Why we should eat more seafood

Three serves of seafood a week will not only improve your heart health but provide a delicious source of protein to your diet.

A grilled salmon fiillet on a fresh salad

Are you eating as much seafood as you should? The Heart Foundation recommends between two and three serves of fish and other seafood a week if you want to lower your chances of heart disease and stroke.

A serving size is defined as at least 150g of fresh fish (about the size of your hand) or 100g of unflavoured fish tinned in spring water or oil.

Apart from whipping up a fish-centred evening meal the Foundation suggests putting tinned fish in your lunchbox. A can of tuna or salmon also makes an excellent mid-morning snack or afternoon pick-me-up at work.

For an easy, no-nonsense and failsafe dinner option why not grab a seafood marina mix from the freezer section of your local Coles and add it to your evening stir-fry or a pasta dish?

Not only is fish an excellent source of protein, but it is also low in saturated fat and rich in omega-3 fats, which are good for our hearts; the human body cannot produce omega-3 which is why eating oily fish is so important.

Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 include salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, herring, canned sardines, canned salmon and some varieties of canned tuna. Other good sources of marine-sourced omega-3s include barramundi, bream, flathead, squid, scallops and mussels.

The healthiest ways to cook fish, according to the Heart Foundation, are:  

·      Choose cooking methods such as grilling, steaming, barbecuing, poaching, baking or pan-frying.

·      Use a healthier oil such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil.

·      Crumbed fish can be ok if you crumb it yourself in wholegrain breadcrumbs and cook using a healthier cooking method and a healthy oil.

·      Battered fish is best avoided, as it is generally deep-fried.

Despite the well-publicised health benefits of eating seafood Australian consumption of seafood has changed little over the past 20 years. According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) the average per-person consumption is just 13.7kg a year.*

Research suggests** that people who regularly consume diets high in fish tend to have lower risks of heart disease, stroke, macular degeneration and dementia as older adults.

*https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/fisheries/fisheries-and-aquaculture-statistics/seafood-consumption-2018

**Fish, Seafood & Heart Healthy Living (Heart Foundation, Dietary Position Statement, updated 2015)