood pressure, putting you at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke.
A 3-ounce portion of plain squid supplies 209 milligrams of potassium. This is only about 4 percent of the 4,700 milligrams of potassium you need each day, but every little bit counts. Potassium encourages your heart to beat normally and helps keep your blood pressure low, the Linus Pauling Institute reports. That same serving of squid also contains about 1 milligram of vitamin E, which is 7 percent of the 15 milligrams you need each day. An article published in 2007 in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" noted that getting plenty of vitamin E might protect against heart disease because the vitamin protects your cells and makes them less susceptible to damage. The article notes, however, that vitamin E is more effective if taken with vitamin C.
Eating Squid in a Heart-Healthy Way
Because the vitamin E in squid is more efficiently used by your body when you also get plenty of vitamin C, squeezing lemon juice over cooked squid is a beneficial way to eat the seafood. Opt for baked, sautéed or grilled squid because it's lower in saturated fat and sodium than its fried counterparts. Add squid to seafood stew, or grill it and slice it over a chef salad in place of grilled chicken or turkey. Stuff cooked squid into corn tortillas and top with tomatoes and avocado for a different spin on the usual fish taco.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Mollusks, Squid, Mixed Species, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Mollusks, Squid, Mixed Species, Cooked, Fried
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol: Out With the Bad, In With the Good
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Heart Disease and Single Vitamin Supplementation
- American Heart Association: Sodium (Salt or Sodium Chloride)