Hardly a day goes by without some new study showing the health benefits of eating more fish and shellfish. From increased heart health to fending off Alzheimer’s disease, recent studies have touted seafood’s ability to provide better health.
Some studies have focused on seafood alone, and have shown numerous advantages to be gained by eating a diet rich in fish and shellfish.
The reasons are many. First, all seafood is low in fat, typically less than 5 percent fat, and most is low in cholesterol. At the same time, seafood provides an excellent source of high-quality protein. Oily fish are very high in Vitamin D, and seafood is an excellent source of minerals such as iron, zinc, niacin and iodine. By comparison, oysters and mussels have nearly three times as much iron as most meats.
Garnering much attention in the medical press lately are the “Omega-3” fatty acids that are commonly found in fish oils. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are the richest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can inhibit blood clotting and help keep arteries from becoming clogged. They also lower the circulating levels of blood fats and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack.
Baking, broiling, poaching, steaming, stir-frying, grilling and sautéing are the best ways to cook seafood to ensure it retains the most of its healthful properties. Deep frying is the least beneficial method as it destroys more of the Omega-3 fatty acids and also adds high levels of bad fats to the meal.
It’s brain food
Generations of parents and teachers weren’t too far off when they touted fish as “brain food.” While it may not have caused you to be as intelligent as you are, recent studies have shown that seafood does help people maintain their mental acuity, perhaps even warding off Alzheimer’s disease.
A recent USA Today article said that seafood “is becoming to Alzheimer’s candidates what the aspirin-a-day regimen is to many heart patients.” The article cited studies by Tufts University in Boston, Rush University in Chicago and the University of California- Los Angeles, all showing seafood was important in protecting against the onset of Alzheimer’s.
In the Rush University study of 815 men and women, covering a four-year period, researchers found that eating fish at least once a week produced a 60-percent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, some research has shown that fish oils and Omega-3 fatty acids can be used to replace prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Recent scares about inflammatory drugs like Vioxx have heightened awareness of the drugs’ down side. In a recent Dutch study,