Health benefits of eating seafood

Seafood is good for you. No, scratch that. Seafood is great for you. Cold-water, deep sea fish are an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (good fats). The fatty acids in particular, which many people are lacking from their diet, are Omega-3 fatty acids. They help protect against heart disease, and ensure proper functioning of the skin, nervous system, and brain. In fact, most of the health benefits that seafood provides are due to the abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids. The other nutrition factors of fish—high protein and low fat—make them a great choice of food. Many people are worried about the mercury content of some fish, but there is evidence that the health benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risks of mercury; only some fish have high mercury contents. There has been plenty of research on eating seafood and the results are conclusive: seafood is one of the best sources of fat, protein, calories, and other nutrients. Surprisingly, eating seafood just twice a week is enough to get these health benefits. Let’s take a look at the range of health benefits available from eating fish.

Omega-3’s Health Benefits
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, pollock, catfish, mackerel, sardines, oysters, anchovies, rainbow trout, and tuna. The benefits provided by the omega-3 fatty acids present in seafood are incredible. It is very important to get this fatty acid in through the diet because the body cannot make them. Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Help maintain cardiovascular health by regulating blood clotting and blood vessel dilation and restriction. For this reason, the heart is protected from disease and any heart beating abnormalities.
  • Neurological development. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for neurological development both in the womb and throughout all of life.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3s reduce and alleviate the pain associated with inflammation in arthritic conditions. It is also helpful in other inflammatory conditions, such as inflammation of the skin.
  • Prevent spread of cancer. This is true for some cancers, particularly breast cancer. Omega-3s boost the immune system, and that is the main reason for this.
  • Mental stability. Omega-3 consumption is associated with a lower risk of depression and mental decline in the elderly.
  • Benefits for the infant. Although consuming fish during pregnancy should be done with caution, there are health benefits to be had from it, particularly for the child. The Omega-3s are vital for infant development.

Other Health Benefits of Eating Seafood

  • Low in fat. Fish generally has less than 5% fat. It is lower in saturated and total fat than most meats.
  • Low cholesterol. Seafood has very little cholesterol, minus a few exceptions: prawns, squid, and shrimp.
  • Boosts the immune system. Some varieties of fish have high levels of Vitamin A, C, D, and E, which all have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight for the immune system by defending it against damaging free radicals. An immune system boost is beneficial against many diseases.
  • Great source of vitamin D. Many people are lacking vitamin D from their diet; not at all uncommon in North America. Vitamin D is important for strong bones. Fatty fish are excellent sources of vitamin D. A serving could provide 90% of the day’s recommended amount.
  • Healthy skin and eyes. Many types of fish are rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin.

Don’t worry about the mercury. Only in some fish should you worry about high levels of mercury. The types of fish that do have high levels are large ocean-dwelling fish like swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. Eat a variety of fresh seafood and you won’t even have to worry about it!

Last updated on Oct 22nd, 2010 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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