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The Benefits of Seafood Consumption

May 14, 2015
River scene

A couple of years ago, I had an article on Got Nature? about the benefits of eating recreationally caught fish from waters in the state of Indiana. I’d like to expand on that and talk about the consumption of seafood in general as there seems to be a lot of confusion as to what seafood is healthy or harmful. This is particularly important as the USDA has advised that we should be consuming approximately 2 meals per week (8 ounces) of seafood as part of a healthy diet. One of the best sources of information on seafood consumption is the University of Idaho's Seafood at Its Best web site.

Given the brief nature of this blog and the complexity of the subject of seafood consumption, I will try and give some general advice and examples as to what to look for when choosing seafood as part of a healthy diet. The first generalization is that all seafood is good with the exception of a very few species and sources. Seafood is nutrient dense, being low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein, vitamins and minerals. There are a few species which are known to contain high levels of mercury (tilefish, sharks, swordfish and king mackerel). Likewise, recreationally caught fish from certain regions listed in advisories should not be considered healthy. When you consider the diversity of seafood this is a very same minority.

There are varying degrees of benefits associated with different types of seafood. Perhaps the most publicized is the heart healthy benefit of eating fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies. Although other fish may not contain as many Omega 3’s, they are still going to be nutrient dense and part of a healthy diet. One of the most popular and most misunderstood is tilapia. For full post view Got Nature?.

Resources:
The Global Aquaculture Alliance
The Marine Stewardship Council 
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
Fishing Guide and Regulations, Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
Tilapia, The Education Store
Fish4Health (iOS app), The Education Store
Aquatic Science‚Äč, The Education Store
The Truth about Tilapia, Fox News
Recreational fishing and fish consumption‚Äč, Got Nature?

 

Bob Rode, Aquaculture Research Lab Manager
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

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