The American diet includes a pretty bad rap (and with reason). But according to new government statistics, things may be looking up: According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Fisheries of the United States report, Americans increased their consumption of fish and shellfish to 15.5 pounds per person in 2015. That is a leap of nearly four pounds from the prior year–and also the greatest rise in two decades.
The bump is a significant win for public health, states Health contributing nourishment editor Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH: “The tendency towards eating more fish has the capacity to reduce obesity and chronic disease stats from the U.S., especially if the fish we are eating are saturated in omega-3 fatty acids, also cooked and prepared healthfully.”
But there is still room for improvement. Our weekly average of 4.77 ounces of fish falls short of the 8 ounces per week recommended by the current Dietary Guidelines. Below, we have rounded up five great explanations to add more more fish to your daily diet, starting today.
Thanks to their abundant source of omega-3s, fatty fish (like salmon, salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines) are a prime heart-healthy food. Studies have proven omega-3s can reduce triglycerides, and reduce the possibility of arrhythmia (an irregular heart rhythm), also atherosclerosis (plaque build-up from the arteries). The American Heart Association recommends having at least 2 serving of fish (and ideally fatty fish) every week.
Shrimp, by way of example, are not only rich in protein, but also contain two antioxidants which have been shown to help stave off disease and aging. Clams are loaded with potassium, as well as the highest concentration of B12 of any meals. Six raw oysters contain 32 milligrams of zinc, 400 percent the suggested daily level. And fatty fish have been chock full of vitamin D. Those are just a few examples of the nutritional perks of seafood; to reap the advantages, it’s key to eat an assortment of shellfish and fish, says Sass. Every so often, swap your go-to salmon filet for fish or clams, ” she proposes.
Eating seafood may offer some natural defense against stress and melancholy. In 1 study, medical students who had 2.5 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day for 12 weeks showed lower levels of anxiety on the day of a test than those who took a placebo. Research has also shown that individuals who consume fish regularly are less inclined to become miserable. And in areas of the planet where seafood is a diet staple, people have a tendency to have lower levels of depression.
Fatty fish are rich in an omega-3 called docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, which plays a key role in the mind. “DHA seems to be very vital for the standard operation of neurons,” Martha Clare Morris, ScD, director of this section on nutrition and supplements epidemiology at the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush University, in Chicago, advised Health at a prior interview.
What’s more, research in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that people who regularly ate fish had larger volumes of grey matter in regions of the brain associated with memory and cognition. But keep in mind, the people in this study ate fish which was baked or broiled (not fried!) . So be certain to cook your filets in a healthy way.
Fish may help prevent a ton of health conditions. As Sass clarifies, the omega-3s in fatty fish help reduce inflammation in the human body, regulate blood pressure, and lower the risk of many conditions like diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, asthma, and even some cancers. Convinced yet?