Fish and Seafood

There is a huge variety of fish and seafood to be explored!

Health Benefits of Fish and Seafood

  • Fish and seafood are excellent sources of protein and are low in saturated fat.
  • Fish also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs increase HDL (the “good cholesterol”), which helps protect against coronary heart disease.
  • Seafood, especially fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines, is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids include reduced risk for heart attack and stroke.

Purchasing and Preparing Fish and Seafood

It does not have to be expensive

  • Fresh fish can often be expensive and hard to get in some areas.
  • Frozen and canned fish are good alternatives for those on a tight budget or who don’t have access to fresh fish. Try canned sardines, tuna, or salmon.
  • If you opt for fresh fish, there is a variety to choose from and the price ranges vary. Watch for sales and, if affordable, choose fatty fish for a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Preparing fish and seafood

Deep fried fish is higher in fat, and the high temperatures can destroy some of the beneficial nutrients. Instead of deep frying fish, consider these alternative ways to prepare your fish or seafood:

  • Pan-frying in 1 Tbs canola oil
  • Baking
  • Broiling
  • Grilling
  • Simmering in a liquid with vegetables and herbs

Considerations for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend women who are pregnant or breast-feeding eat at least 8 to 12 oz. of cooked seafood per week.
  • Women who are pregnant should choose seafood options with lower mercury levels and avoid large predatory fish, like canned white tuna (albacore), king mackerel, tile fish, swordfish, and shark. Smaller fish, like sardines, have lower levels of mercury.
  • Fish can also contain other harmful chemicals. Check local advisories to confirm the safety of fish caught in your local waters.

Did You Know?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest people consume two 4 servings of fish a week, for a total of about 8 oz. per week.

The amount of fish in an average small can of tuna is about 4 oz., which means an ordinary tuna sandwich can get you halfway to your weekly goal.