Seafood is one of the healthiest foods(opens in a new tab) you can eat and is full of good fat, vitamins, and minerals. Some species of seafood, such as shellfish, have unfairly earned a reputation as an unhealthy food. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Shellfish are a good low-fat source of protein, and except for shrimp, are low in cholesterol. People in Nordic countries and in Asia who eat high levels of fish live longer and are healthier than the rest of the world. They have lower rates of certain cancers, such as breast, pancreas, lung, and colon. For best results, eat fish at least twice a week to receive the highest level of benefits. Fish is one of the best heart-healthy foods. The Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, herring, and tuna are polyunsaturated, which protect against heart disease by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. Fish reduces blood clotting, which lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. The fats also keep arteries elastic, which reduces blood pressure and coronary disease. Fish oil reduces inflammation. Inflammation plays a role in various diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes(opens in a new tab), fibromyalgia, and hypertension. In fact, most autoimmune diseases and many chronic disorders have been linked to inflammation, which is caused by poor diet, environmental toxicity, and stress. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help treat or prevent these diseases. Seafood has high levels of essential vitamins and minerals. Eating a variety of seafood gives you a full range of vitamins(opens in a new tab) and minerals. Oysters are a good source of vitamins A, B, and D, magnesium, and calcium, and crab, shrimp, clams, and mussels are high in zinc and iron. These nutrients ensure good eyesight and healthy muscles and skin. Fatty acids in fish keep your brain healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids increase blood flow to the brain and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Children who consume seafood tend to perform better in school, and the incidence of depression tends to be lower in those who eat seafood. Omega-3s keep kids healthy and strong. Pregnant women who eat a variety of seafood tend to have full-term, healthy babies with lower rates of asthma. Doctors believe that fish oils control allergens in the body. Even if a woman doesn’t eat seafood during pregnancy, the allergy control benefit occurs if the child consumes fish oil daily. As with any food, the fresher the seafood, the better. There is a chance of mercury contamination in some fish, but the benefits outweigh the risks. To reduce mercury, choose fish that is wild caught, and eat fish lower on the food chain, such as sardines and herring. Predatory fish, such as swordfish and mackerel, will have the highest levels of mercury because they eat the smaller fish, so mercury builds up in the larger fish’s body.

What is your favorite fish?