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Check Your Health: Incorporating Seafood as Part of Healthy Eating

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Check Your Health - Seafood and Healthy Eating

Healthy eating means incorporating a variety of foods into your daily diet - including seafood. Joy Musselman, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital, stopped by to answer four common questions about seafood.

Why should seafood (fish and shellfish) be a part of my menu? Seafood is a nutrient-dense source of selenium, zinc, iodine, iron, many B vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Including fish regularly in our diet has been shown to reduce the risk of Cardiovascular disease and may also improve high blood pressure, glucose control, and Alzheimer’s risk.

How often should I eat fish? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating >8 oz per week of seafood. For comparison, the American diet currently averages only about 2.7 oz per person per week. Try to consume seafood twice per week in order to meet the recommendation. Choose fish that is grilled, baked, steamed or poached.

Are there some types of seafood that I should avoid? Pregnant women should still include seafood as part of their healthy diet but should avoid high mercury varieties – varieties that are safe to consume during pregnancy include salmon, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, and canned tuna. Also strive for seafood sources that have demonstrated sustainability. To locate sustainable seafood options in your area, check out www.seafoodwatch.org.

What if I don’t like fish? Try other types of seafood such as shrimp or clams. You can also try more mild-tasting fish such as tilapia or flounder. If any type of seafood just isn’t going to be a workable option, you can obtain Omega-3 fatty acids from some nuts and seeds. You can also take a fish oil supplement but these have not been proven to be as effective – mostly because they don’t contain the full array of nutrients found in fish.


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