The health benefits and risks of seafood

Seafood is an essential part of the diet of many people around the world. Their consumption has been associated with various health benefits.

Seafood refers to several types of animals, including:

– fish

– shellfish, such as crab, lobster and shrimp

– shellfish, such as clams and oysters

– echinoderms, such as sea urchins.

Here are the factual health benefits of seafood and some of the potential downsides of consuming them.

Health Benefits of Seafood

There is no doubt that seafood can have a positive influence on health. Decades of scientific research have shown that a diet rich in seafood can help protect you against a host of health problems. Additionally, seafood is high in nutrients which tend to be low in the diets of many people. Here are some of the most impressive health benefits of eating seafood.

Highly Nutritious

Seafood is a concentrated source of many essential nutrients. Fish and shellfish, such as salmon, clams, and shrimp, are particularly rich in protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B , selenium and zinc.

For example, a portion of 85 grams of cooked clams provides:

– more than 3 500% Daily Value (DV) for Vitamin B 12

– 99% DV for selenium

– 21% DV for zinc

– 13% DV for iron

A serving of half a fillet (154 grams) of wild salmon provides:

– 196% DV for vitamin B 12

– 106% DV for selenium

– 60 % DV for vitamin B6

– 21% of the Daily Value of potassium

Studies show that many people do not consume adequate amounts of certain nutrients concentrated in seafood, especially B vitamins and B6, selenium, iron and zinc. This is of concern, as nutrient deficiencies and deficiencies can have negative effects on physical and mental health and increase the risk of developing certain health problems. These include anemia, chronic fatigue and depression.

Therefore, eating seafood may fill common nutritional gaps. Especially in people whose diets are poor in nutrients and in those who are more likely to have suboptimal intake or low blood levels of nutrients concentrated in seafood. Young women, the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women are particularly likely to have lower levels.

Main source of omega-3 fatty acids

Seafood is the main dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are involved in many aspects of health. Including the function of nerve cells and the regulation of inflammation. Research shows that diets high in seafood are very beneficial for the health of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Scientists believe this is mainly due to the EPA and DHA content in seafood. For example, studies show that people who consume large amounts of omega-3 rich seafood tend to have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. lower heart disease and cognitive decline.

Linked to reduced risk of disease

Because seafood is rich in nutrients including protein, vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, it may offer protection against many health problems. A review of 2020 including 34 analyzes of studies found that the higher the consumption of fish, the lower the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, and liver cancer. The review also found that eating fish was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes.

Another review by 2020, which included 34 studies, showed that higher fish consumption was associated with significant at a lower occurrence of coronary heart disease. The study also found that people who ate more fish had a significantly reduced risk of death from coronary artery disease. In addition, the study found that the more fish consumption increased, the more the incidence of coronary heart disease and the deaths associated with these diseases decreased. Each time people ate 13 more grams of fish per day, the incidence of disease coronary heart disease and deaths from these diseases were reduced by 4%. The researchers therefore suggested consuming 40 grams of fish per day to reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease and death. related to these diseases.

Are there any downsides to eating seafood?

According to Current evidence suggests that seafood is a healthy food choice and provides important nutrients that may be missing from the diets of many people. What’s more, research suggests that diets high in seafood may offer protection against health problems like coronary heart disease and cognitive decline. However, how you consume seafood and the types of seafood you consume are important. In addition, eating seafood raises ethical and environmental questions.

Fried seafood can be harmful to health

Frying any food, whether it is chicken, potatoes or fish, results in unfavorable changes in the food, including the creation of harmful compounds.

Frying protein sources like fish creates compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), acrolein, aldehydes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These compounds are known to contribute to the development of diseases such as cancer. Studies have shown that frequent consumption of fried fish is associated with a high risk of certain cancers. Particularly lung and prostate.

Fried fish can also have negative effects on heart health. A study by 2019 on 99 966 postmenopausal women found that those who ate fried foods frequently, especially fried chicken and fried fish, had an increased risk of 13% of deaths from heart disease.

Consumption of salted and smoked fish has also been associated to a significant increase in the risk of disease. A study conducted in 2013 on 2 196 found that those who consumed lots of salted or smoked fish were twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

Not only can these cooking methods increase your risk of disease, but frequent consumption of Fried or salty foods can contribute to other health problems. We think of weight gain, high blood pressure, and more.

Some seafood is high in mercury

Some types of seafood are high in mercury, a heavy metal. Levels of mercury in seafood depend on several factors, including the age and size of the fish and the water it has lived in. Mercury is easily absorbed by the body and can cause health problems if it accumulates too much in the tissues. For example, exposure to high levels of mercury in the womb can lead to cognitive problems in a child. High levels of mercury can also increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack. Or have a negative effect on your immune system. Some people, including children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people who frequently eat fish, are more likely to consume seafood that is high in mercury.

The most mercury-rich fish are:

– shark

– tuna, in particular certain types

– swordfish

– king mackerel

Tuna is considered the food source of most important mercury in the world. Mercury from raw tuna is more readily absorbed by the body than from cooked tuna. If you eat raw tuna on a regular basis, be aware of the risk of mercury build-up.

Seafood that is low in mercury tends to be smaller animals that are found more low in the food chain, including:

– trout

– cod

– haddock

– herring

– salmon

– sardines

– shellfish, such as oysters and clams.

Microplastics in seafood

In addition, human activity has caused an accumulation of microplastics in the marine environment. These are small pieces of plastic less than 5mm in length that come mainly from human activities on land, such as manufacturing and plastic waste. Researchers warn that ingesting seafood containing microplastics is likely to be harmful to health, although research in this area is limited.

Environmental and ethical issues

Demand for seafood has led to overfishing and destroyed marine environments around the world. Target species cannot reproduce quickly enough to rebuild populations, which has led to a serious global problem. Marine ecosystems are delicately balanced, and a significant reduction in the number of one species can have catastrophic effects on others. Commercial fishing vessels often use irresponsible fishing methods, such as trawling. These methods not only destroy delicate ocean floor habitats, but can also lead to the massive capture of non-target species. Like turtles and sharks, as bycatch.

These fish and other marine animals are of no use to commercial fishermen and are thrown back into the sea. By some estimates, the catches accessories represent up to 34% of the total world catch. Overfishing and irresponsible fishing methods not only destroy marine ecosystems, it also affects the estimated 3 billion people worldwide who depend on seafood as their main source of food.

Experts fear that the mismanagement of the fishery, irresponsible methods used to procure seafood and the rampant overfishing that is rampant around the world could lead to a collapse of fisheries and a global food crisis.

Favor sustainable fishing

It is essential to give priority to fishing and fish farming practices durable ture to protect existing marine environments. You can help by reducing your overall seafood consumption, buying only sustainably caught seafood, and avoiding eating species that are overfished.

If you want to reduce your intake of animal proteins, including seafood, try replacing them with vegetable proteins. Eating more plant-based foods can dramatically reduce your ecological footprint while promoting overall good health.

How to Incorporate Them into Your Diet

There is no doubt that seafood can be a good choice of protein. However, it is important to take into account their effects on health and the environment if you want to include them in your diet.

Here are some tips for including seafood in your diet. nutritious and sustainable way:

– Choose fish that are caught or raised using ecologically sustainable methods.

РCook seafood in a nutritious way. Instead of breading and frying or pan-frying seafood, try baking, saut̩ing or steaming it.

– Pair seafood with other nutritious foods. Use seafood in recipes with ingredients like vegetables, beans and whole grains.

– Eat more sustainable fatty fish. Some of the best choices for sustainably farmed or harvested seafood are high in omega-3 fatty acids. For example, pink and sockeye salmon, as well as Atlantic and Pacific herring, are high in omega-3s and are considered sustainable.

– Avoid overfished species. Use online research tools to find out which fish are considered the worst choices for sustainability.

– Watch out for fish with high mercury content. If possible, avoid consuming fish high in mercury, shark, king mackerel, marlin, swordfish and tuna.

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