Those struggling with food insecurity face the burden of not only getting enough to eat, but also accessing nutrient-rich foods that promote good health and help reduce the risk of chronic disease. Seafood contains high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals, and is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Only 1 in 5 Americans eat seafood twice per week, as recommended by the USDA. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women worldwide. Heart disease and stroke cause 30 percent of all deaths globally, and 800,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
Seafood is lifesaving. According to a Harvard study, eating 8 ounces of seafood each week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36%. Eating 8-12 ounces of seafood per week when pregnant can improve baby’s IQ, cognitive development, and eye health. Older adults with the highest fish consumption live and average of 2.2 years longer.
How do the vitamins and minerals in seafood affect your body?
Seafood provides essential nutrients to the body. These include vitamins A, B, and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is also rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, selenium, and potassium. Vitamin A helps protect vision and boost immune systems. B-complex vitamins influence energy production, metabolism, and concentration. Seafood is one of the only food sources of Vitamin D, which promotes healthy bone growth, calcium absorption, and boosts immune system efficiency and cell growth.
Two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Our bodies don’t produce omega-3 fatty acids so we must get them through the food we eat. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in every kind of fish, but are especially high in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna, and oysters. A study funded by CDC of 12 modifiable dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors in the United States found that eating seafood for essential Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent 84,000 deaths each year.
The Omega-3 fatty acids present in seafood have myriad health benefits:
- Helps maintain a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of sudden death, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes.
- Aids healthy brain function and infant development of vision and nerves during pregnancy.
- May decrease the risk of depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
- May reduce the chance of developing diabetes and the metabolic syndrome that precedes it. Evidence suggests that higher consumption of omega-3s or fatty fish may also have a positive effect on glucose and insulin metabolism. These fatty acids also tone down the inflammatory processes that contribute to diabetes.
- May prevent inflammation and reduce the risk of arthritis.
Seafood makes you smarter. People who eat fish frequently shown to have 14% larger brain hippocampus – the big memory and learning center. So, relish seafood and stay healthy!