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Seafood Benefits

Many scientific studies from around the world have associated seafood consumption with a healthy lifestyle.

A few facts about seafood: it contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids, it's high in antioxidants and vitamins, and is an excellent source of protein - all very beneficial to one's health.

But where do all these seafood benefits come from?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that our body needs to function, but does not make. There are there main omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA fatty acids are found almost exclusively in seafood and are believed to be responsible for the health benefits found in fish oil.

The omega-3 fatty acid content in fish is derived from phytoplankton: small plant cells that are a source of food for many aquatic organisms. In both aquaculture and mariculture phytoplankton is utilized as a key food item when cultivating species.

The amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish varies depending on a number of factors including: the diet of the fish, the season and location of the catch and their reproductive cycles. In most cases, the level of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is related to the total fat content of the fish.

Click here to view the omega-3 content of frequently consumed seafood products.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1,000 milligrams (mg) of EPA/DHA per day for patients with coronary heart disease, and two meals of oily fish per week (8 ounces or more), for patients without heart disease. When the recommended amount of these fatty acids is consumed on a regular basis, it can lead to great health benefits. Some of the many health benefits that have been linked to regularly consuming EPA and DHA fatty acids include: cancer prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention.

Seafood is also high in antioxidant E, vitamin A, C, D, and B-complex vitamin.

Vitamin A is important to maintain healthy vision and skin; Vitamin C is essential to boost immune function and B-complex vitamin is associated with healthy development of the nervous system.

Like EPA and DHA fatty acids, Vitamin D is very important to consume because our body, other than receiving it from the sun, does not produce it. Vitamin D can help in optimal calcium absorption and in the development of strong bones and immune system function. In many parts of the country where sun exposure is not very high throughout the year, seafood is an excellent natural source of vitamin D.

For all those protein-consious people out there, seafood is an ideal source or high quality protein. As many people know, protein plays a vital role in the body and it's used in large amount by muscle. Muscle uses protein as a fuel in order to spare the use of glucose. Since glucose is the only fuel source for the brain, it is extremely important for the rest of the body to have alternative energy sources, and high quality protein, like fish, is one of those sources.

Click here to view the nutrient composition for the 20 most frequently consumed seafood.

Just like eating fish can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle; when purchasing seafood, look for fish from sustainable sources and keep an eye on its country of origin. By doing this, you can make sure you get the best fish available at your local market while ensuring a lasting supply of healthy seafood for generations to come.

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