Seafood tastes great, which is why a lot of people enjoy eating it. From having that boil-in-a-bag meal to dining in at a sushi restaurant, seafood can be enjoyed in many different ways. But apart from being a delicious food choice, did you know that seafood also offers a host of health benefits?
The health benefits of eating seafood are well-documented, and there’s a growing body of evidence to support the claim that seafood is good for you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the health benefits of eating seafood and dispel some of the myths about seafood.
Are All Seafood Good for the Health?
Before we get to the health benefits, let’s first tackle if all seafood is good for the health. Generally, most seafood is packed with nutrients and is considered healthy. But there are some types of seafood that contain higher levels of mercury, which can be harmful to your health. Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in the environment. It can enter into the food chain and eventually make its way into seafood.
While all seafood contains some mercury, there are types of fish and shellfish that contain higher levels than others. Some of these include swordfish, shark, tilefish, bigeye tuna, marlin, orange roughy, and king mackerel. Pregnant women and young children should avoid or at least limit eating these types of fish since mercury can be passed from the mother to the child and can cause developmental problems.
The good news is that there are plenty of other seafood options that are low in mercury and still offer plenty of health benefits. Most shellfish, including shrimp, crab, crawfish, and lobster, are low in mercury. Salmon, tilapia, catfish, and cod are also good options. So if you’re looking to get the health benefits of seafood without the mercury concerns, these are some good choices.
5 Benefits of Eating Seafood
Many health benefits have been associated with eating seafood. These include:
1. Excellent Source of Protein
Protein is an important macronutrient that helps with the growth and repair of tissues, making it essential for maintaining a healthy body. Unlike pork or beef, seafood is a leaner source of protein, meaning that it contains less saturated fat. This makes it a healthier option, especially for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
2. Contains Healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of healthy fat that has been shown to provide various health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and improving heart health. Seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and including it in your diet can help you get the recommended amount of this nutrient.
3. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Apart from omega-3, seafood is also a good source of other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D and B2 (riboflavin). It’s also a good source of iron, magnesium, iodine, and zinc. These nutrients are important for maintaining a healthy immune system, proper thyroid function, and strong bones. With so many nutrients packed into one food, it’s no wonder that seafood is often referred to as “brain food.”
4. May Help Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing this condition. One of them is to include seafood in your diet.
Studies have shown that eating seafood can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and preventing the formation of blood clots.
5. May May Boost Cognitive
Some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can also help improve brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, are some of the best sources of omega-3. So, if you’re looking for a way to boost your brain power, eating these types of fish may help.
While some seafood contains high levels of mercury, there are still plenty of seafood options that are low in mercury and offer plenty of health benefits. The benefits mentioned are just some of the many health benefits that have been associated with eating seafood. If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious way to improve your overall health, then be sure to include seafood in your diet. Just remember to choose options that are low in mercury to avoid any potential health risks.
It’s also good to note that fresh seafood is generally healthier than frozen since it contains more nutrients. The healthiest option is to eat seafood that has been caught fresh and is then either cooked or frozen within 24 hours. So, if you have access to fresh seafood, be sure to take advantage of it. Otherwise, frozen seafood is still a good option and can be just as healthy.