"There are many reasons fish should be a part of your regular diet," says
Susan Watkins, RD, CDE, Manager of Health Education at
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. "The recommendation for two 3.5-oz. servings of fish per week can
truly make a difference when it comes to your health. Most types of seafood
are great sources of Omega-3s, unsaturated fatty acids that can boost
your health in several ways: lowering blood pressure, cutting the risk
of heart disease and stroke, reducing inflammation and increasing brain
power." Fish can also be high in protein and certain nutrients. Here
are eight seafoods that can do your body good.
Salmon: In addition to those Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon also has a lot of lean
protein and vitamins B-12 and D, vitamins that are crucial for improving
your overall energy and health. Plus, salmon canned with its chewable
bones is high in calcium. Wild Alaskan salmon is the best option; many
brands are free of all detectable mercury.
Tuna: In general, tuna touts the same health benefits as salmon. However, there
is debate over whether the mercury, caused by polluted waters, in canned
tuna is too much of a tradeoff. "If you don't eat fish often,
canned tuna can be a good way to get your servings of fish in your diet,
and it's not as high in mercury as other fish, such as swordfish,"
Watkins says. "Look for light canned albacore tuna packed in water.
Ideally it's caught in the waters off America or British Columbia."
Sardines: Not only does this fish have more Omega-3 fatty acids than tuna and salmon,
it's also got a lot of vitamin D. Aim for sardines that were caught
in the wild of the Pacific Ocean.
Shrimp: While shrimp are low in Omega-3s, they are also low in saturated fat and
calories, as well as mercury contamination. They are high in cholesterol,
but for many can still fit into a low-fat heart healthy diet.
Clams: If you need more vitamin B-12 for your blood cells and nervous system,
then dig into clams. Fatigue is often a sign of B-12 deficiency. Clams
are also high in iron and zinc.
Alaskan King Crab: This is packed with B-12, zinc and Omega-3, while still being light on
calories with only 82 calories in a 3-oz. serving.
Rainbow Trout: A high dose of Omega-3, vitamin B-12, potassium, folate and niacin make
this fish a good health pick. Make sure the trout is responsibly farmed
when making your selection.
Perch: This fish has an abundance of calcium, vitamins and minerals, including
the antioxidant-packed selenium.
Finally, Watkins adds that if you are concerned about the environmental
impact of fishing, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch website
(seafoodwatch.org). "It includes information on fishing and farming
methods, as well as a way to search for the best sustainable seafood options,"
To hear more about our health education programs at St. Joseph Health,
call (714) 446-5677 (locations at both Fullerton and Santa Ana).
Learn more about
Susan Watkins, RD, CDE. Learn more about
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group.