Registered Dietitian, Board Certified in Sports Nutrition, Food Scientist

Get Hooked on Seafood

Seafood, particularly “fatty fish”  is an excellent source of high quality protein, low in calories and provide other essential nutrients, such as healthy fats, vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium and iodine. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the average intake of seafood in the U.S. is approximately 3.5 ounces per week; however, we should be increasing our intake. Seafood provides an array of nutrients, including the important fatty acids, omega 3’s. Moderate scientific evidence shows that consuming 8 oz. of a variety of seafood which provides 250 mg of omega 3’s is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among those with and without pre-existing heart disease. In other words, consuming this amount may prevent heart disease. The best sources of omega 3’s within seafood include salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, anchovies and even some crab. These sources can provide from 500-2,400 milligrams of omega 3’s per 4 oz serving. Cod, scallops, lobster, tilapia, and shrimp provide a lower amount of omega 3’s usually ranging from 100 to 200 milligrams per 4 oz. serving.  

Questions have been raised regarding the methyl mercury content found in seafood. Moderate, consistent evidence shows that the health benefits from consuming seafood outweighs the health risks associated with the levels of methyl mercury found in seafood. It is also important to eat a variety of seafood, which is likely to reduce the amount of exposure. Seafood varieties that are higher in omega 3’s and lower in methyl mercury include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel (not king mackerel).

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