As we power through our 8 to 5 grinds, often the first thing we lose track of is our diets. We often find unhealthy quick fixes to satisfy our hunger, but keeping up with healthy nutrition doesn’t have to require excessive effort, especially if you turn to seafood. Here are seven surprising benefits to your overall well-being that a diet rich in seafood can offer:
I just wanted to remind you--since we have your attention--that only 10% of Americans eat the surgeon general recommended 2 Servings of seafood per week, even though fish is commonly recognized as a healthy option and there are many options for getting high-quality seafood.
Recent studies have found that consuming 2-3 servings of fish a week can reduce measurable signs of stress, anxiety and depression. One study even found that seafood had a significant psychological benefit in decreasing postpartum depression in pregnant women. The reason may be that fish is rich in multiple beneficial nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and clean protein, all of which aid in a balanced diet associated with decreased risk of depression.
Many of the same nutrients and fats found in seafood that have a beneficial effect on stress level can also power-up your body after a strenuous workout. When we engage in intensive exercise, our bodies demand a boost of nutrition beyond what we need in day-to-day life. And, if you fail to replenish yourself with the right food, it could slow muscle growth and recovery. Eating seafood has also been reduce muscle inflammation. Eating a diversity of fresh fish and shellfish like mussels is a great addition to your post-workout routine.
A 2017 study found that kids who eat fish at least once a week have an IQ that is, on average, 4.8 points higher than those who seldom or never eat fish. Researchers have even linked the omega-3s and vitamins (like vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc) that are abundant in seafood with a stronger hippocampus, lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and late-life memory loss.
Believe it or not, eating seafood at least twice a week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause by 17%. We admit, this one is a little bit of a catch-all, but I think we can agree that any simple action that can reduce your risk of dying prematurely by nearly one in five is worth paying attention to.
Fish is naturally packed with an important vitamin necessary for bone growth and health: Vitamin D. Sorry milk, there’s a new bone doctor in town. Vitamin D is a bone-strengthening nutrient that is necessary for building bones and teeth and assisting in the absorption of calcium, but unfortunately it is lacking in many foods. Another important element of bone health is protein, and seafood is an excellent source of lean protein, which aids in the continuous repair and growth of all of our somatic tissues including bone, muscle, and skin.
Eating fish is not only healthy for you, it’s healthy for the environment. Whereas it may take as much as 1,800 gallons of water and 8 pounds of grain to grow a pound of beef in a feedlot environment, sustainably sourced wild seafood item requires no fresh water or agricultural resources, only nature to produce. The operable word in that last sentence is *sustainably* sourced, given the wide variability in the environmental impact of seafood on the market. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program has a great guide to help you make the right choices.
There is a common misconception that seafood is hard to cook and too many people shy from bringing fish home, out of a fear that they’ll “make a mistake and mess it up”. In reality, seafood can be very simple to prepare and usually cooks in much less time than other proteins. Additionally, eating canned tuna, tins of mussels, or delicious fish jerky is easier than ever and takes no preparation at all.
Nikumaroro is one of the wildest places left on the planet. On the island, I encountered thriving seabird colonies, eels lunging from the lagoon-edge like crocodiles to drag crabs from the sand… I even faced-off (and backed down from) a terrier-sized coconut crab that I met on a jungle trail. But forget all of that—something else I saw on that island stays with me today, and affected the course of my life.