Living a healthy life starts with the meals that you consume. Good nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and improving your overall well-being. A well-balanced diet can also help improve your mood and energy levels.
When you decide to have takeout, do you go for the tried and tested favorites or prefer to try something new? Seafood is an excellent choice for people that love to experiment. Fish and shellfish are great sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Even better, the health benefits of eating seafood are widely documented, and researchers continue to discover more benefits every single day.
Here are 17 health benefits of eating seafood that you may enjoy when you decide to try out the new sushi bar.
1. Packed with Essential Nutrients
Fish and shellfish contain vital nutrients that are important for healthy eyes, skin, mind, and body. The nutrients vary depending on the type of seafood consumed. Fish is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, D, and the B-complex.
B-complex vitamins such as B1, B3, Biotin, and B12 play a vital role in energy production, metabolism, and neural functions.
Fresh seafood, such as salmon, is rich in Vitamin A, which protects your vision and boosts your immune response. Vitamin D promotes bone health through aiding in calcium absorption as well as promoting cell growth. It also plays a role in the proper functioning of your immune response.
2. Promotes A Healthy Heart
One of the most widely researched health benefits of eating seafood is how fish oils affect the heart. Fish is low in saturated fats that are closely associated with cardiovascular diseases. A review published in the American Journal of Cardiology shows that the Omega-3 fatty acids abundant in seafood reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke risk.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -which are Omega-3 fatty acids- reduce the concentration of harmful lipoproteins in the bloodstream. It reduces the risk of arrhythmias, strokes, and heart attacks that result from blocked coronary vessels. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish in a week to keep your heart healthy.
3. Better Vision
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and shellfish help protect your eyesight and improve your visual health, which adds a lot of value to your eye care routine. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicates extremely high levels of DHA present in the retina. The DHA accounts for half of all phospholipids in the photoreceptor cells.
Eating fish can provide you with a constant supply of the vital omega-3 fatty acid, providing optimal visual development. Several studies also point to the efficiency of the omega-3 fatty acids in preventing age-related macular degeneration. These eye problems can result in the loss of vision, especially among older citizens.
4. Less Risk of Falling into Depression
Recent studies point to a correlation between omega-3 fatty acids abundant in seafood and a low risk of depression. The research shows the omega-3 fatty acids’ roles in decreasing depression tendencies and their potential in treating depressive disorders.
The positive effects of the omega-3 fatty acids in the human neural system and correcting inflammatory response can help treat Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and bipolar patients. EPA and DHA also assist in the better absorption of anti-depressants in the body. Among the many health benefits of eating seafood, you may also enjoy a better, more positive outlook for life.
5. Healthier, Smoother Skin
Asian cuisine and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can give the flawless skin you have always dreamed of. Skin experts say that your skin responds more to what you eat than what you apply to it. The omega-3 fatty acids protect the skin from harmful UV rays from the sun. The fish oils also prevent drying of the skin.
A study published by BioMed Central shows that omega-3 fatty acids suppress inflammatory cytokine production. The suppression can help reduce the severity of acne in individuals with moderate to severe acne. It means you can comfortably add clear skin to the list of health benefits of eating seafood.
6. Better Joint Health
Eating seafood can alleviate the constant pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. The National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases found a close relationship between the consumption of fish oils and reduced disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
Fish oil can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. It can also help ease tender joints and reduce morning stiffness in RA patients. Shell fishes have a high concentration of calcium ions, which can help fulfill the dietary need. Arthritis and other risk factors can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Calcium from the small bones of fish and shellfish tangles can help reduce joint inflammation and increase the bone quantity for better joint health.
7. Boost Brain Function
Other essential health benefits of eating seafood are proper brain development and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. Seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids vital in the prenatal development of the brain and nervous system. DHA is essential in the formation of new brain cells in the grey matter, and studies suggest the omega-3 fatty acid may enhance cognitive function in children.
Recent research also shows the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. DHA is a major constituent of the neural membrane, while EPA is vital in neural functioning and reducing inflammation. The salutary effects may help prevent vascular dementia among aging seniors.
8. Pregnancy Benefits
There is a rising concern about fish consumption by pregnant mothers and the risk of methylmercury exposure to their babies. However, most experts do agree on several health benefits of eating seafood. Fish contains essential nutrients vital for fetal growth and development. Mothers who consumed fish were less likely to have a preterm birth.
The omega-3 fatty acids reduce preterm deliveries by altering prostaglandin balance, which prolongs the birth. Eating a seafood-rich diet during pregnancy is closely tied to higher birth weight. Fish is also a rich source of iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and manganese essential for optimal fetal development.
9. Excellent Dietary Source of Vitamin D
It’s worrisome to note that 42% of the US population is Vitamin D deficient. The numbers are higher for senior adults, with 60% of nursing home residents and 57% of hospitalized patients having vitamin D insufficiency. The human body can synthesize vitamin D on the skin upon exposure to sunlight. However, it may not be enough, and you may need an additional dietary source.
The National Institute on Health says that fish is an excellent dietary source for vitamin D. Choosing traditional Italian foods that are fish-based can help you meet your 600IU daily requirement. Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of calcium, boosting the immune system, reproductive health, and skincare. The abundance of vitamin D in fish-based diets is considered one of the most important health benefits of eating seafood.
10. Lower Risk of Developing Asthma
Millions across the globe suffer from the devastating effects of asthma, a chronic lung disease resulting from the inflammation of the airways. A research carried out by the St Olav’s Hospital in conjunction with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) shows that children that eat fish once a week from ages one to two had a 40% lower risk of developing asthma.
The study also showed that children who took fish oil had a lower risk of developing allergy-related conditions at six. They also had a 28% lower risk of developing eczema and a 34% lower risk of wheezing by the age of six. The research points out that fish intake during the first year is necessary to protect kids from asthma and other lung-related inflammations.
11. Reduced Risk of Autoimmune Diseases
Other health benefits of eating seafood include improved immune function and reduced risk of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes type 1. A research paper published in the journal Nature under Nutrition and Diabetes shows eating fish can help prevent Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults.
The paper digs deeper into the effects of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids on immune function and glucose metabolism as possible reasons for the reduced risk. Vitamin D-found in abundance in seafood regulates T-cells and B-cells’ proliferation and differentiation, vital in determining auto-immunity. EPA and DHA are also useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and Lupus.
12. Improved Quality of Sleep
Have you been battling insomnia and chronic loss of sleep? You can better the quality of sleep by eating more fish. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 70 million Americans have a sleeping disorder. Fish and shellfish are rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids linked to better-quality sleep.
DHA stimulates Melatonin-a vital hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin works with the body circadian rhythms, sending signals to the body that it is time to relax and sleep. Multiple studies show that low DHA levels may result in a melatonin deficiency, which may affect your sleep patterns.
13. Improved Immune Function
You may decide to boost your immune system by eating a variety of healthy seafood. Omega-3s in the fish may help reduce inflammatory responses in the body, thus supporting healing. Other immune health benefits of eating seafood come from proteins and vitamins. Fish contain all essential amino acids that are vital in the recovery and healing processes.
The vitamin A from Salmon may help keep your skin healthy, protecting you against infections. B-complex vitamins regulate inflammation while promoting red-blood-cell and leukocyte formation. Selenium- a mineral obtained from seafood- is a potent antioxidant that helps remove oxidative species within the body.
14. Reduced Risk of Developing Obesity
According to the CDC, approximately 72 million Americans are considered obese. A set of Cambridge University researchers found out that seafood intake is vital in reducing obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. The study points out that combining fatty and lean kinds of seafood increases weight loss among participants.
A high intake of fish also increases insulin-sensitive hormone adiponectin, which may help regulate insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Baylor University Medical Centers notes that omega-3 fatty acids may assist in lowering LDL levels. Lowering the cholesterol-building triglycerides in the bloodstream can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
15. Alleviate PMS Symptoms
80% of women experience at least one symptom of PMS every month. For half of them, the symptoms are so severe enough to destroy their relationships and daily interactions. Most women rely on over-the-counter painkillers and hormonal treatments to deal with period pain, mood swings, and cramps.
However, there is a more natural solution readily available in fish: omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids produce PGE1, which balances out the effects of PGE2 produced by omega-6 fatty acids. PGE2 is responsible for the inflammatory response that leads to cramps and period pain. The omega-3 fatty acids can also relieve other PMS symptoms such as bloating, headaches, and breast tenderness.
16. Fight Against High Blood Pressure
Consuming fatty fish, such as tuna, herring, and sardines can help you control your high blood pressure. A systemic review published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that ingesting fish oils can effectively lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The meta-analysis shows that fish oil can reduce systolic and diastolic pressure by 2.56 mmHg and 1.47mmHg, respectively, for persons with hypertension. Omega-3 fatty acids promote cardiovascular health, which may help reduce heart attacks and stroke by 10%. All these can help reduce the cost of health care for people at a higher risk of developing hypertension.
17. Lower Risk of Certain Cancers
A recent report by the American Institute for Cancer Research reveals that eating fish may help protect against liver and colon cancers. The lab studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids alter the colon cell’s function, which reduces inflammation. Eating seafood-diets minimizes the consumption of red and processed meats, which may reduce your cancer risk. Individuals that consume fish regularly are 12% less likely to develop colon cancer than people who do not eat little or no fish.
There you have them: 17 health benefits of eating seafood. Fish and shellfish are fantastic sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. We might even be tempted to say that some seafood a day may help keep your primary care physician away.