Dr. Nita Landry has been engaged by the National Fisheries Institute to provide her honest professional perspective on the health benefits of eating seafood.
The holiday season is here! You know what that means? ‘Tis the season to be jolly…and (unfortunately) it is usually also the season to see “adjustments” in your weight, if you know what I mean. Well, I have some good news, some bad news…then some really good news.
Good News: Contrary to popular belief, the average person does not gain 10 pounds during the holiday season. Instead, current research suggests that the average person gains about one pound over the six-week period from mid—November to early January.
Bad News: Although that seems like an insignificant amount of weight, the average person never loses that one pound. Therefore, the pounds start to slowly accumulate, and most of the midlife weight gain we complain about is an accumulation of “one pound gifts” from past holidays.
Really Good News: There is a delicious food option that can help avoid some of those unwanted pounds AND this option could give your overall health a boost: SEAFOOD!
Most people do not think about delicious seafood dishes during the holidays, but they should. (Actually, you really should be incorporating seafood into your diet all year long!) Here are some important facts about seafood:
Seafood is good for you! According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for the general population, consuming about eight ounces per week of a variety of seafood is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without preexisting cardiovascular disease. That’s right! Eating one to two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack! How? Keep reading…
The human body is able to make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. However, your body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids. Why is that important? Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fat, which means they are needed to survive. Therefore, since your body cannot make them, you have to get them from food. Foods that are high in omega-3s include fish (especially fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna), leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and nuts. Omega-3s have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke. They may also help control eczema, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.
In addition to the benefits listed above, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that you consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats. Seafood is naturally low in total fat, and the fat that is present is healthy polyunsaturated fat. With that being said, remember that frying your food eliminates or diminishes some health benefits, so cook the seafood in a healthy manner.
Seafood is also packed with protein as well as important vitamins (A, B-complex and D) and minerals (selenium, iodine, iron, and zinc) that have been linked to various health benefits.
Another important note is when pregnant and nursing moms eat seafood, their babies reap the benefits. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, eating about 8-12 ounces of approved types of seafood during pregnancy is associated with improved infant health outcomes. In fact, according to a 2014 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report, moms-to-be who eat two seafood meals (8-12 ounces) per week could provide their child with an additional 3.3 IQ points by age 9. Check out this AboutSeafood.com blog post to learn more about the benefits of seafood for pregnant or breastfeeding moms.
In summary, seafood is a great option for everyone who does not have a medical contraindication to its consumption (ex: allergic reactions). Not only can seafood give your health a boost this holiday season, but it can also help you maintain your sexy!
Try any one of these festive seafood recipes from Dish on Fish at your upcoming holiday party, including a Cranberry Honey-Glazed Salmon and Tuna and Sweet Potato Patties. Or opt for this Seafood Mac and Cheese side dish that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser! (When it comes to serving sizes, always remember that moderation is key! Also, while the seafood itself is healthy, always keep the other recipe ingredients in mind- ex: ingredients like butter and cheese add fat, calories, etc.)
According to some researchers, the average person eats more than 7,000 calories on Christmas Day. That is more than three times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily caloric intake. So, before you take your first bite, think to yourself, “How many calories are on this holiday plate?…and have I had my heart healthy seafood this week?”