There are a few common-sense pieces of advice that every health care professional or well-meaning friend has given at some point. Drink less. Use less salt. Eat more vegetables, less red meat, take fewer trips to the drive-thru and more exercise. We all know that added sugar and ingredients that we can’t pronounce should be avoided, and we should add more fresh fruits and vegetables for optimum health. But few people remember to advise you to add seafood to your diet.
In fact, unless you are lucky enough to live in a city with a thriving wharf or a die-hard pescatarian scene, you may not be aware of all of the benefits of eating more seafood. While you don’t have to give up all other forms of meat to get the benefits, adding a few servings of salmon or trout and other forms of seafood to your diet every week will have positive effects on your physical, mental, and environmental health.
15 Reasons to Eat Seafood
1. Great source of nutrition.
Seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart, brain and eye health. It is also a great source of vitamin D, iron, zinc, magnesium, and other minerals. Seafood is a wonderful source of lean protein which is great for everybody. Though many people are allergic to shellfish, the oceans still offer a healthy bounty that is as nutritious as it is delicious.
2. Part of a heart-healthy diet.
Eating fatty fish like sockeye salmon is a great source of healthy fats. Healthy fats are important to help keep your arteries clear. By adjusting your diet you lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, shellfish can also be part of a heart-healthy diet. This is because of their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. As always, of course, preparation is important. Stay away from methods of preparation that add salt, oil, or carbs.
3. Help treat and prevent depression.
Add shrimp and fatty fish to your diet to help prevent depression. Numerous studies link changes in diet to easing the symptoms of depression, increasing the effectiveness of anti-depressants, and preventing depression altogether. While no single thing will treat or cure depression, making lifestyle changes can help those who suffer from clinical depression. Of course, this and any other lifestyle changes should be discussed with your doctor.
4. An eco-friendly food source.
Well stocked ponds are part of an integrated, sustainable farm. Aquapods and other sustainable aquafarming techniques not only produce healthy harvests but reduces the strain put on traditional fishing areas. While most of the world’s seas are currently overfished, aquaculture can help us to preserve or even save certain species while meeting the demand for seafood.
5. Lower your risk of auto-immune disease.
Auto-immune disease occurs when your body’s immune system turns on healthy tissues in the body. conditions like lupus, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis are all examples of auto-immune diseases. Research suggests that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of type 1 diabetes in children and auto-immune diabetes in adults.
6. Better eyesight.
When you were a kid they told you to eat your carrots for better eyesight. It turns out that as we age, protecting our eyesight demands a more dramatic menu change. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of vision impairment for older adults. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps to prevent this condition. One study found that women who ate fish regularly were 42% less likely to develop AMD. Another found that eating fatty fish once a week led to a 53% decrease in your risk of developing neovascular AMD. So, don’t skip the carrots and be sure to add a little seafood to that plate as well.
7. Prevent asthma.
What does seafood have to do with asthma? Well, recent studies have shown that children who eat fish regularly have a nearly 25% decreased risk of developing the disease. There have been no confirmed benefits for adult asthmatics or those who have already developed the disease, but an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. So, encourage your little ones to eat more seafood.
8. Promote brain health.
All of us experience a loss of mental dexterity as we age. There are many things that we can do to mitigate the effects of age on our brains. One of those things is making a change in our diets. Adding a few servings of fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines every week has been shown to help people slow the rates of mental decline and has been linked with retaining gray matter. Gray matter is your brain’s most functional tissue, responsible for memory and regulating emotions.
9. Sleep better.
Having trouble getting quality sleep? Try decreasing your exposure to blue light, the kind used in most common electronics. Exercise and stress relief are also helpful to get a restful night’s sleep. There are a variety of reasons why you may be struggling to get a good night’s sleep, and just as many things that you can do to improve your sleep quality. Adding fish, such as salmon to your diet is one of them. In a study of 95 middle-aged men, they reported increased sleep quality and function after adding three servings of salmon to their diet every week.
10. Reduce your carbon footprint.
If you are a climate-conscious consumer, getting more of your dietary protein from the sea is one way you can reduce your carbon footprint. Many of the most popular kinds of seafood have a lower carbon footprint than beef or pork. You must also be careful about where your food is processed and how it is harvested. The added transport miles can eat up any environmental benefits you may have gained by making the switch. So find locally harvested fish.
11. You might lose a few pounds.
We are all fighting the battle of the bulge. even if you’re lucky enough to have hit your target weight, the fight to maintain it is never-ending. Adding seafood to your diet is one way to not only shed unwanted pounds but keep them off. Seafood is both nutritionally dense and low in calories. You’ll still have to be mindful of the way the food is prepared; breaded or deep-fried seafood will still contain excess carbs and fats.
12. Lower your risk for certain types of cancer.
You probably weren’t thinking about colorectal cancer when you ordered a shrimp scampi, but you should. Lowering your intake of red meat and processed meats links to lower rates of cancer. Choosing other lean protein sources helps you to make these necessary adjustments. Additionally, DHA snd EPA, the fats found in fatty fish, have been shown to reduce inflammation in the colon and improve colon cell function.
13. Reconnecting with nature.
Many people have sincere concerns about the condition of the meat they eat. They worry about the living conditions of the animals and the number of vaccines and chemicals used to treat them.
By now, most of us realize that the image of cows and chickens left to graze in wide-open pastures or neat barnyards are far from reality. Instead, the life of the meat we eat can be cramped, short, and cruel. Aquatic farms can be equally appalling, with overcrowded tanks and diseases and little government regulation. But there are other options.
You can go fishing! Fishing is a great way to reconnect with nature and helps to teach young children where food comes from. And you aren’t limited to what you catch on your line. You can find fish, shrimp. and other shellfish available at places where you can harvest them yourself from the wild.
14. Great source of lean protein.
Seafood is a great source of lean protein. Whether you are training for a marathon or simply trying to live a healthier lifestyle, finding reliable sources of lean protein is important. People who include sources like shrimp and shellfish to their diet not only cut calories but report greater satiety for longer after eating.
15. Adding variety to your diet.
The sea offers a plethora of dining options. You don’t have to worry about ever getting bored. By adding more seafood to your dining options you open yourself up to a whole new world of tastes, textures, and flavors. No more complaints about having chicken, again. Shrimp, shellfish, and heart-healthy fatty fish can all be prepared quickly at home and add excitement to even a basic dinner plan.
Final Thoughts: Shop for Fresh, Local Seafood and Reap the Healthful Benefits
Getting or staying healthy is always a good reason to make adjustments to your diet. When you begin looking for food that pleases both your palate and your local cardiologist, avoiding a diet high in red meat, bad fats, preservatives, and processed food is key. Making good choices about your meals can be both delicious and healthful.