Why Eat Fish? The Health Benefits of Seafood

Mary Ellen Kelly, RD

Why Eat Seafood Twice a Week?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) both recommend that you should be eating fish two to three times per week, a minimum of 8 ounces, in order to maintain a healthy diet.

Every five years the USDA revises their Dietary Guidelines and each time seafood gets a bigger shout out for being a nutritional powerhouse. This recommendation was reinforced in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and is also supported by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Seafood is a nutrient dense meal option packed with vitamins, minerals, and other vital health-promoting components. It’s encouraged as a cornerstone to each individual’s well-balanced dietary pattern because seafood is a flexible protein source easily incorporated into most diets in an effort to obtain heart healthy fats such as EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid). These long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, lower blood cholesterol levels, and help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

What about Fish Oil Supplements?

According to the National Institutes of Health, research indicates that omega-3 supplements don’t reduce the risk of heart disease the way regular fish consumption does, which is why it can be extremely valuable to routinely include both in your meal preparations.

Healthy fat content also varies depending on the type of fish being cooked. Some specific sources worth checking out include salmon, herring, and trout as well as Atlantic and Pacific mackerel.

Rich in Micronutrients

In addition to containing heart healthy fats, seafood is an excellent source of protein that provides a wide variety of micronutrients, including Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Selenium, Calcium, and Magnesium that each play an important role in the body’s ability to function and thrive. 

In addition to heart healthy fats, the Vitamin D found in seafood is equally essential.  Garnering a lot of attention over the past decade as researchers have identified that most people aren’t consuming enough of it, Vitamin D is key for optimal bone health, muscles, a strong immune system, and so much more. Top food sources of Vitamin D include fortified milk, soymilk and orange juice, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, mushrooms, and egg yolks.

Adding More Seafood to Your Diet

Being aware of seafood’s numerous health benefits is merely the first step in adopting or maintaining a nutritious diet. The second is selecting sustainable and high-quality seafood, which is where North Coast Seafoods can help.

Caesar Salad topped with crispy salmon fillet in a white bowl

North Coast Seafoods offers Ocean-Raised Norwegian Salmon, which is extremely rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and an excellent choice for a healthy, delicious meal. Our Naked Seafood line also offers Wild Icelandic Cod, Wild Sea Scallops, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Scottish Style Smoked Salmon and Raw & Cooked Shrimp.

These options represent the finest quality, sustainable seafood; flash frozen at the source to maintain peak freshness, texture, and flavor. Those in the market for a simple seafood solution needn’t look any further.

Check out some great recipes from our in-house Chef, right here.

6 Naked Seafood bags lined up in a row

Top Five Benefits of Eating Seafood

  • Nutrient dense meal option loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other vital health-promoting components
  • Contains healthy fats such as EPA and DHA, long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation, lower blood cholesterol levels, and help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Contains more omega-3 than supplements to further reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Excellent source of protein that provides a wide variety of micronutrients, including Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Selenium, Calcium, and Magnesium that each play an important role in the body’s ability to function and thrive.
  • Packed with Vitamin D, which is key for optimal bone health, muscles, and a strong immune system

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About the Author

Mary Ellen Kelly is credentialed as a registered and licensed dietitian and is a board certified sports dietitian. She is the owner of Fuel Forward, LLC, a nutrition consulting business. She is also Adjunct Faculty for Bloomsburg University and the Manager of The Sports Nutrition Immersion Program (SNIP), a mentorship program for sports dietitians through the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA).

She was the Miami Dolphins’ Full Time Sports RD from November 2014 through March 2018 and was the Head Sports RD at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill from 2011-14 and Staff Sports RD in 2010.  Prior to UNC, she served as the Campus Dietitian/Sports Nutritionist at St. John’s University in Queens, NY.

Mary Ellen holds a bachelor’s of science in dietetics from Boston University, where she was also a member of the varsity women’s track and field team. She earned her master’s degree in clinical nutrition from New York University and completed her dietetic internship training at the James J. Peters Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Bronx, New York.

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