(StatePoint) – We hear a lot about the important nutrients in vegetables and fruits, but the health benefits of eating seafood regularly aren’t always in the spotlight. It should be a no-brainer when it comes to seafood, which is packed with omega-3s. Yet, most Americans only eat one serving of seafood a week.
Here are some evidence-based facts to help set the record straight during National Nutrition Month.
1. How much seafood should I be eating?
Studies show that seafood benefits your heart, eyes and brain, and may also help you fight chronic diseases and memory loss. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines encourage all Americans to eat at least two servings of seafood each week. That’s double the amount most people currently eat. To reap the range of nutrients found in seafood, try to get a variety of fish in your diet, including shrimp, salmon, canned/pouched tuna, tilapia and pollock.
2. What if you’re pregnant?
Seafood is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as young children, since it is one of the only natural food sources rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are critical for brain and eye development, supporting the old adage that fish really is “brainfood.” One recent study shows that moms-to-be who ate fish two to three times each week had babies that reached milestones — such as imitating sounds, recognizing family members and drinking from a cup — more quickly than children born to mothers who didn’t eat fish regularly during pregnancy. Another recent study found that pregnant women who ate at least two seafood meals each week helped boost their child’s IQ up three points by age 9. Learn more about the best fish to eat during pregnancy at aboutseafood.com/seafood-pregnancy.
3. How to get more seafood.
Incorporating more seafood into your diet doesn’t need to be a challenge. It’s easy to get the recommended two to three servings each week by simply swapping out the protein from your favorite dishes with seafood. For example, chicken tacos become fish tacos, and grilled steak salad becomes grilled shrimp salad. What’s more, seafood is just as healthy whether it’s fresh, frozen or canned, making it a convenient item to stock up on when shopping, and ultimately helping you eliminate wasted food in your household.
4. Start the day right.
Nutrition experts recommend incorporating protein into your breakfast as a way to boost metabolism and balance your blood sugar levels for the entire day. Kicking off the morning with tuna avocado toast or salmon on a bagel will help keep you feeling fuller for longer, prevent cravings before lunchtime and help you reach your weekly seafood goals.
More nutrition facts, recipes and other resources can be found at AboutSeafood.com.
This National Nutrition Month, give your health a boost by eating a variety of seafood at least twice a week.