Seafood does not only taste good - it is also good for your mental and physical health. The presence of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, makes seafood a healthy choice.
Seafood is widely recognised as good nutrition by health authorities, dietary specialists and many others. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports, “Fish is a food of excellent nutritional value, providing high quality protein and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and D, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and iodine in marine fish.”
In the face of increasing obesity and decreasing health standards, governments and food and health advisory bodies in Europe and the USA are actively encouraging their populations to consume more fish in their diet.
A useful summary of the nutritional aspects of fish can be found at www.bim.ie under “The Nutritional Aspects of Fish”. BIM is the Irish Sea Fisheries Board.
In the past 25 years, research and medical studies have identified many specific health benefits associated with the consumption of seafood. The benefits relate mainly to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids most closely linked with the identified health benefits are the long chain fatty acids, more specifically EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). However, we are poor at building either EPA or DHA out of other nutrients. For that reason, these two fatty acids should be part of our diet. These fatty acids are mainly found in seafood and in particular in oily fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon or trout.
Health benefits associated with EPA and DHA include better heart and circulation, reduced problems relating to inflammatory conditions as in rheumatoid arthritis or asthma, and reduced risks of some cancers.
In addition, they influence mental health and have been related, for example, to depression and dementia. They are associated with moderating child behaviour and the mental development of children. Further benefits continue to emerge.