Health Benefits of Seafood

Salmon is one of the healthiest ways to get omega-3 acids in your diet

photo: superscheeli via Flickr

"Brain food," "low fat," "good protein," "heart-healthy," are all words we've heard to describe seafood. But there are also reports about some seafood that contains mercury, comes from polluted water, is irresponsibly produced or dangerously handled. With all of this competing information, we were left wondering, on balance, how healthy is our seafood?

 

Here are some simple facts based on recent research regarding the health benefits for you and your family, as well as a few areas of concern you should be aware of.

 

Whether you are eating fish, shellfish or for that matter, beef, chicken or pork, you need to make sure it's fresh when you purchase it, that it's been handled safely and prepared properly. That sounds pretty basic, but making sure your seafood has been responsibly sourced, safely handled and delivered fresh is one of the most important things you can do to make sure you get the most benefit from eating seafood.

 

According to a publication by Emily Oken, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, fish is a valuable component of the human diet. Fish is easily digestible and contains high-quality protein that provides a mix of essential amino acids that our bodies can't make themselves.

 

 Eating three ounces of salmon provides

1.5 grams of DHA and EPA, enough to

meet your requirements for three days.

 

 

While you're planning your meals to include more seafood, be mindful that some fish may be contaminated by environmental pollutants, notably methylmercury. Methylmercury is toxic to the nervous system, especially the developing brains of unborn babies, infants and young children. Coal-fired power plants are the most significant source of mercury that enters the ocean.

 

Because of the health risks for babies associated with methylmercury exposure, the United States Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency recommend that women of childbearing age, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers limit their intake of fish, and avoid all consumption of some types of fish higher in mercury (shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tile fish).

 

The EPA and the FDA have concluded that the following people should eat more fish that is lower in mercury for important developmental and health benefits:

 

Women of childbearing age (about 16-49 years old)

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Young children

 

The advice recommends that women and children eat two to three servings (8-12 ounces for adults and children over age 10, smaller amounts for younger children) of a variety of fish and shellfish each week.

 

All consumers can make healthy and sustainable food choices by choosing fish that is sourced sustainably and low in mercury.

 

If sustainable fish is not available, the EPA and the FDA have a quick reference guide to selecting fish lower in mercury.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Emily Oken, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute

 

 

 

FDA advice chart for choosing fish with lower mercury content.

Lighthouse Seafood is a family business, owned and operated by Tim and Heather O'Leary.

They have supplied Central Florida restaurants and residents with prime seafood for more than a decade.

Their commitment is to always have only the freshest seafood for your table.

Grouper  Snapper  Salmon  Shrimp  Tuna  Trout  Halibut  Cod  Stone Crabs  Blue Crabs

King Crab  Snow Crab  Clams  Oysters  Mahi  Swordfish  Florida Lobster  Maine Lobster

101 N. Country Club Rd.

Lake Mary, FL 32746

407.330.2425

8780 E CR 466

The Villages, FL 32162

352.751.1755