Fish Nutrition Information – an Overview:
Fish is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat and unsaturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals and has been shown to have numerous health benefits. For example, recent health studies have shown that eating fish can decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity and hypertension. Fish also provides essential nutrients for developing infants and children.
Calories and Protein:
Fish is generally considered to be a low-calorie protein source. Most low fat fish, such as Cod, Haddock, Flounder and Sole, contain less than 100 calories per three-ounce cooked portion and even fattier fish, like Mackerel, Herring and Salmon contain around 200 calories per serving.
Fish is a complete protein source. It contains enough essential amino acids to assure healthy growth and optimum fetal development.
A three-ounce serving of most fish, or shellfish provides about 30 – 40% of the average daily-recommended amount of protein. The protein in fish is easier to digest, because fish has less “connective tissue” than red meats and poultry.
Fat and Cholesterol:
Fish is generally considered to be low in total fat and saturated fat. Most fish and shellfish contain less than 5 percent total fat and even the fattiest fish, such as Mackerel, and Salmon, have no more than 15 percent fat. A large portion of the fat in fish is polyunsaturated, including Omega-3 fatty acids, which have additional health benefits.
Omega-3 fatty acids, are essential fatty acids that are required for healthy human development. These organic compounds cannot be produced by the human body and therefore need to be obtained through food.
Scientific evidence suggests that the marine derived Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid, (DHA), can help reduce the risk of heart disease and contribute to brain and vision development in infants. Fish and shellfish are the main dietary sources of EPA and DHA. The plant derived Omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic, (ALA), is a precursor to EPA and DHA and is only converted at rates of about 0.1 – 9% in the human body.
The American Heart Foundation recommends 1000 mg of EPA / DHA per day for patients with coronary heart disease and two meals of “oily” fish per week, for patients without heart disease. Fish with medium to high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, include oily ocean fish such as Salmon, Herring, Mackerel and Sardines.
Cholesterol is present in varying amounts, in most animal foods. Current dietary recommendations suggest limiting cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day. Almost all fish and shellfish contain well under 100 mg of cholesterol per three ounce cooked serving and many of the leaner types of fish, (Cod and Haddock), contain less than 60 mg of cholesterol per three ounce cooked serving.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Fish is a natural source of B-Complex vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin A, (especially oily fish). B-Complex vitamins are associated with healthy development of the nervous system. Vitamin A is required for healthy vision as well as healthy skin, while vitamin D is essential in bone development.
Fish is also an excellent source of essential minerals, such as selenium, zinc, iodine and iron. Selenium is a potent antioxidant that protects against cell damage and may help to counter the negative effects of Mercury. Zinc is required for cell growth and immune system health. Iodine helps maintain thyroid gland function, while Iron is important in red blood cell production. Small fish eaten whole, such as Sardines and Anchovies, are an important source of calcium, needed for bone development.
Health Benefits Linked to Fish:
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Helps protect against heart attack and sudden death
- Decreases the risk of heart arrhythmias
- Decreases blood triglyceride levels
- Increases HDL, (good), cholesterol
- Improves circulation
- Contributes to neurological development in infants
- Contributes to vision development and nerve growth in the retina
- Helps build muscles and tissue
Seafood Health Facts
Overview: Eat Seafood Twice a Week:
Current advice from governments and health organizations around the world, recommends eating two seafood meals each week.
Scientists from governments and universities, as well as healthcare professionals from around the world, have all concluded that for most people, the overall benefits of this level of seafood consumption outweigh any potential food safety risks.
Fish is a nutrient rich food that is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Scientific studies continue to explore the relationship between the unique type of fat found in fish, the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, in the prevention or mitigation of chronic diseases.
One three-ounce serving of cooked Shrimp contains over 293 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids
Mercury levels in Salmon are often so low they are undetectable
Mussels are rich in Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Selenium, Zinc and Vitamins C and B-12