Seafood & Your Health

Posted on September 30th, 2019

As many of us know, the foods we eat can correlate to our overall health and wellbeing. Various types of foods and their nutrient counterparts can be beneficial to certain body parts, organs, and the prevention of certain diseases. Due to the protective benefits that certain foods can give us, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as a variety of whole-grain products. Today is all about the fish, so let’s DIVE right in!

Let’s Talk Fish

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two to three times per week due to its heart health benefits and many other protective agents. What kind of fish you may be asking? Cold-water fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines contain the highest amount of omega-3’s while other seafood such as shrimp, cod, bass, and tilapia contain lower levels. Not only does salmon contain these anti-inflammatory and heart health benefits, but your fishy friend also has 100% of your daily vitamin D requirements!

Life by the Ocean

Unfortunately, since we here in the Midwest don’t get the pleasure of living near the ocean, we tend to have a lack of fresh seafood consumption. Many of us don’t eat as much seafood to get our omega-3’s and other fish-eating benefits, so how do we do this? First off, increasing the consumption of a variety of seafood a few times a week and replacing fatty meat sources is a great place to start! Another way to get more seafood into your diet is to cook it how you enjoy. Having fun with the meals you are cooking makes the foods that more exciting! I don’t know about you, but when I get in the kitchen, I want to enjoy my time in there creating new things, not dreading the food I’m about to eat!

Omega-3 Benefits  

All the fish sources listed earlier contain varying amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which help prevent inflammation, boost brain function, and benefits cholesterol levels. Omega-3’s help increases our happy 😊 (HDL) cholesterol and lower the bad ☹ (LDL) cholesterol which aids in lower blood pressure and stroke risks. In addition, omega-3’s have been shown to reduce the risk of certain heart diseases such as hypertension and coronary artery disease. Overall, omega-3’s are very helpful for the general health of the heart, and making our heart happy is something to be proud of!

Salmon, not your thing? You’re in luck! Shrimp and cod are also extremely beneficial to our health and contain an array of protective properties. These two types of seafood are among the leanest proteins available. Shrimp specifically being high in iodine which is helpful in a healthy functioning thyroid. And who doesn’t love a good shrimp taco or two?!

Cooking Your Seafood

Fish can be cooked based on your preferences; it is so versatile! Whether it’s baked, air-fried, grilled, or pan-seared, the natural flavor of fish will complement almost any dish (and a big perk- it is quick & easy!) For a 20-minute meal on a busy weeknight or a fancy elaborate dinner for your spouse, this is one protein you won’t be able to mess up!

Here are some great ways to prepare your fish as well as some sides to enjoy in addition:

  • Broiled or baked cod with a side of roasted vegetables & pearl couscous
  • Salmon steaks with spicy sweet potatoes
  • Grilled shrimp tacos with red cabbage & onions
  • Lobster (can be purchased frozen & boiled) served over a fresh salad

About the Blogger:

My name is Shelbi Kulchinski and I am currently a dietetic intern at the University of Oklahoma. I will graduate from OU’s program in April 2020 and sit for the registered dietitian exam. Before starting my internship, I graduated with a bachelor’s in nutritional science in May 2019 from Northeastern State University. My hobbies are snuggling with my yorkie and cat while binge-watching Chicago P.D., powerlifting, cooking, gardening, and spending time with my family. My biggest passion is teaching others about the science of nutrition and hope to work as a clinical dietitian after graduation!

 

The information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy diet. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian’s opinions and recommendations are of their own; they are not paid to endorse any products.