10 Benefits of Eating Seafood
article & photos by renata haidle
According to MyPlate, the nutrition guide published by USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, we should all be eating at least eight ounces of seafood every week. Several studies including hundreds of thousands of participants reinforce this recommendation, based on seafood’s many health benefits.
1. Fish and shellfish are a great source of lean protein. Proteins are essential for many physiological processes, from building muscles and bones, to producing enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.
2. DHA and EPA, the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood, seem to protect against heart disease by preventing arrhythmic episodes, decreasing blood pressure, improving blood vessel function, and lowering triglycerides.
3. A large percentage of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Abundant in salmon, herring, and sardines, this vitamin is essential to calcium metabolism, ensuring strong teeth and bones, as well as increasing immunity.
Grilled Salmon with Steamed Veggies
4. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown some ability to fight depression in certain individuals.
5. Seafood contains high levels of selenium, an important mineral which protects against oxidative stress, reduces inflammation, and improves immunity.
6. Enhanced memory function is another benefit of eating seafood thanks to the above-mentioned omega-3 acids as well as vitamin B12, present in shellfish such as oysters, mussels, shrimp, and lobster.
7. Zinc and copper are trace minerals essential for a healthy metabolism. Lobster, crab, and oysters provide significant amounts of these nutrients. Two oysters can provide the entire recommended daily dose of zinc and copper. Copper is important in red blood cell production and iron absorption, while zinc helps with immunity and wound healing, and ensures a normal sense of taste and smell.
8. Fish and shellfish are relatively low in calories, especially when compared to other types of meat, which makes them very popular with individuals who are trying to lose weight.
9. Salmon contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which appears to lower LDL cholesterol, protect the brain from inflammation, and even improve skin hydration and elasticity, making it appear younger. Sockeye salmon provides the highest amount of astaxanthin.
Spicy Tuna Sushi
10. Seafood is very versatile - it can be eaten broiled, baked, canned, sautéed, grilled, or in some cases even raw, offering a variety of flavors and textures.