Nutritional Facts: Seafood
Seafood has always been considered to be good for your health and over the past few decades numerous studies have confirmed the health benefits of a diet that includes seafood on a regular basis.
Those areas around the world that have a high fish consumption tend to have lower incidences of heart disease, e.g. Japan and Greenland. Over the years the importance of seafood in a healthy balanced diet has become accepted in the medical community.
While the main focus of the research has been on the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of the n-3 family and their effect on heart disease, other studies have included the effect of nutrients contained in seafood on ailments such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, dyslexia, depression, skin health and lung disease.
Including seafood in your diet is the right choice not only when looking at the possible health benefits mentioned above, but also from an every day diet point of view.
Seafood is high in protein, vitamins and minerals, although the amounts vary between the species and depend on the preparation method while containing very little carbohydrate.
Fish has between 15 and 23% protein and can be used as the sole source of protein in the diet. The pattern of amino acids found in fish is similar to other high protein foods while the amount of connective tissue is quite low making seafood easy to chew and digest. The fat and oil content varies greatly between species, e.g. white fish such as cod generally have between 0 and 2% lipid, while oil rich fish such as mackerel can have more than 16% lipid content. The good news is that the oil and fat found in fish is mostly polyunsaturated (PUFA) with only small amounts of saturated and monounsaturated lipid present. The levels of protein, fats and carbohydrates are more variable in shellfish, e.g. oysters and scallops have a comparatively high amount of carbohydrates while crab has a high lipid content.
With increasing awareness about nutrition in general and the health benefits of seafood in particular it is no surprise that seafood has become an increasingly common part in the diet of those who lead a healthy life.