Eating More Seafood for Good Health

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I consider my diet to be pretty healthy. I'm willing to try a wide variety of foods, but there is one thing that I've never been able to eat: seafood. My parents love fish and seafood, so growing up, I tried all kinds. The only seafood I ever actually enjoyed was breaded popcorn shrimp, mostly because it tasted more like fried batter than anything else. I wish I could enjoy fish. I take a DHA supplement because my diet is lacking in the healthy Omega-3's that fish provides. My husband loves fish, but I never cook it at home (because in general, I don't cook things I don't eat.) So I'm afraid my kids are going to develop my distaste for fish, only because they aren't being exposed to it regularly.

When the government released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, they recommended that Americans increase their seafood intake to at least 8 ounces per week (which is about two servings). According to a report from the Journal of Food Service, 45% of Americans eat seafood once a week, and only 22% eat it twice a week. I have a feeling that most people who don't aren't like me and just don't enjoy the taste of it. So why are those numbers so low?

Some of the most common reasons for not eating more seafood are cost, limited access to fresh product, fear of contaminants (like mercury) and lack of knowledge about how to prepare it. There are good reasons to incorporate seafood into your diet, the biggest being that seafood can be a good source of Omega-3's. Research shows that Omega 3's can reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis, and are important for brain development and cognitive performance. (That's why I give my kids a fish oil supplement.) For most people, the benefits of eating a diet that includes seafood outweigh the risks.

Concerned about seafood safety? Check out Casting Your Net on Seafood Safety and Best and Worst Fish Choices which discusses how to choose the fish that are most environmentally-friendly.

Want more information about why Omega 3's are an important part of a healthy diet? Check out The Mega Benefits of Omega 3's.

Not sure how to prepare it? Check out some of our best fish recipes or this baked haddock recipe on!

Do you incorporate seafood into your regular diet? Why or why not?

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Just wanted to remind all you seafood lovers to keep it sustainable! Take care with the choices you are making when you buy in the supermarket and in restaurants. Nature will thank you and keep you supplied with seafood for many years to come. Report
I eat 3-5 servings of fish and seafood a week. It is easy to get ahold of and cheaper than beef where I live. Report
I used to be seafood phobic. Now I live in Hawaii where the fish is so delicious and fresh, it's not fishy!! I love fish now! However, mostly due to cost, we don't always get in our 2-3 servings a week. One solution I've found is to keep a package of frozen Salmon Burger patties (costco) in the freezer. My husband grills them up and I serve them on buns with lettuce, tomato, dijon mustard, and nonfat curry barbeque sauce. DELICIOUS! It's become our I-got-home-late-and-don't-want-to-c
ook weeknight meal. Report
I typically eat seafood once or twice a week. Report
I used to really like fish as an omnivore. I stopped eating it (and all animals, animal products) quite a long time ago. Veggie for 13 years, vegan for nearly the last 7. With how the oceans are being decimated, the toxins that are found in fish and the absolutely wretched cruelty inherent in fishing (fish are nearly always skinned/gutted alive commercially ... there's video available online of catfish "processing" for those who doubt. But I warn you, it's awful.) I'd never eat sea creatures again.

This article is lacking. You only mention sea creatures and fish oil as sources of omega-3. You can also get omega-3s that are animal kind in the form of walnuts, flax oils, chia seeds. Also, DHA/omegas aren't inherent in fish. They get those things by eating seaweed! Or eating smaller fish that eat seaweed. If you dislike fish and/or care about the ocean health and animal welfare, cut out the middle guy (and the cruelty) and just eat the plant forms. They sell DHA/omega-3 supplements that are fish free. Report
I would not be concerned about your children's picking up your dislike of a certian food unless there are other factors in play. My mother could not stand limes and the flavor in anything. I discovered lime jello in my teens and still enjoy eating things with lime juice in it.

One of my sons really dislikes olives and yet I love them!

You may want to have your husband help introduce fish items when you eat at a resaurant and it is on the menu.

Jane on Guam Report
I love seafood, and being from Louisiana there is always an abundance of it. And right now is crawfish season. I would eat nothing but seafood if it was inexpensive as say chicken or ground beef. But I do find great sales and stock up when I can. Report
I take the frozen salmon filets, thaw, dip in egg and roll in crushed Sun Chips (we like the harvest cheddar but all are good) and bake-really good and our kids like it :) Report
I love seafood of all kinds,salmon/sardines are yummie,all so healthy,good for you too Report
Seafood and chicken are my favourite diet foods. Have ate very little today just so I can enjoy oven-baked tempura prawns tonight...can't wait Report
I'm glad that I like fish, and so does my husband. He's a very picky eater, so when I'm trying to eat healthy, I find that I often have to make "2" dinners so that we can both enjoy dinner. I enjoy almost all fruits and vegetables. He only eats a couple of vegetables and not fruit. Making healthy meals for both of us (at the same time) is often difficult. Report
I love seafood, in particularly fish and shrimp. I buy the frozen 3 ounce individually packed Tilapia from Super Wal-Mart. I also splurge, sometimes, and buy fresh fish. I eat fish 4 or times per week. Report
I love fish and often order it when I'm eating out as I know it's a healthy choice. I try to make it a few times a month & plan on increasing that to weekly. Report
I'm not a big fan of seafood, but I'm willing to try again. Thanks. Report
I don't eat shellfish, but like several kinds of fish including salmon and tuna. I can't afford to buy a lot of fresh fish, so I used canned fish to get in my 2+ servings every week. Report
This blog must have had a subconscious effect on me - I bought salmon and broiled it for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, it was Atlantic, not Alaskan but it WAS delicious. Report
This blog must have had a subconscious effect on me - I bought salmon and broiled it for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, it was Atlantic, not Alaskan but it WAS delicious. Report
I love fish. I could eat it every day. But being a Diabetic I have to watch my protein intake. I have a history of spilling protein. Report
I worry about the negative impact on the environment and mercury levels, but right now I'm especially concerned about the amount of seafood that comes from the waters around Japan. Report
I have some fish almost every day, usually the canned salmon or tuna or sardines. Easy and quick, husband eats the sardines out of the can for his snack, too. Report
I think I could live on seafood (at least I would like to try for a while). I take salmon salad or tuna salad in half of a red pepper for my lunch frequently. I make salmon or salmon patties for suppers or quick lunches when I am home. I make pasta salad with crab meat, like tilapia or other white fish with just a little lemon juice and parsley, and some lobster about once a year as a splurge around my birthday. Report
I enjoy fish, but prefer it deep-fried. Not so healthy, but delicious! Report
Love seafood. Really love salmon and try to eat a minimum of 2 X week. If really in a hurry and short on time, I'll open a can of Tuna packed in water...not as good but relieves the guilt of no fish :-) Report
Love seafood... Leave in Va where u can get it fresh. Eat a lot more than I did when I lived in the midwest. Report
MIPALADY23 expressed my sentiments exactly.

I grew up eating fish. We had it every Saturday because Mom could get it cheap that day (in those days Roman Catholics ate fish on Friday). Report
I love it and would choose seafood or fish over any meat every day of the week. I enjoy all the variety and the various ways of cooking and preparing! YAY Fish! Report
I don't eat much fish either. I grew up on the Rocky Mountains-Beef country. (And still live there) I love shrimp and, believe it or not, squid, but otherwise I eat fish because I should. I have tried many ways to prepare it but never really like it. I will try to check out the Sparkpeople fish recipes. Report
For those taking a fish oil supplement, keep them refrigerated to prevent fishy burps. It really works. Report
I love seafood, but can't afford it more than about once a month. Unfortunately, once something is touted as "healthy", it gets very expensive. I wait for fish I like (like salmon or haddock), to go on sale and buy it then. Report
I eat tuna about 4-5 times a week on my salad. Then, I try to cook salmon once a week, and when I dine out, I try to choose a baked haddock or a grilled salmon for my meal. I love fish, but am not a fan of shellfish (clams, lobster, shrimp, etc.). Report
I am not a fish person and cannot take the fish oil supplements. I've had to bend and try eating more fish. So far not hating it. The salmon is pretty good depending how it is seasoned. Report
Salmon, I love smoked salmon !! If I were rich, I'd eat it every day. Report
My favorite fish recipe is salmon piccata. Report
I do have fish often and take fish oil supplements too.

Some of us simply cannot eat seafood of any sort. It's not just a matter of disliking fish. For me and my friend it's seriously revolting, so much so that we cannot get even one bite in our mouths without involuntarily retching and heaving and salivating profusely.

I do know that I'm missing out on an entire category of food, and that for fish lovers there are all sorts of wonderful recipes. But I simply cannot eat the stuff myself.

I take fish oil capsules and just hope I don't burp. I also eat walnuts and other nuts. Report
Love seafood, have it more often than other "meats" Report
I'm lucky: I love seafood of all kinds and usually have it several times per week. My latest favorite is steelhead trout, which is actually a type of salmon, but (my family thinks) more flavorful. I just sear it on both sides (I like it rare) and serve with a lemon and caper sauce. It is a little expensive, but worth every penny! Report
No seafood for me. I have tried fresh caught Pacific salmon, Lake Michigan trout, lake perch, Atlantic crabs etc. It all tastes horrible! Even tuna, lobster. I also don't like beans. I keep trying to find ones I like but no luck so far. Report
I love seafood but have only recently begun to learn to cook it in a healthy way. Rather than eating fried fish, which is a common item on the menu where I live, I recently got a recipe from a neighbor that is delicious and simple--simply coat the fish fillet (grouper or mahi mahi work great) with mustard, roll it in Panko breadcrumbs, put a dollop of low fat margarine on each fillet and bake for about 15 minutes at 500 degrees. My family loves this dish! Report
I love salmon & will occasionally eat fish. Mercury & PCBs aren't a trivial concern though. Seafood? Can't do it. Not the appearance, texture or taste. I'm in Oregon & have access to fresh but it's no help. Most seafood gives me the shudders. Report
Here is the secret to preparing fish.
1) Take any type of fish. ANY KIND. or shrimp. whatever.
2) Add lemon juice, sprinkle with pepper, add some garlic.
3) Bake until cooked through.
5) Repeat Report
I love fish and seafood! I would love to incorporate it more into my diet, but it's hard to buy affordable and sustainable choices in my area, so I usually only have it a few times a month. So I stick with a supplement for now. Report
This is a challenge for me - I am not at all a fan of seafood and most fish. It has to be fresh and mild, which can be difficult to find. Report
I'm lucky to live in Seattle, where's its really easy to get good fish. When I lived on the east coast I liked shellfish but wasn't crazy about fish. On the west coast I don't particularly like the shellfish, but the fish is wonderful. There are some things I don't like - tilapia is the most recent one I've discovered - but salmon and halibut are favorites. There's a huge difference between processed frozen fish (those things with the sauces, etc.) and fish that was flash frozen on the boat. I live a block from a Trident Seafood store and their products are SO good (also available at Costco). Report
I love seafood and I cook it all the time. Report
It's interesting that I love fish and seafood but don't make it so often at home... Mostly I think because I like to freeze my meat, but I prefer to eat fish fresh.

This article is a great wake-up for me because I can buy fish fresh on the day or cook it the day of or right after buying it at the grocery. :) Report
I really like most kinds of seafood, but I don't cook them at home for fear of ruining my dinner. My mother never made this at home so I don't really have the background that I do in other areas of home cooking. Report
when i lived on the ocean -- would go to the pier and get the BEST fresh salmon catch, right off the boat.
when i lived on a tiny island in the south pacific -- would get fresh sushi from the local fishermen --still warm ! prepared with the wasabi as pacific islanders know how to do. one word -- yum!
now i am in landlocked regions -- trying to enjoy the frozen versions from the grocery store. valiant efforts but i watch for the 'wild' vs 'farm-raised'. i am watching out for mercury levels...
will thaw out some for tonite; typing this is giving me a hankering for fish! Report
I eat a lot of fish, and quite frankly, I think my body likes to eat fish. I always feel more satisfied and balanced when I keep my fish/seafood choices abundent on my weekly plan. I have recently learned about canning my own tuna. It is easy - just buy a whole tuna (or the weight you'd like to can). You can have a seafood company clean it and even cut it in steaks for you. We usually buy sides of tuna and cut it up ourselves. Just pop the 4 oz portions in prepared glass canning jars and pressure cook them. Yummmmm. I never realized how much better tuna could taste, when it's not canned in those little aluminum cans from the store. Now, instead of burying it in mayo - I toss in some chopped up dill pickle, a dash of olive oil, black pepper, chopped toasted almonds and some fresh rosemary. Oh my - tuna salad has finally arrived! Report
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