What is high in protein, protective of your heart, and beneficial for your brain - including mood, memory, cognitive skills, and healthy aging? Seafood! Seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, can also be high in calcium, vitamin D, selenium, and of course, fish oils, or omega-3 fatty acids.
Which seafood is best for your health? Fatty fish contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D; these include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and anchovies, among others. Swordfish is also high in omega-3s but controversial - High in mercury? Read more here. Sustainable? Find the right kinds of swordfish here.
Other healthful options: salmon and sardines have the highest calcium content when you eat the bones; tuna and halibut have the most selenium; cod and shrimp are highest in iodine. There are many options, and eating a variety is going to help you get a diversity of nutrients. Note that eating fish is better than taking fish oils; that will have to be a future blog. Health organizations and experts recommend eating seafood at least twice a week, with a 3 ½ ounce serving size. If you think fish is not affordable, consider your portion size, as you may be able to split your portion into two dinners.
Which seafood is best for the environment? There are good and bad options with both wild and farm raised fish. It’s clear that some waterways and marine life are overfished, and some fish farms are using antibiotics and pesticides. You really need to be informed! My go-to resource for sustainable seafood information is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program. With a robust website and easy to use app, this program helps you choose the best seafood for the environment; provides recipes so you can enjoy a variety of flavors (arctic char, rockfish, crab, clams and squid anyone?); and directs you to restaurants that offer sustainable options. If you still aren’t convinced that your seafood choices matter, check out the science-backed, research-based recommendations here.
Just One Thing to do: Eat fish at least twice a week for your health, and choose sustainable seafood for the health of our oceans.