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Seafood & Health

Seafood & Health
Photo credit: John Kaneko

Fish is good for you. It is a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. It has high nutritional quality. This has led to the traditional knowledge that fish is brain food and good for your health, and also good for the heart.

Seafood is a source of high quality protein and most types are low in total fat, saturated fat and sodium. Ocean fish are also known to contain other nutrients important to maintaining good health including minerals (selenium, potassium, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium) and vitamins (niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12).

Seafood is the primary source of health promoting long chained omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Evidence suggests that omega-3’s provide benefits to the developing infant including full term pregnancy, greater birth weight, better visual acuity, and improved cognitive development. For the general population and for those at risk for coronary heart disease, there is strong evidence to suggest that the risk of heart disease is reduced when fish is included in the diet.

Many ocean fish are known to be a rich source of selenium. Ocean fish represent 17 of the top 25 food sources of selenium in the American diet according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Selenium has essential functions as a component of the antioxidant system vital to protecting the brain and other sensitive organs. There is also strong evidence to suggest that selenium boosts the immune system, has anti-inflammatory effects, boosts the beneficial antioxidant effects of Vitamin E and even detoxifies mercury.

Observational studies continue to support the conclusion that seafood is good for your health. The average American consumer eats less than one meal of fish per week. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 fish meals per week for heart health. People in Japan eat nearly 10 times more seafood than the average American and have longer life expectancy, and lower rates of heart disease and some cancers. Is high fish consumption responsible? Scientists are actively pursuing the answers.

Photo credit: John Kaneko

For nutrient information in each fish type, click on the links below:

Bigeye, Yellowfin, Albacore, Skipjack

Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Shortbill Spearfish, Broadbill Swordfish

Other Ocean Species:
Mahimahi, Wahoo, Moonfish, Sickle Pomfret

Long-tail Red Snapper, Pink Snapper, Blue-Green Snapper, Sea Bass