From the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean to the traditional diets of East Asian cultures, the consumption of fresh seafood has been a staple in the diets of coastal communities around the world. Today, fisheries and aquaculture supply over 1.5 billion people with almost 20% of their average animal protein intake and 3 billion people with at least 15% of their average animal protein intake. In the 1950’s observational studies of Alaskan and Greenland Eskimo and Japanese populations revealed lower incidence and morbidity associated with coronary heart disease which led to intense interest in the study of the health benefits of seafood.
In more recent years, it has been noted that seafood is a dietary cornerstone in the world’s Blue Zone regions where people enjoy remarkable longevity and overall well-being. Today, scientific research continues to unveil the incredible health benefits that come with incorporating seafood into our diets. We’ve put together a short summary of the health benefits of eating seafood and our staff are always happy to discuss the healthiest options in store with you.
Heart-Healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids found abundantly in fish play a crucial role in promoting heart health. These essential nutrients, namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been extensively studied for their beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and inflammation. They also contribute to the prevention of abnormal heart rhythms, improving overall heart function. Additionally, omega-3s help to decrease the formation of arterial plaques and blood clotting, thereby reducing the likelihood of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
Boost your Brain:
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, in seafood has been extensively linked to improved cognitive function. These essential fatty acids are vital for brain development and have shown promising results in boosting memory retention and overall cognitive abilities. Omega-3s have been associated with enhanced learning capacity, increased focus, improved attention span and have been found to reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Alongside omega-3s, seafood provides a rich source of other essential nutrients like vitamins D and B12, selenium, and iodine, which contribute to overall brain health and optimal functioning.
Essential Nutrients for Optimal Health and Strong Immune Function:
Seafood boasts a rich nutrient profile that contributes to overall health, immune function, and vitality. Firstly, seafood serves as an excellent source of vitamin D, crucial for bone health and calcium absorption. Adequate vitamin D levels support a strong immune system, regulate cell growth, and promote optimal muscle function. Another important nutrient found in seafood is vitamin B12, which is essential for the formation of red blood cells and nerve function. It also aids in DNA synthesis and helps prevent certain types of anaemia. Seafood is also a great source of vitamin A, which is important for maintaining healthy vision, promoting cell growth and differentiation, and supporting a robust immune system. It’s abundant in minerals like selenium, a powerful antioxidant that supports thyroid function and helps protect against oxidative stress and zinc, which plays a crucial role in immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. These diverse nutrients in seafood contribute to maintaining overall health, bolstering the immune system, and promoting vitality.
Omega-3 fatty acids serve as building blocks for specialized molecules in the body that help regulate inflammation. By modulating the production of inflammatory compounds, omega-3s can reduce chronic inflammation, which is associated with various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Seafood also contains other bioactive compounds, such as astaxanthin and selenium, which also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Astaxanthin, a pigment found in salmon and prawns, has been shown to inhibit inflammation and oxidative stress. Selenium, a mineral abundant in seafood, acts as an antioxidant and supports the body's anti-inflammatory defence mechanisms.
Skin Health and Radiance:
Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants present in seafood also have a positive impact on skin health, promoting elasticity and a youthful appearance. Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining skin integrity and hydration, strengthening the skin's barrier function, allowing it to retain moisture and appear supple and plump. The omega-3 anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate skin conditions like acne and eczema. Rich in antioxidants which can combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals, eating a regular diet of seafood can help prevent premature aging and skin damage. Antioxidants also support collagen production, a protein that maintains the skin's elasticity and firmness.
How to get the most out of your seafood:
When incorporating seafood into your diet, it's important to prioritise fresh and sustainably sourced options. Choose a variety of fish and shellfish to benefit from a diverse range of nutrients. Aim to consume at least two servings of seafood per week to reap the maximum health benefits and be sure to prepare your seafood using a healthy cooking method. Check out the recipes on our website for inspiration and don’t be shy about asking our friendly staff about the healthiest choices.