Posted: November 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm
Seafood is a good source of protein, minerals, vitamins and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Fish contain more polyunsaturated fats and less saturated fats than meats from animals that are raised on land (beef, pork, poultry, lamb.) However, you can get all of the nutrients found in fish from other sources, so vegetarians are not missing anything essential if they avoid seafood.
The richest sources of omega-3's in seafood are the fatty fish that live in cold, deep water. Tuna, salmon, swordfish, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies are examples of deep-water fish. Clams, crab, squid, shrimp and other seafood also contain omega-3's.
One easy way to increase the amount of omega-3 fats in your diet is to eat canned fish two or three times a week. Water-packed tuna or salmon can be added to salads or eaten just as they come from the can. Sardines packed in mustard sauce or tomato sauce make tasty snacks.
The amount of fat in tuna varies from fish to fish, and the canner must measure and label each batch to reflect the actual fat content. That's why you may find two cans of the exact same brand and style of water-packed tuna, one with 1 gram of fat per serving and another with 5 grams per serving. This is one time that more fat is better; the fattiest tuna contains the most omega-3's.
High concentrations of heavy metals and other toxins have raised concerns about the safety of some seafoods, but this appears to be a turf battle between various fishing interests more than an actual health threat. At this time we recommend that you not eat large amounts of a single type of fish caught in any one location. This is one more reason to eat a varied diet and not to eat too much of any one food. We believe that the benefits of seafood far outweigh the potential health concerns. We do recommend that you avoid raw seafood; some fish contain parasites that are harmful to humans, but they are killed by cooking. If you are pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor for the latest guidance.