You’ve probably seen news stories about the health benefits of seafood, but are you eating enough? According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most of us aren’t. The guidelines are a dense 204 pages, aimed at policymakers and health professionals, so we dove in and pulled out the highlights about seafood and your health:
What are the biggest health benefits?
The new guidelines recommend eating more seafood for “the total package of nutrients that seafood provides” and point out these important benefits:
- Positive impacts on hearts and waistlines. Diets that include seafood are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a reduced risk of obesity. And, in even better news, eating seafood with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced cardiac deaths—even among those with cardiovascular disease.
- Healthier moms and infants. Because of an association with improved infant health outcomes, the guidelines recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding women get eight to 12 ounces of seafood per week. Just make sure to choose options that are sources of the DHA omega-3 fatty acid and lower in methyl mercury—like salmon, anchovies, herring, shad, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel.
- A great source of vitamin D. The guidelines note that vitamin D is “underconsumed” by many, and that a low intake of vitamin D is associated with health concerns. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, according to the National Institutes of Health. While our bodies can make it from sunlight, more of us are working indoors, wearing sunscreen, or otherwise limiting sun exposure.
According to the American Heart Association, albacore tuna is a particularly rich source of omega-3s, along with salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. So stock up on your favorite seafoods and enjoy!
So where can you get more of this important nutrient? Among the best food sources of vitamin D are fatty fish, like salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and, of course, tuna.
How much seafood should we be eating?
The guidelines suggest incorporating seafood as the protein choice in two meals a week (replacing meat, poultry, or eggs) in order to get the recommended amount—eight or more ounces a week for adults.
Want some additional inspiration? We’ve got more than 40 recipes for tuna alone—check out delicious salads, sandwiches, suppers and more. And for more great ideas, visit our main recipe page, where you can sort recipes by meal course, by type of seafood, or by recipe collection.
Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information about the latest guidelines—plus tips, resources, and online tools for adults, kids, and educators.