There's a reason why the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of seafood -- preferably fatty fish -- each week. There are a number of potential health benefits from doing so, especially if the seafood replaces less healthy protein sources, such as fatty cuts of red meat or processed meats.
One of the main reasons fresh seafood is recommended is because it is one of the absolute best sources of essential omega-3 fats. Many people don't get enough of these nutritious fats, which are important for heart health and brain development, in their diet. Getting sufficient omega-3 fats can help improve heart health, lower triglycerides and potentially decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The fish highest in omega-3 fats include salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines and rainbow trout.
Omega-3 fats aren't the only reason to choose seafood. Seafood is also overall very nutritious, providing protein, iron, vitamin B-12, zinc and calcium without having a lot of calories or fat. It's typically lower in calories than red meat or poultry, making it a great choice for dieters. Those looking to add more protein to their diet may want to eat more cod, tuna, shrimp and lobster, and people who are worried about their iron intake may want to choose clams, shrimp and mackerel.
Because seafood is relatively low in calories and fat and high in protein, it tends to be a good protein choice for weight loss on many of the more popular weight-loss diets. Of course, calories still need to be taken into consideration, and breading and frying the fish isn't a good way to prepare fish when trying to lose weight. However, seafood may be more filling than some other types of protein, like chicken and beef, even though it's lower in calories. Some of the better choices for seafood during a weight-loss diet include oysters, halibut, scallops, canned light tuna, wild salmon and Pacific cod.
While eating fresh seafood provides a lot of beneficial nutrients, it can also be contaminated with heavy metals, such as mercury. To limit consumption of mercury, avoid those fish most likely to contain high levels, including king mackerel, shark, tilefish and swordfish, recommends the American Heart Association. Children and pregnant women shouldn't eat more than twelve ounces per week. However, for most types of fish the benefits are greater than the risks, especially if people eat a variety of different types of seafood.
The next time you eat out, consider visiting a restaurant with fresh seafood, such as Gulf Shores Steamer, for healthier options.
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